The Iranian History 1979 AD


Guadeloupe Conference On Iran

Jan, 4, 1979 AD

Civil disorder and street fighting in Tehran 1979The Guadeloupe Conference attended by heads of four Western powers; U.S., UK, France and West Germany, was held in the first week of January 1979 on the island of Guadeloupe. Their agenda concerned world issues and the political crisis in Iran, where a popular revolutionary upsurge was about to topple the Mohammad Reza Shah; the monarch brought back to power by a coup organized by CIA and MI6 in 1953. The dimensions of the agreements achieved before and after the conference have been kept secret.
French President Giscard d'Estaing hosted the Guadeloupe Conference which convened between Jan, 4 and Jan, 7 1979. US President Jimmy Carter, British Prime Minister James Callaghan, and German chancellor Helmut Schmidt attended the 4 day meeting.
These leaders had reached the conclusion that Shah could no more stay in power and his stay would only raise tensions. In a press conference, the US secretary of state Cyrus Vance announced that Shah was getting ready for holidays outside Iran adding that Shah's political role on shaping Iran's future had come to an end. (Updated: Feb, 1, 2010)

Bakhtiar Becomes Prime Minister

Jan, 6, 1979 AD

Mohammad Reza Shah (Pahlavi II) meets with his last Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar's Cabinet of Ministers.Shapour Bakhtiar was Mohammad Reza Shah's last Prime Minister. He took several measures to appeal to the opposition movement such as ending restrictions on the press, freeing political prisoners, dissolution of SAVAK, and lifting martial law.
He promised free elections, and ordered withdrawal from CENTO treaty. He canceled orders of weapons from the US, and he stopped export of petroleum to South Africa and Israel, both being racist regime. However his efforts were futile in terms of popular support. On top of that, he lost support from people in National Front who labeled him as traitor.
Bakhtiar's attempt to prevent Imam Khomeini's return by closing the Mehrabad Airport at Tehran on January, 26 only aggravated the public and instigated new mass demonstrations around the country. He had to re-open the airport for Khomeini's arrival on Feb, 1, 1979. The following ten days were a countdown for the collapse of Pahlavi monarchy.
On Feb, 8, Iran Air Force officers in full uniforms appeared before Khomeini pledging their allegiance to the revolution. On Feb, 10 the Bakhtiar government announced a curfew which was ignored by the public. People were already armed and over the next 24 hours, revolutionaries seized police headquarters, army garrisons, barracks, prisons, and state administration buildings. On Feb 11, senior military commanders announced their neutrality and withdrew from the streets. That marked the end of support for Bakhtiar government.
On Feb, 12, Bakhtiar was in hiding, and the country was in rebel hands. The Pahlavi monarchy had collapsed.
Bakhtiar fled to Paris and started his anti-revolutionary activities from there. In a deal with the Iranian government, the French closed their eyes on his assassination on Aug, 8, 1991, in media silence. In less than two months, France and Iran settled a dispute over a $1 billion loan granted by Shah before the revolution. (Updated: May, 6, 2009)

Council Of The Islamic Revolution Founded

Jan, 12, 1979 AD

Hojjatoleslam Khamenei smoking his pipe in public a couple of years before becoming Grand Ayatollah and Supreme Leader of Velayat Faghih. Other Iranian political figues in this photo are Ayatolllah Beheshti and Rafsanjani.(Wikipedia) - The Council of the Islamic Revolution was a group formed by Ayatollah Khomeini on 12 January 1979, shortly before he returned to Iran. Over the next few months the council issued hundreds of rulings and laws, dealing with everything from nationalization to salaries. Its existence was kept a secret during the early days of the revolution, and its members and the exact nature of what the council did remained undisclosed until early 1980s. Some of council members like Morteza Motahhari, Ayatollah Taleghani, Bahonar, Beheshti, Gharani died during Iran–Iraq War or were assassinated by MKO during firsts years of the revolution. Some of remaining members were later alienated from the regime
The Council was composed of seven religious figures associated with Khomeini, seven secular opposition figures, and two representatives of the security forces. According to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khomeini chose Beheshti, Motahhari, Rafsanjani, Bahonar, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mousavi Ardabili as members. These invited others to serve: Bazargan, Taleghani, Khamenei, Banisadr, Mahdavi Kani, Yadollah Sahabi, Katirayi, Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyyed Javadi, Gharani and Ali Asghar Masoodi.
The council chose Mehdi Bazargan as the prime minister of the interim government of Iran.
It has been described as "a parallel government" that passed laws and competed with the official Provisional Revolutionary Government whose leading members had come from the council.
The council served as the undisputed government of Iran from the resignation of Bazargan and the rest of the Provisional Revolutionary Government until the formation of first parliament. (Nov, 6 1979 – Aug, 12 1980)
Among the actions the council took was the April 1979 creation of revolutionary tribunals to try and execute anti-revolutionaries; nationalization of companies; and the Cultural Revolution.
Members of the council were not in complete agreement as to how they wanted Iran to be governed. Abolhasan Banisadr, Ebrahim Yazdi, and Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, and Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani favored a democratic government, while Khomeini, Beheshti, and other clerics desired a constitution with a planning council but no elected parliament, as law would be based on Sharia law interpreted by clerics. (Updated: Jul, 19, 2012)

