(Reconstructing the story of a coup
that changed history)
January 4, 2005
REVIEW ESSAY: All
the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror,
by Stephen Kinzer. John Wiley and Sons, 2003.
To say that Iran has posed challenging
foreign-policy problems for the United States since the
Carter administration is an understatement. From the intense
anti-Americanism and the hostage crisis during the Carter presidency to
the Iran-contra scandal of the Reagan years to regime change and the
Axis of Evil of President Bush, Iran-U.S. relations seem both bizarre
and inexplicable. One book that provides an explanation of the roots of
the problem is Stephen Kinzer's All the Shah's Men.
Although this book has been reviewed in
numerous publications, including Middle East Policy (Vol. X,
No. 4, 2003), virtually all of the reviews have been written for the
general public. In this article, I will discuss several issues of
significance for scholars and policy makers that have not been
addressed in any of the above-mentioned reviews. There is little doubt
of the high quality of Kinzer's contributions.
For example, The Economist selected
this book as one of its ten "Books of the Year in 2003" in history; one
of the principal textbooks in political science has quoted it as a main
source on the 1953 coup; and many graduate and undergraduate courses in
the United States and abroad have made it required reading. Kinzer's
book was quickly translated into Farsi in Iran without the permission
of the author. The translation was poorly done with self-censorship or
state censorship of many passages.1
Stephen Kinzer, a senior correspondent for
The New York Times, has covered more than 50
countries and has published books on Guatemala, Nicaragua and Turkey.
All the Shah's Men reads more like a Tom Clancy novel than a scholarly
work; at first glance, one might even take it for a screenplay. But
this should not detract from the serious contributions Kinzer makes.
The book is not a journalistic recounting of events with superficial
explanations. Kinzer's book presents essential information and raises
important questions for international-relations scholars interested in
U.S. policy towards Iran.
Kinzer makes seven salient points. The first is that the 1953 coup was
plot, not a spontaneous uprising by the Iranian people to overthrow the
prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, though both the American government
and the former monarchy
have propagated this myth. Virtually all politically active Iranians
knew about the
role of the United States and Britain in the 1953 coup, but the U.S.
government and the Iranian
regime under the monarchy tried to conceal that information, and
Islamic fundamentalists have
tried to suppress scholarship on their role. It is therefore not
surprising that criticism of Kinzer's
book has come from these quarters.
The U.S. government succeeded for a long time in covering up its role.
not until March 2000 that for the first time an American official
acknowledged the U.S. role:
Secretary of State Madeline Albright conceded it with a faint
expression of regret to an audience
advocating establishment of friendly relations with the current regime
in Iran. A month later, in April
2000, the CIA's own secret history (written by one of its main
organizers, Donald Wilber) was
leaked to The New York Times. Access to government files on
the coup has been difficult in the
United States, Iran and even in the USSR/Russia.2
The U.S. government, of course, did not
want to provide evidence of its role in the overthrow of Iran's only
democratically elected government since 1925 and the installation of
Nazi collaborator Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi. Kinzer writes:
"Zahedi shared Reza Shah's view of what Iran needed. Both men were
at heart, strong, harsh and ambitious. When World War II broke out,
to help the Germans. After the British deposed Reza Shah and forced him
exile, they focused on Zahedi. They identified him as a profiteer who
huge sums from grain hoarding, but would have left him to his devices
not been for his close connections to Nazi agents. When they discovered
he was organizing a tribal uprising to coincide with a possible German
into Iran, they decided to act (p. 142). In 1942, the British kidnaped
from Isfahan and interned him in a British prison in Palestine." (pp.
The shah's regime, installed by the CIA
coup, would severely punish anyone who
tried to gain access to such evidence in Iran; research from 1953 to
1979 was virtually impossible.
After the revolution, Khomeini and his supporters also tried to conceal
the role of high-ranking
Shia clerics and close Khomeini allies in the coup organized by the
One of Kinzer's major contribution's is
the careful reconstruction of the events surrounding the coup and the
primary role played by the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence
Services, MI6, which he based on scholarly publications, memoirs and
the recently released CIA secret history. This narrative explains in
plain language not only the role of the CIA and the monarchists but
also the role Shia clerics played in the coup. Among the latter were
Fadaian Islam and Ayatollah AbolQassem Kashani, whose allies and
supporters have played central roles in the leadership of the regime
ruling Iran since 1979.
Some of the deleted material in the Farsi
translation of Kinzer's book deals with Ayatollah Kashani. One of the
top members of the current ruling elite is Mahmood Kashani, the son of
the late Ayatollah AbolQassem Kashani. The Council of Guardians
(dominated by the hardline faction), which vets candidates for various
offices, has allowed Mahmood Kashani to run for the presidency twice.
Kashani denies there was a coup and says Mossadegh himself was
following British plans and carrying out their dictates. In his words:
"In my opinion, Mossadegh was the director of the British plans and
Kashani goes on to say, "Without a doubt
Mossadegh had the primary and essential role" in the August 1953 coup.
