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The Former Shah of Iran Speaks
July 19, 2007 6:10 PM   Subscribe

The Shah of Iran talks about torture, his own popularity, and corruption.
posted by BuddhaInABucket (23 comments total)

 
I ran across these videos while satisfying some nostalgia I was feeling for Googoosh, and I was captivated by how frankly- and how naively- the Shah talked politics. His do-no-wrong personality reminded me a little bit of how our President talks... does anybody else find a disturbing similarity?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 6:20 PM on July 19, 2007


Naive, maybe. Frank, no. Our president has yet to speak a phrase on an important topic that wasn't vetted for maximum obfuscatory content by his cadre of advisers. And, since Mike Wallace is now retired, and the Wolf Blitzers of the world are too chickenshit to ask him such questions, he is never put in the position of having to speak frankly on any topic.
posted by googly at 6:32 PM on July 19, 2007


After watching these, I have come to the conclusion that we must invade Iran.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:36 PM on July 19, 2007


After watching these, I have come to the conclusion that we must invade Iran. Astro, the Shah has been gone since 1979. Sheesh, what is it with Americans and invading?
posted by mattoxic at 6:45 PM on July 19, 2007


Astro, the Shah has been gone since 1979. Sheesh, what is it with Americans and invading?

I think he was joking.
posted by Falconetti at 6:53 PM on July 19, 2007


I think he was joking Thanks Falconetti, you got my back bro'.
posted by mattoxic at 7:22 PM on July 19, 2007


Brahs before shahs.
posted by Falconetti at 7:29 PM on July 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


When I was a kid, we lived in Iran (dad was state department). The shah went on a state visit to the US at one point and was met by protests. Doonesbury ran a series of strips about this, and, a couple of days later when, when newspapers made it over to us, each Doonesbury strip had been meticulously and neatly cut out!

I've been free-speech absolutist ever since.

Damn Reza and his SAVAK.
posted by John of Michigan at 7:33 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Any one interested in reading about the last days of the "Peacock throne", should get a copy of Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuściński
posted by mattoxic at 7:51 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did we support him in some way or another?
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:25 PM on July 19, 2007


July 19th is my birthday. The son of the former finance minister under the Shah of Iran was born on July 17th . About 20 years ago, he was with my then-girlfriend’s sister so they had a party for both of us.

Cyrus came down from Philadelphia, where he owned two Benetton stores, and we shot pistols on my farm in North Carolina. He was a good marksman, but politically naive beyond belief.

Cyrus told me that on the eve of the revolution he had buried a four foot wide circular jade table top in a grotto in the family compound, and he had high hopes of retrieving it.
posted by Huplescat at 8:38 PM on July 19, 2007


Yes, the CIA and British intelligence helped overthrow the democratically elected Mossadeq through funding and covert ops. Although I am unclear on the extent of the help because the initial coup failed and I don't know my history well enough to remember how he got back in power (it was another countercoup, but I don't know the US or British role in that).
posted by Falconetti at 8:39 PM on July 19, 2007


Did we support him in some way or another?
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:25 PM on July 19 [+] [!]


I believe SAVAK was a creation of the CIA...

the war(s) in Iraq started with the toppling of Mossadeq: How that became official Us policy dovetails nicely with the end of the republic.
posted by geos at 9:34 PM on July 19, 2007


Great. How soon can we reinstate him?
posted by Artw at 9:44 PM on July 19, 2007


Iran: The musical! starring Martin Scorcese as the Shah!

I remember as a kid in the late 70's/early 80's being somewhat fascinated with the Shah. It was the first time in my life that I understood fully how everything isn't always what it seems. I remember in a very short time he went from being a good guy who wasn't really that good, to a bad guy who wasn't really that bad. I remember my mother using the Shah as a lesson to me about never doing anything that prevents you from coming home.

Not really sure what that has to do with anything, but considering everything that's transpired from then to now, I feel like I need to learn more about the Shah.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:24 PM on July 19, 2007


Did we support him in some way or another?

Yes.
posted by homunculus at 10:52 PM on July 19, 2007


Did we support him in some way or another?

Damn you! I just got oil all over my Strait of Hormuz.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 PM on July 19, 2007


Way back when, I knew the son and daughter of one of the last ministers of the Shaw. Through them, I knew a few other Iranians. For the most part, really nice people (except the sister, who was a beauty w/attitude). Also through them, I learned the pain of watching one's country go down the toilet, from abroad. Little did I expect to one day experience similar feelings!

Whatever bad the Shaw may have done (and he did plenty), he did enough good that the country still enjoys and depends on some of the fruits of his improvements. It grieves me to see a great people/nation brought down by religious bullshit.
posted by Goofyy at 11:17 PM on July 19, 2007


It grieves me to see a great people/nation brought down by religious bullshit.

It grieves me as well, and I'm speaking of my own country, not just Iran.
posted by blucevalo at 11:32 PM on July 19, 2007


It's not all bad news. His widow has made a small fortune off the legacy. Books, television appearances et al.
posted by Geezum Crowe at 2:17 AM on July 20, 2007


All the Shah's Men

The horrible theocracy that is Iran could only take place when the American CIA decided that an elected leader in Mossadegh was too close to Socialist ideals, if not downright Soviet influence. Actually, over 50 years ago, it was still all about oil.

It grieves me to see a great people/nation brought down by religious bullshit.

What an idiotic thing to say. The "religious bullshit" didn't have to happen. It was the vacuum into which a forlorn country fooled itself once America decided a friendly dictator was better than a semi-democratic leader.

Cause, effect, etc.
posted by bardic at 3:47 AM on July 20, 2007


(What's mind-boggling is that Saddam was pretty much another version of the Shah -- a cruel despot who at least has the US's interests in mind. So, we had him killed. And now the Iranian regime is empowered for the rest of this century. Paging Santayana.)
posted by bardic at 3:50 AM on July 20, 2007


Actually the Shah didn't even come close to Saddam's body count. The estimates of people executed by the Shah's regime (that I've seen) range from the low hundreds to a maximum of about 3,000, although I'm not having any luck finding any figures online. That's actually pretty low for a Middle Eastern dictator, especially considering his reign lasted about 38 years, however, many more people were intimidated, imprisoned, and tortured by Savak.

Disclaimer: I am not/was never a supporter of the Shah (or monarchy for that matter), lest I come across as an apologist.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:03 AM on July 22, 2007


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