Shah Flees To Egypt

Jan, 16, 1979 AD

Shah GoneThe last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran with his wife and family for Aswan in Egypt on Jan, 16, 1979. Public demonstration in almost all Iranian cities could no more be silenced by military force and Shah was afraid of a coup against himself and was hoping that after his departure a CIA backed coup just like the one in 1953 would bring him back to the throne.
But overall circumstances were against him and a daily newspaper published the headline "Shah Gone", in a country where because of public fear nobody would dare call him anything but Shahanshah. In less than a month, the regime fell; thus putting an end to the Pahlavi kingdom. Amazingly, all factors were supporting the revolution including leftist, rightist, extremist, democratic wings and even foreign countries did not want Shah any more, maybe because Iran had become a regional economic and military power. After Shah left, people started cheering, chanting, dancing, offering free candies and cookies and the sound of car horns did not stop the whole day. (Updated: Jan, 16, 2008)

Military Occupation Of Mehrabad Airport

Jan, 24, 1979 AD

Last Pahlavi Royal Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar in an interview. Shapour Bakhtiar was assassinated in Paris in 1991. In 2010 a French court ordered the conditional release Tuesday of Ali Vakili Rad, the Iranian agent jailed for the 1991.Military occupation of the Mehrabad Airport took place on January 24, 1979 by an order from PM Shapour Bakhtiar. It was the last move from Pahlavi regime in order to prevent Imam Khomeini from flying to Tehran.
Bakhtiar took several measures designed to appeal to elements in the opposition movement. He lifted restrictions on the press; the newspapers, on strike since November, resumed publication. He set free remaining political prisoners and promised the dissolution of SAVAK, the lifting of martial law, and free elections. He announced Iran's withdrawal from CENTO, canceled $7 billion worth of arms orders from the United States, and announced Iran would no longer sell oil to South Africa or Israel. Although Bakhtiar won the qualified support of moderate clerics like Shariatmadari, his measures did not win him the support of Khomeini and the main opposition elements who were now committed to the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a new political order.
On 26 January some 100,000 people marched to the Mehrabad Airport. They clashed with the military and 28 people died.
Bakhtiar sought unsuccessfully to persuade Khomeini to postpone his return to Iran until conditions in the country were normalized. Khomeini refused to receive a member of the regency council Bakhtiar sent as an emissary to Paris and after some hesitation rejected Bakhtiar's offer to come to Paris personally for consultations. Bakhtiar's attempt to prevent Khomeini's imminent return by closing the Mehrabad Airport at Tehran proved to be futile.
On January 29, 1979, Khomeini called for a street "referendum" on the monarchy and the Bakhtiar government, there was a massive turnout.
The airport remained closed until January 30th. Imam Khomeini embarked on a chartered airliner of Air France on the evening of January 31 and arrived in Tehran the following morning.
Khomeini arrived in Tehran from Paris on February 1, 1979, received a rapturous welcome from millions of Iranians, and announced he would "smash in the mouth of the Bakhtiar government."
On February 5, Khomeini named Mehdi Bazargan as Prime Minister of a provisional government. Although Bazargan did not immediately announce a cabinet, the move reinforced the conditions of dual authority that increasingly came to characterize the closing days of the Pahlavi Monarchy.
On February 8, uniformed airmen appeared at Khomeini's home and publicly pledged their allegiance to him. On February 11, twenty-two senior military commanders met and announced that the armed forces would observe neutrality in the confrontation between the government and the people. The army's withdrawal from the streets was tantamount to a withdrawal of support for the Bakhtiar government and acted as a trigger for a general uprising. By late afternoon on February 12, Bakhtiar was in hiding, and key points throughout the capital were in rebel hands. The Pahlavi Dynasty had reached its demise.
On Aug, 8, 1991 Shapour Bakhtiar, Iran's last Prime Minister before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, was found dead at his home outside Paris. (Updated: Feb, 9, 2013)