Kashani says Mossadegh, the British and the United States were working
together against Ayatollah Kashani to undermine the role of Shia
clerics. All evidence, including the CIA's secret history, shows that
Ayatollah Kashani and Fadaian Islam (the first violent Islamic
fundamentalist organization in Iran, many of whose leaders rose to
power in the Islamic Republic after 1979), along with monarchist
military officers, were mobilized by the CIA and MI6 in the August 1953
coup against Mossadegh.
In fact, the second person who spoke on
Radio Tehran announcing and celebrating
the overthrow of Mossadegh was Ayatollah Kashani's son, who was
hand-picked by Kermit Roosevelt.5
A more sophisticated argument on behalf of Ayatollah Kashani is
presented by Abdollah
Shahbazi.6 For Shahbazi, Kinzer's book is a fairy tale for Americans.
Shahbazi's main argument
is that Kinzer is part of the U.S. Democratic party, and he has written
this book to undermine
President Bush's reelection and help the Democratic challenger.
Shahbazi's main criticism of Kinzer is that
he portrays Mossadegh as good and Kashani as bad, and Truman as good
and Eisenhower as bad.
Shahbazi argues that Truman was the main
architect of American imperialism, that the plan to overthrow Mossadegh
began under Truman's administration, and that no difference in policy
existed between Truman and Eisenhower. Shahbazi tries to show that the
Bush family is closely connected to Truman through the DuPont Company
and the "secret and semi-Masonic sect 'Skull and Bones.'" Shahbazi then
proceeds to make personal attacks on Kinzer. Shahbazi writes: "In
Kinzer's book, one sees veins of Zionist attachments or influences. For
example, when he mentions the suspicious bombing of the Jewish
Community Center in Buenos Aires (1994) and other such bombings, where
footprints of Mossad and other mysterious Western conspirators are
evident, Kinzer blames the Islamic Republic of Iran."
The second salient point in Kinzer's book
is a sympathetic portrayal of Mossadegh. For Kinzer, Mossadegh was a
patriot like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.
Iranian democrats have always compared Mossadegh to Washington and
Gandhi. Such a portrayal coming from an American journalist associated
with the most prestigious U.S. daily is new and
Kinzer shows Mossadegh to have been a
genuine democrat and civil libertarian -- at a time when McCarthyism
was at its zenith in the United States and Stalin's nightmarish
dictatorship reigned in the USSR. Despite tremendous pressure,
Mossadegh respected the civil liberties not only of Communist Tudeh
party members but also of right-wing monarchists and Islamists, all of
whom were engaged in outright slander and violence against his own
pro-democracy followers. For example, as part of their psychological
operations against Mossadegh, CIA agents were planting rumors in the
Iranian press about Mossadegh being of Jewish parentage, being a
Communist or Communist fellow traveler, having secret sympathies for
the British, and having designs on the throne (p. 6).8 Mossadegh
neither harassed nor suppressed any paper that published these
Kinzer shows that throughout his life,
Mossadegh was impeccably honest and incorruptible. This contrasts
sharply with the avaricious Reza Shah Pahlavi and his son Mohammad
Reza, who looted the treasury, confiscated private property, and lived
a life of conspicuous consumption in a land of terribly poor people.9
Corruption has only worsened in the post-revolutionary period.10
The third salient point is Kinzer's
portrayal of the British colonial subjugation of Iran. Kinzer brings to
life the British contempt for the "natives." This section explains in
part why Iranian patriots hated their British colonizers and
passionately supported Mossadegh in the struggle to expel them and
restore Iranian independence and dignity. The intense emotional
opposition of Iranians to Britain and the United States is due to
Britain's harsh colonial subjugation and the CIA's imposition of the
Pahlavi monarch, who regarded himself, and was regarded by the
population, as the puppet of colonial powers.
According to a top-secret communication
sent by the State Department to the British Foreign Office:
"He [the shah] is reported to be harping on
the theme that the British had thrown out the Qajar Dynasty, had
brought in his father and
had thrown his father out. Now they could keep him in power or remove
turn as they saw fit. If they desired that he should stay and that the
Crown should retain the powers given to it by the Constitution, he
should be informed. If on the other hand they wished him to go, he
should be told immediately so that he could leave quietly."11
For international-relations scholars and
policy makers alike, it is essential to understand the emotional aspect
of Third World nationalism and demands for independence from colonial
subjugation. Where scholarly theories lack the tools to explore these
raw emotions, Kinzer's narrative succeeds brilliantly in conveying the
British mechanisms of humiliation and the emotional outrage of Iranians
to those indignities. Massive American assistance to and close
relations with the Pahlavi monarch were the main cause of the intense
anger of the Iranians towards the United States.
For Iranians, Mossadegh represented
political democracy and Iranian independence from colonial subjugation;
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi represented subjugation to Western
colonialism and political despotism. The main slogans of the 1979
revolution were esteghlal (independence) and azadi (liberty). The
demand for an Islamic republic came late and only after Khomeiniand his
followers succeeded in gaining the leadership of the anti-shah movement
from the secular liberal democrats. Americans, who never considered
themselves a colonial power in Iran, continue to be perplexed by the
Iranian outrage directed at them. Kinzer helps U.S. policy makers and
the general public alike to understand the cause of Iranian anger at
the United States.
