By Kayhan London Staff
July 27 marks the 39th anniversary of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi passing. Four decades after the event, putting together the evidence and according to reports coming from inside the country – some of which are reflected on social media – a distinct difference between the society’s general acceptance of the Pahlavis can be seen, compared with previous years.
From discussions in family gatherings and friendly circles comparing Iran’s pre-revolutionary conditions with the current circumstances to political activities and civic struggles, all comprise the evidence of Pahlavi’s growing popularity within the Iranian society.
For the past four decades, the Islamic Republic, with all its propaganda capacity, sought to destroy in public opinion the image of the Pahlavi Dynasty and its officials and portray them as a ruthless, corrupt, traitorous, and inhumane regime. Yet, in reality, the result is not only what the leaders of the Islamic State sought, but to the contrary, a significant proportion of the people, and even within the Islamic regime itself, are now hoping for the Pahlavis to return! It is not surprising that anti-Pahlavi speeches by the Islamic Republic’s leader and authorities have intensified in the last two years.
All of this is while the revolutionaries and the new regime began to brainwash the society in the first hours and days of their victory. An extremist group backed by senior clerics embarked on a mission to demolish all Pahlavi symbols and memorabilia, which was a combination of national and historical identity, and any reminder of that era.
The criminals of the new regime looted anything from the Pahlavi they deemed and took them to their personal homes. Whatever was breakable, they destroyed; and anything they could not plunder, they contested or gave it a revolutionary or Islamic significance to obfuscate the truth.
The first step in the policy for “disappearance of Pahlavi” policy was bloody, and it began with sham trials and executions. Elimination and vanishing as a dominant policy soon infiltrated various educational, cultural, and economic spheres in order to educate the future generation on which the revolution depended. Now, however, a large segment of those generations that the Islamic system counted on for its advancement not only stand against the regime, but rely on exactly on what should have faded away: the national and historical identity that the Pahlavis rightfully represented in contemporary Iranian history.
Pahlavis’ public appeal can be examined from several angles and depends on a set of reasons, each requiring careful and expert analysis. One of the most prominent of these is perhaps Pahlavi’s services to Iran. It is a fact that the Islamic Republic and the revolutionaries on the one hand feel extremely bitter towards and humiliated by, and on the other, even at the height of their ignorance and hysteria, failed to loot and destroy. Denial of those services has also been futile and has now turned into a legacy.
The elite, experts, and technologists refer to it as “achievement” and “progress” on the path to development. An achievement that, despite all the sabotage and destruction by the Islamic Republic, is still the source of national profit and income. The masses of people feel this by experience and when speaking of the father and son, they say, “bless their souls.”
The fact that it is apparently just a “sentiment” has in recent years become a solid base for the struggle against the Islamic Republic. The late Mohammad Reza Shah used national resources for comfort and prosperity and, as he emphasized, for the “honorable life” and “happiness” of the people, especially for future generations. That is how he provided for national interest of Iran.
His goal, which was pursued in the form of well-planned and organized policies, was not only stopped with the heinous 1979 revolution, it actually regressed. But any of this goals that were achieved before the revolution were utilized as the strength of the society.
Although this strength was placed under the control of mullahs’ and their dependents and later the Revolutionary Guard, but over the course of forty years, even the services that the Islamic Republic was compelled to provide used the same sources. Otherwise, the trend for destruction intensified. From brain drain to the gradual collapse of the economy that was booming in the 1950s, including the oil refineries, metal and steel industries, development projects such as dams, power plants, and roads, as well as railways, airports, ports, universities, science centers, and even the military and military equipment; all of which the Islamic Republic claims to possess and boasts about.
For years, a significant portion of the public has been comparing the Pahlavis’ services and the prospects for the future that could have been within that system with the Islamic republic’s dark record and what is at stake for the country and the people with sabotage, war, and corruption. Although the Pahlavi Dynasty was overthrown in Iran 40 years ago by revolution, executions, and repression, the Islamic Republic’s rulers are still petrified and apprehensive of the Pahlavis’ shadow that casts over Iran. And in the recent months, they have not hesitated to admit it. The threat the regime’s agents perceive more than ever is the Iranian people’s awareness of the reality that the Pahlavi Dynasty was benevolent.
The Islamic Republic is destructive; it began with executions and war and has continued to this day with repression, hostage-taking, terrorism, and hegemony. And so corruption and economic misery continues. One cannot compare the Islamic Republic with the Pahlavi Dynasty by any stretch of imagination. It is on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Shah’s passing that the Islamic regime in Iran more than ever feels the shadow of the Pahlavis on its weary body, particularly, when it has no confidence in its own being.
This is the English translation of an article published on July 27, 2019 by Kayhan London. For the original version in Persian, please click on this link.