Ayatollah Khomeini Arrives In Tehran

Feb, 1, 1979 AD

Ayatollah Khomeini Arrives in Tehran accompanied by Air France pilotAn important milestone in actualization of the Islamic Revolution was Ayatollah Khomeini's return from exile on this day, Feb, 1, 1979. He arrived at the Mehrabad Airport of Tehran at 9:33 am on Air France. Accompanied by thousands of enthusiastic supporters, he went directly to Behesht Zahra Cemetery and made a speech honoring martyrs killed during the uprising against Mohammad Reza Shah.
Imam Khomeini was born on May, 17, 1900 and became one of the most prominent religious leaders in the Shia Muslim world. His famous speech against Capitulation rights to American citizens on June, 5, 1963 incited a revolt in Qom soon to spread around Iran. Therefore he entered the black list of Shah's notorious secret service named SAVAK. Khomeini was arrested in March 1965 and sent to exile in Iraq, Turkey and then France. His opposition continued and accelerated in 1978. Public mass demonstrations, strikes, and riots accompanied by a strong foreign media coverage and support from all leftist and rightist dissident groups mounted in 1979, thus forcing Shah and his family flee to Egypt on Jan, 16, 1979.
Mohammad Reza Shah assigned Bakhtiar, one of dissident figures of Freedom Movement jailed after the CIA-backed coup in 1953 in hopes of gaining back public support. But it was too late and the wheels of revolution crushed the bones of monarchy and the Islamic Revolution toppled the Pahlavi Regime in ten days.
Fifty days later, in a referendum, Iranians voted for Islamic Republic as their new form of government. Imam Khomeini died in 1989 at the age of 89.
Every year, Iranians mark Khomeini's arrival as the start of Daheh Fajr ceremonies; commemorating last ten days of monarchy with various cultural and social activities. (Updated: Oct, 23, 2008)

American General Leaves Tehran

Feb, 3, 1979 AD

Iranian girl and boy celebrating victory of the revolutionGeneral Robert E. Huyser a special envoy from Jimmy Carter left Tehran for Washington. His mission was to help the Iranian army take control of the civil uprising in Iran. Of Dutch origin Huyser was a US air force general who published the book Mission to Tehran before he died of heart attack in 1997 at the age of 73. As deputy of the U.S. European command, he knew many of top Iranian military officers. In his book he describes his mission as one that started with desperation and disunity and ended in disaster. In a speech in 1986 he said that knew it would be impossible to keep the Shah in power. Right after his arrival on Jan, 4 Huyser began a round of almost daily meetings with the army, navy, and air force top officers, plus chiefs of the police, gendarmerie and SAVAK. He left Iran on February 3, before the final confrontation between the army and the revolutionary forces.
Did Huyser come to organize a military coup? Probably as a last resort, and by that time it was too late. (Updated: Oct, 23, 2008)

