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Iran - Member of the Axis of Evil? Part 2

Dorsett Bennett

When will Americans understand Iran?



May-13-2009 07:26



Mohammad Mosaddeq was Iran's popular Prime Minister who was taken out of power by a British/U.S. coup d'etat in support of western business interests.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

(SALEM, Ore.) - Iran is the 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km, and has a population of over seventy million. It is a country of special geostrategic significance due to its central location in Eurasia.


Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea. Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbors to the north.


The country is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and on the west by Turkey and Iraq. Tehran is the capital, the country's largest city and the political, cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the nation.


Iran is a regional power, and holds an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas.


The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics and art became major elements of Muslim civilization and started with the Saffarids and Samanids.


Iran was once again reunified as an independent state in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty, who promoted Twelver Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam. "Persia's Constitutional Revolution" established the nation's first parliament in 1906, within a constitutional monarchy. Iran officially became an Islamic republic on April 1, 1979, following the Iranian Revolution.


Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official religion and Persian is the official language.


The contribution of Iranians to the common Muslim civilization is succinctly summarized by Ibn Khaldun:


It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars both in the religious and intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs ... Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih and, after him, al-Farisi and az-Zajjaj. All of whom were of Persian descent. They were brought up in the Arabic language and acquired knowledge of it through their upbringing and through contact with Arabs. They invented the rules [of grammar] and made it into a discipline for later generations. Most of the Hadith scholars, who preserved traditions of the Prophet for the Muslims also were Persians, or Persian in language and breeding because the discipline was widely cultivated in Iraq and regions beyond. Furthermore, all the great jurists were Persians, as is well-known. The same applies to speculative theologians and to most of the Qu'ran commentators. Only the Persians engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the statement of the Prophet becomes apparent; if learning were suspended at the highest parts of heaven the Persians would attain it... This situation continued in the cities as long as the Persians and Persian countries, the ' Iraq , Khurasan, and Transoxiana, retained their sedentary culture.




In 1925, Reza Khan overthrew the weakening Qajar Dynasty and became Shah. Reza Shah initiated industrialization, railroad construction, and the establishment of a national education system. Reza Shah sought to balance Russian and British influence, but when World War II started, his nascent ties to Germany alarmed Britain and Russia. In 1941, Britain and the USSR invaded Iran to use Iranian railroad capacity during World War II. The Shah was forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.


In 1951 Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was elected prime minister. As prime minister, Mossadegh became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Irans oil reserves.


In response, Britain embargoed Iranian oil and, amidst Cold War fears, invited the United States to join in a plot to depose Mossadegh, and in 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax.


The operation was successful, and Mossadegh was arrested on August 19, 1953. After Operation Ajax, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's rule became increasingly autocratic.


With American support, the Shah was able to rapidly modernize Iranian infrastructure, but he simultaneously crushed all forms of political opposition with his intelligence agency, SAVAK. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah's White Revolution and publicly denounced the government.


Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964 Khomeini publicly criticized the United States government. The Shah was persuaded to send him into exile by General Hassan Pakravan. Khomeini was sent first to Turkey, then to Iraq and finally to France. While in exile, he continued to denounce the Shah.


Here is part one in this series: Iran: Member of the Axis of Evil? Part 1 - Dorsett Bennett




Dorsett Bennett is a disabled and recently retired lawyer who moved to Salem in October 2008. Politically and historically aware since age 12, he was a moderate to liberal Republican from 1971 until 2004, and now considers himself an Independent/Libertarian. Seth says much of his writing conveys his belief that in reality, the federal government does not follow the Constitution. He says it should leave other governmental powers up to the citizens of the individual states, rather than to concentrate power in Washington DC; where the Military-Industrial (and now Political) Complex has bankrupted the nation and unconstitutionally regulates all of us; even those few who do actually know better. To quote the iconic cartoon character Charlie Brown, "Good Grief." Bennett says he is self-aware enough to admit that he has beliefs or positions that can be considered to be either liberal or conservative

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