Bazargan Becomes Prime Minister

Feb, 5, 1979 AD

Forouhar Bazargan JavadiOn Feb, 5, 1979, Mehdi Bazargan was appointed by Ayatollah Khomeini as the revolutionary prime minister to form the interim government. At the same time Shapour Bakhtiar who was still claiming power, was the last prime minister appointed by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi; thus Iran had two prime ministers at the same time for six days.
Bazargan formed the Interim Government of Iran also known as the Provisional Revolutionary Government, it was the first government established in Iran after the Islamic Revolution.
Imam Khomeini's announcement came three days after the army's official statement announcing the army's neutrality in conflicts between Khomeini's and Bakhtiar supporters. Bakhtiar fled on the same day, February 11, the day that is officially named as Islamic Revolution's Victory Day.
On February 4, 1979, Imam Khomeini's commandment was issued as follows:
Based on the proposal of the Revolutionary Council and in accordance with the canonical and legal rights which originated from the vote of overwhelming majority of Iranian nation for leadership of the movement which has been represented in the vast gatherings and wide and numerous demonstrations across Iran and because of my utmost trust on your firm belief in the holy tenets of Islam and my knowledge of your precedent in Islamic and national struggles, I appoint you the authority to establish the interim government without consideration of any affiliation to any parties or dependence on any factional groups, for formation of temporary government to arrange organizing of country affairs and especially perform a referendum and refer to public vote of nation about turning the country into Islamic republic and formation of "The Council of the Founders" from the representatives of people to approve of constitution of new regime and to hold elections of representatives of parliament of nation on the basis of the new constitution. It is necessary that you appoint and introduce the members of the temporary government as soon as possible in concordance with the conditions I have clarified. Public offices, the army, and citizens shall furnish their utmost cooperation with your interim government so as to attain the high and holy goals of this Islamic revolution and to restore order and function to the affairs of the nation. I pray to God for the success of you and your interim government in this sensitive juncture of our nation's history.
The members of the cabinet of Ministers of the interim Government were as follows:
1. Prime Minister: Mehdi Bazargan
2. Deputy Prime Minister: Abbas Amirentezam
3. Agriculture: Ali Mohammad Izadi
4. Commerce: Reza Sadr
5. Post: Mohammad-Hassan Eslami
6. Culture and Higher Education: Abbas Dozdorani , Hassan Habibi
7. Defense and Armed Forces Logistics: Ahmad Madani, Mostafa Chamran
8. Economy: Ali Ardalan
9. Education: Gholam-Hossein Shokhohi, Mohammad-Ali Rajayi
10. Energy: Abbas Taj
11. Foreign Affairs: Karim Sanjabi, Ebrahim Yazdi
12. Health: Kazem Sami
13. Housing and Urban: Mostafa Katirabi
14. Industry: Mahmoud Ahmadzadeh
15. Interior: Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyyed Javadi, Hashem Sabbaghian
16. Justice: Assadollah Mobasheri
17. Labor and Social Affairs: Dariush Forouhar
18. Petroleum: Ali-Akbar Moinfar
19. Road: Yousef Taheri
20. Science: Ali Shariatmadari
21. Tourism: Naser Minachi
Some highlights of Bazargan term as Prime Minister are:
-Facilitating transition of power
-Preparation for the elections
The Interim Government resigned on November 6, 1979, soon after the American Hostage Crisis, an act the government opposed but revolutionary leader Khomeini supported. The Council of Islamic Revolution then served as the country's government until the formation of the first parliament on August 12, 1980.
Bazargan was a well known nationalist who participated actively in the movement that ended with Nationalization of Oil. He founded the Freedom Movement in 1961 after which he was sent to prison together with Ayatollah Taleghani. His cabinet did not last more than 9 months because of constant pressure by hard liners. After his resignation, he was elected to the parliament and was one of few dissidents who were tolerated by the regime, somehow because of respect he had earned through the years. He died on Jan, 20, 1995 at the age of 86 while being treated in Zurich as the only surviving secular leader tolerated by the regime. His death opened a remarkable gap in the ranks of the opposition, since very few other Iranians could publicly make criticism with impunity.
Bazargan was the founder of the Iranian society for freedom and human rights. (Updated: Feb, 6, 2008)

CFK Occupation Of US Embassy

Feb, 14, 1979 AD

The Hostage Crisis: Angry Iranian militants calling themselves, students in the path of Imam outside the US Embassy in 1979Only three days after the Iranian Revolution, on Feb, 14, 1979 a group of CFK armed militants took control of the US embassy in Tehran facing little resistance. After a brief clash with the US Marines guarding the embassy, the compound was under control of the CFK. The United States was seen as Iran's greatest enemy especially after the CIA-backed coup of 1953.
However, Imam Khomeini, the leader of the revolution did not approve this action. While Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was issuing official apologies, he went to the embassy accompanied with armed forces of the Revolution Committee and convinced the militants to end occupation of the US Embassy.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the interim government headed by Bazargan apologized for the unfortunate incident and guaranteed security of the US embassy compound and its employees thereafter. It was a happy ending on Valentine's Day.
Nine months later, on Nov, 4th a group of young people calling themselves Students in the path of Imam stormed the U.S. embassy and took the staff hostage thus starting a strange period in the US-Iran history labeled as the Hostage Crisis.
The moderate government of Mehdi Bazargan resigned in protest. Gradually, the power struggle between fractions in Iran resulted in monopoly of hardliners who took control of Iranian politics and economy and Khomeini justified their actions, right or wrong in the name of Islam. That became the foundation of the Islamic Revolution where the US because of its hostile attitudes towards Iran was called the Great Satan. (Updated: Dec, 1, 2011)

Iran Sides With Palestinians Against Israel

Feb, 19, 1979 AD

Yasser Arafat visited Tehran in 1980 after the revolution. He was welcomed by top Iranian authorities such as Ebrahim Yazdi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ahmad Khomeini. Israel embassy was closed and Palestine Embassy was inaugurated.One of the most determining dates in contemporary Iranian history is today when during a ceremony Yasser Arafat, the leader of the PLO inaugurated the Palestine embassy in Tehran. The building allocated for this purpose was the embassy of Israel. Ahmad, Ayatollah Khomeini's son represented his father in the ceremony and Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, one of the prominent leaders of Iranian National Freedom Movement made a historical speech denouncing Israel atrocities and praising Palestinians rights. Meanwhile, the ministry of foreign affairs of the interim revolutionary government ordered all Israel diplomats, embassy staff, and advisors to leave the country while Iranian citizens were ordered to leave Israel immediately. All diplomatic relations were halted and Iran declared that it does not recognize the state of Israel anymore.
This action immediately angered western countries. Iran later started to play an active role against the Zionist regime in Lebanon that led to creation of Hezbollah. Iran's alliance with Syria and Palestinian resistance created a counter balancing weight against colonial policies that took away Palestinians homeland in 1948. Ironically, Iran was a major player on the opposite side for more than 30 years. As a matter of fact, as long as the Arabs see Iran as an outsider as today, all efforts to help Palestinians prove futile as seen in the past 30 years. (Updated: Feb, 20, 2008)

Referandum From Monarchy To Republic

Apr, 1, 1979 AD

1979 Revolution ChildrenAfter a referendum that took place on two consequent days, a great majority of Iranians voted for a change of regime from Monarchy to Islamic Republic. According to published records in this referendum 20,288,000 people voted "Yes" and 241,000 people voted "No" at the poll. Ayatollah Khomeini's declaration that was published in Iranian newspaper officially announced the end of thousands of years of monarchy and start of a new era for all Iranians. (Updated: Dec, 11, 2007)

Dr. Motahhari Assassinated

May, 1, 1979 AD

Mahdavi Kani (L) and Morteza Motahhari were appointed by Khomeini to the Revolutionary Council .	Mahdavi Kani is Secretary-General of Combatant Clergy Association (Jame-e-ye-Rowhaniat-e-Mobarez) 1979–present, Preceded by Morteza Motahari.Morteza Motahhari, one of the most prominent figures of the Islamic revolution of Iran was assassinated while leaving Dr. Sahabi's house in Tehran. The murderer approached him from behind and shot him in the back of his head causing his death in minutes. The extremist Forghan group took the responsibility for this terror act in a phone calls made to the media. Born on Feb, 3, 1920, Motahhari was a professor of theology and philosophy whose Islamic guidelines were taught in all levels of the Iranian educational system even before the revolution. He was the head of the revolutionary committee's meetings. Right after the CIA backed Shah was toppled, widespread terror activities took place all over Iran mostly targeting thinkers, researchers and key figures that formed the structure of a think thank that could have led Islamic teachings from theory to reality. However, these terror acts, coup attempts associated with the imposed Iraq war , and economic sanctions were only a small part of the price Iranians have been paying for liberty and independence. (Updated: Feb, 19, 2008)

International Qods Day Initiative

Aug, 7, 1979 AD

Quds Day demonstrations in Bojnourd, Friday, Aug, 17, 2012.On Aug, 7, 1979, Imam Khomeini invited the Muslims around the globe to march in solidarity with Palestinians on the last Friday of Ramazan to support the oppressed against the oppressor.On Aug, 7, 1979, Imam Khomeini invited the Muslims around the globe to march in solidarity with Palestinians on the last Friday of Ramazan. Khomeini declared the liberation of Jerusalem a religious duty to all Muslims.
Khomeini was quoted: Quds Day is an international day, it is not a day devoted to Quds alone. It is the day for the weak and oppressed to confront the arrogant powers, the day for those nations suffering under the pressure of American oppression and oppression by other powers to confront the superpowers; it is the day when the oppressed should arm themselves against the oppressors and rub their noses in the dirt; it is the day when the hypocrites will be distinguished from the true believers.
Quds Day is also commemorated in several countries in the Arab and Muslim world with protests against the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem.
Quds Day demonstrations spread out throughout the world and became the scene of anti-American slogans in Persian Gulf nations. The first martyr of Al Quds Day was Mohammad Jomeh Alshakori from Bahrain who was severely injured by Bahrain security forces in Manama on April, 5, 2002 and died two days later at the age of 24.
Quds day is also marked throughout Muslim and Arab countries. During the First Intifada in January 1988, the Jerusalem Committee of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference decided that Quds Day should be commemorated in public events throughout the Arab world. In countries with significant Shia populations, particularly Lebanon where Hezbollah organizes Quds Day events, there is significant attendance. Events are also held in Iraq, the Palestinian Gaza Strip, and Syria. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine endorse Quds Day, and hold ceremonies. Outside of the Middle East and the wider Arab World, Quds Day protests have taken place in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Sweden, France, the United States, and some predominantly Muslim countries in East Asia. There have been traditional gatherings in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Kashmir, and Indonesia every year.
On the first Qods Day demonstrations in Iran, on Friday, Aug, 17, 1979, millions of Iranians filled the streets. 33 years after the Quds Day initiative, the Quds Day in 2012 happened on Aug, 17th again while millions of Iranians in 500 cities showed their continuous support for Palestinians against the racist Zionist regime. Most Iranians consider Israel as a regime of apartheid systematically assimilating Palestinians. (Updated: Aug, 16, 2012)

Death Of Taleghani

Sep, 10, 1979 AD

Recreation of Ayatollah Taleghani's Death a key revolutionary cleric On September 10, 1979 in his home in tehran. Taleghani was a moderate cleric, a member of the Freedom Movement who spoke the language of people on the street and opposed extremism.Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani (1911 - September 10, 1979) was an Iranian theologian, humanist, Muslim reformer, democracy advocate and a senior Shia cleric of Iran. Taleghani was a contemporary of the Iranian Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and a leader in his own right of Iran's Shia resistance movement against the pro-western dictator Mohammad Reza Shah of Pahlavi Dynasty. As a founding member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, he has been described as a representative of the tendency of some clerics to blend Shia ideology with progressive schools of thought such as Marxism in order to compete with leftist movements, in order to get support from younger generations of intellectuals during the 1960s and 1970s. His "greatest influence" has been said to have been in "his teaching of Quranic exegesis," as many later revolutionaries were his students.
He was born to a religious family in the village of Galird of Taleqan County in Northern Iran. His father taught him Islamic sciences and he continued his studies in Qom, studying Islamic sciences at the Razaviyeh School and Feyzieh School. In 1938 he went to Tehran to preach and lecture on Islam and was arrested and imprisoned the next year for opposing the regime of Reza Shah. From 1948 onwards he held classes at the Hedayat Mosque in Tehran. He traveled abroad to Jordan and Egypt in 1951 and 1952, to Shu'oob-al-Moslemin Congress in Karachi city, and twice to Jerusalem as the head of an Iranian delegation to the annual Islamic Congress of Quds. He supported Mohammed Mosaddegh's Nationalization of Oil industry. Following the 1953 Iranian coup d'état that overthrew Mosaddegh and restored the Shah, he was arrested and - according to the Islamic Republic's IRIB website - "accused of hiding Navvab Safavi, the founder and leader of the Fadayan-e Islam" Islamist assassination group.
Politically active since school days, Taleghani was a veteran in the struggle against the Pahlavi regime. He was imprisoned on several occasions over the decades, as a young preacher, as a mid-ranking cleric, and as a senior religious leader just before the Iranian Revolution, and served a total of a dozen years in prison. In his time in prison he met many leftist political prisoners and he became particularly interested in talking about his interactions with leftists. The influence of the left on his thinking was reflected in his famous book "Islam and Ownership" which argued in support of collective ownership as if it were an article of faith in Islam. He helped found the National Resistance Movement of Iran in 1957 and together with Mehdi Bazargan he founded the Iran Freedom Movement in 1961. Between 1964 and 1978 he spent nearly a decade in jail. Altogether he spent nearly 15 years behind bars.
Although not as influential as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Taleghani was instrumental in shaping the groundswell movement that led to the Iranian Revolution and brought Khomeini to power. During the Islamic Revolution he became chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Iran's chief ruling body - a fact not revealed until his death. He was also the first Imam for Friday prayer in Tehran after the fall of Iran's interim government.
Taleghani was known for his tolerance and served as Khomeini's mediator in disputes with the Kurds and other dissident groups. He also had differences with Khomeini, which led to a clash between them in April 1979. To popular acclaim, Taleghani warned then against a return to despotism. Khomeini summoned Taleghani to Qom where he was given a severe criticism after which the press was called and told by Khomeini: "Mr. Taleghani is with us and he is sorry for what happened." Khomeini pointedly did not refer to him as Ayatollah Taleghani.
Taleghani strongly opposed the concept of Velayat Faghih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists) which gave one person extraordinary power unprecedented since the ruling of Mohammad Ali Shah, the last Qajar despot who was toppled during the Conditional Monarchy Movement.
Taleghani died a few months later in September 1979. His sudden death was followed by huge crowds and much emotion during his funeral, and his death was said to be "a blow to moderation and progressive thought" in the revolution. (Updated: Mar, 12, 2013)

Iranian Students Seize U.S. Embassy In Tehran

Nov, 4, 1979 AD

Shredded Documents US EmbassyDuring public uprising Shah fled the country. After the revolution U.S. was asked to return the dictator but the request was denied. He was reportedly under treatment for cancer and took a surgery in New York. On Nov, 4, 1979 a group of young people calling themselves Students in the path of Imam stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took all the staff hostage. The embassy staff reportedly tried to destroy classified documents by shredding and burning them.
The students read a statement that had been received from Ayatollah Montazeri, in which they quoted him as saying:
"The Iman said the Iranian nation must clean up its situation against the United States. This is like recognition of that message. U.S. must know it can't play with the feelings of the Iranian nation."
The U.S. embassy was named the Spy Den and 52 hostages were kept for 444 days and released on Jan, 21, 1981 the day Jimmy Carter was no more in White House. (Updated: Dec, 3, 2007)

PM Bazargan Resigns

Nov, 5, 1979 AD

Left to right: Iranian political figures Abolhassan Banisadr, Mehdi Bazargan and Ruhollah Khomeini in early 1979. Bazargan was the interim Prime Minister after the Iranian Revolution. Banisadr became the first elected President of the Islamic Republic.One day after the U.S. embassy was raided, PM Bazargan resigned in protest. Bazargan was constantly under pressure from hardliners. He was one of founders of the most respected liberal movement in Iran whose political background indicated his activities alongside Mosaddegh. After the regime change, he was appointed by Ayatollah Khomeini to form the interim government which could only survive for 268 days. His informal meeting with Brzezinski, the senior national security advisor of the U.S. president gave his rivals a pretext to enchant "death to Bazargan" at the parliament.
During his term, Iranians enjoyed political and social freedoms as promised as a result of the revolution. Bazargan was openly opposed to enforcing hijab, restricting political activities and many other things that were happening without his consent. He was only used by the extremists for a while to hide the harsh face of what was later imposed as Islamic Republic to Iranians. He continued his political activities as the Tehran representative at the parliament for some time. Mehdi Bazargan died on Jan, 20, 1995 at the age of 86. (Updated: Nov, 6, 2008)

Last Shipment Of American Grain To Iran

Nov, 6, 1979 AD

US Hostage Crisis : Protests in support and against hostage taking of US diplomats in Tehran.The 600 plus attendees are fairly evenly split between MCOB supporters, and anti-Iranian protestors. November 16, 1979Iran began a worldwide search for large quantities of grain to make up for supplies of grain from the United States. The last American grain shipment to Iran was a 32,000 ton cargo that left Portland, Oregon on Nov, 6, 1979.
US wheat farmers considered a boycott not to be in their best interest.
On Nov, 6, 1979, after the U.S. permitted the exiled Shah of Iran to enter the United States for medical treatment, and after rumors of another U.S. backed coup and re-installation of the Shah (as it had happened during Operation TP-AJAX in 1953), a group of radical students took action in Tehran by seizing the American Embassy and taking hostage the people inside calling it the Spy Den. The United States responded by freezing about 12 billion USD in Iranian assets, including bank deposits, gold and other properties. Some assets - Iranian officials say 10 billion USD, U.S. officials say much less - still remain frozen pending resolution of legal claims arising from the revolution.
After the invasion of Iran by Iraq on Sep, 22, 1980 which was reportedly initiated by a nod from Americans, US increased sanctions against Iran. In 1984, sanctions were approved that prohibit weapons sales and all U.S. assistance to Iran. The United States also opposed all loans to Iran from international financial institutions. In 1987, the United States further prohibited the importation and exportation of any goods or services from Iran.
The effects of US sanctions on Iran have mostly damaged the two countries in that Iranian consumers have been forced to look for other suppliers worldwide. This has affected US suppliers and their worldwide reputation indeed while opening the door to third parties and middlemen on both sides who take the lion share.
In 2011, U.S. sanctioned, two Israeli-owned firms for violating Iran sanctions depicting a somehow shocking but visible fact that Israel wants to make money, as in selling weapons to Iran during its war with Iraq, Israel knows how to close its eyes on its enemy;) (Updated: Aug, 23, 2011)

US Reacts To Hostage Crisis

Nov, 13, 1979 AD

U.S. President Jimmy CarterThe United States freezes Iranian assets in the US based on the decision by President Jimmy Carter entering the two countries into a long-term period of hostilities. Anti-American sentiments in Iran fueled in part by close ties between the U.S. and the unpopular leader Mohammad Reza Shah. Shah fled the country in 1979. When the monarch entered the U.S. for medical treatment, a group of militants calling themselves; Students in Imam's path, stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and seized 66 Americans.
Shah's extradition to Iran was demanded, but Jimmy Carter refused and froze all Iranian assets in the U.S. The Iranians released 13 women and African Americans on Nov, 1979, and another hostage was released in July 1980. A rescue attempt in April 1980 failed. Negotiations for the hostages' return began after the Shah died in July 1980, but the remaining 52 hostages were kept in captivity until Jan. 20, 1981, after 444 days when they were released moments after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. The crisis contributed to Carter's failure to win reelection. (Updated: Nov, 13, 2007)

Islamic Republic Constitution Approved

Dec, 3, 1979 AD

Undated photo taken from khomeini pouring teaOn June 18, 1979, the Freedom Movement released its draft constitution for the Islamic Republic that it had been working on since Imam Khomeini was in exile. Aside from substituting a president for the king, the draft constitution did not differ markedly from the 1906 constitution. Approved by Khomeini, the constitution included a Guardian Council to veto un-Islamic legislation, but had no guardian jurist ruler. Leftists found the draft too conservative and in need of major changes but Khomeini declared it `correct`. To approve the new constitution a seventy-three-member Assembly of Experts for Constitution was elected that summer. Then Assembly of Experts convened on August 18, 1979, to consider the draft constitution. Supporters of the Islamic Republic Party dominated the assembly, which changed the constitution to establish a state dominated by the clergy. The Assembly of Experts completed its work on November 15, and the Constitution was approved in a national referendum on December 2 and 3, 1979,
Critics complained that "vote-rigging, violence against undesirable candidates and the dissemination of false information" was used to "produce an assembly overwhelmingly dominated by clergies loyal to Khomeini." But it was a power struggle; a phenomenon in almost all revolutions
(Wikipedia) - The Assembly was originally conceived of as a way expediting the draft constitution so to prevent leftist alterations. Ironically, Khomeini (and the assembly) now rejected the constitution — its correctness notwithstanding — and Khomeini declaring that the new government should be based "100% on Islam."
Between mid-August and mid-November 1979, the Assembly commenced to draw up a new constitution, the one that leftists found even more objectionable. In addition to president, the Assembly added on a more powerful post of guardian jurist ruler intended for Khomeini, with control of the military and security services, and power to appoint several top government and judicial officials. The power and number of clerics on the Council of Guardians was increased. The council was given control over elections for president, parliament, and the "experts" that elected the Supreme Leader), as well as laws passed by the legislature.
The new constitution was approved by referendum on December 2 and 3, 1979. It was supported by the Revolutionary Council and other groups, but opposed by some clerics, including Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari, and by secularists such as the National Front who urged a boycott. Again over 98% were reported to have voted in favor but turnout was comparatively smaller than the referendum on an Islamic Republic on April, 1, 1979 (11, 12 Farvardin). (Updated: Jan, 22, 2009)

Shah Escapes To Panama

Dec, 15, 1979 AD

Pahlavi Coronation Pakistan StampUnder international pressure and fear of being assassinated or delivered to Iran for trial, the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah finds a resort in a far away island in Panama. Because of massive street demonstrations and constant public pressure Shah had fled from Iran like he had done 26 years before in hopes of another coup to put him back in power. But when he was allowed to the U.S. a hostage crisis began with seizure of the American embassy same year. He soon became one of the most unwanted people in the world with nowhere to go. His last trip was to Egypt where he died of cancer reportedly. Iran's diplomatic relations with the U.S. and Egypt became suspended ever since. (Updated: Dec, 22, 2007)

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