The fourth salient point of Kinzer's book
is his masterful explanation of the internal debates between American
and British policy makers. Through the use of many sources -- published
memoirs, unpublished private papers and interviews -- Kinzer creates
lively personal profiles of various protagonists: President Truman,
Dean Acheson (Truman's secretary of state), Kermit Roosevelt (grandson
of Theodore), who organized the coup in Tehran, Gen. H. Norman
Schwarzkopf, Sr. (father of the commander of U.S. forces in Desert
Storm), President Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles (Eisenhower's
secretary of state) and his brother Allen (director of the CIA). Kinzer
does the same with various British actors from prime ministers to
foreign secretaries to the head of the British oil company in Iran (the
Anglo Iranian Oil Company, later British Petroleum).
The fifth salient point is the role of
individuals and luck in history. Kinzer is quite explicit here without
ignoring the role of great-power interests and ideologies (pp. 210-11).
Here Kinzer presents alternative scenarios, had several of the key
players acted differently. Mossadegh's charismatic personality made
democracy possible. Churchill's steadfast colonialism was a factor.
Also, Churchill's decision to conjure up the Communist threat helped
convince Eisenhower to support the British. Most significant of all for
the success of the coup was Kermit Roosevelt's persistence, imagination
The first attempt failed on Saturday,
August 15; CIA headquarters twice ordered him to leave Tehran, but
Roosevelt remained and organized a second coup on Wednesday, August 19.
Roosevelt was able to use the U.S. ambassador in Tehran, Loy Henderson,
to deceive Mossadegh into ordering the people to stay home and calling
in the armed forces to bring calm to the streets. Having secretly
organized paid mobs, and having already secured the support of
high-ranking Shia clerics (Ayatollah Kashani, Ayatollah Behbahani,
Hojatolislam Falsafi) and the radical group Fadaian Islam, who brought
their followers into the streets, Roosevelt then had one group of
military officers attack Mossadegh's home and another take over the
Tehran radio station. Roosevelt's leadership was the single most
significant factor in the success of the August 19 coup; without him,
there would have been no second coup.
The sixth salient point of the book is the
role of perception and misperception in international relations. Kinzer
shows that the perceptions of the world held by the Americans, the
British and the Iranian democrats were very different. For the British,
the basic fight was over their continued control of Iranian oil. The
American mindset was that of the Cold War. The Iranian nationalists'
mindset was that of a Third World nation demanding independence. Truman
understood to some extent the Iranian desire for freedom and the
British desire for the colonial subjugation of Iran, but his main
concern was containment of the USSR. Mossadegh failed to understand the
paranoia gripping Washington, while Churchill shrewdly manipulated
Churchill failed to understand that
colonialism was waning, and he badly miscalculated the consequences of
the brutal suppression of legitimate demands of Third World
nationalists such as Mossadegh. Truman tried, to his credit, to broker
a compromise between Mossadegh and the British, realizing that Western
colonialism was fast becoming outmoded. But he needed British support
in NATO and in the Korean War (1950-53) in the global struggle against
the Soviets. Despite Truman's and Acheson's best efforts, the British
were not willing to give up their hugely profitable control of Iranian
oil, and Mossadegh was not willing to sacrifice Iranian independence.
The elections in Britain in 1951 replaced
the Labour party with the militantly colonialist Conservative
Churchill. The U.S. elections in 1952 replaced Democrats with
Republicans. The Dulles brothers were more concerned with securing the
profits of Western companies and with countering the USSR than with
promoting self-determination, democracy and human rights in the Third
World. They quickly convinced Eisenhower to authorize the overthrow of
Iranian democracy and replace it with the dictatorial regime of the
shah, who was regarded to be reliably subservient to Western interests.
Mossadegh and his liberal democratic
supporters in the Iran National Front had no illusions about the
British colonial mindset. However, they misperceived the Americans. The
U.S. image in Iran was extremely positive due to the lack of American
colonial enterprises and to Woodrow Wilson's support for the rights of
colonized nations. The few Americans who had come to Iran were either
educators or supporters of democratic forces. One of Mossadegh's close
friends was Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. The CIA coup, of
course, dramatically changed all that.
The seventh salient point, and the most
contentious, is Kinzer's argument on the relationship between the 1953
coup and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Kinzer argues that the CIA
coup smashed Iranian democracy and brought to power a despotic
monarchy. The shah's ruthless regime succeeded in suppressing the
secular liberal democrats (Mossadegh and the National Front) and the
left (the pro-Moscow Communist Tudeh party).
However, by so isarticulating the
democratic and modernist political forces, the shah left the field open
to right-wing Islamic fundamentalists, who, in 1979, succeeded in
overthrowing the shah and establishing the first contemporary Islamist
government. Khomeini's regime brought hitherto marginalized forces to
the center of politics in much of the Muslim world. Khomeini's success
illustrated that Islamic fundamentalists could overthrow an incumbent
regime and create their own. Moreover, the Iranian revolutionaries
provided assistance to myriad Islamist groups such as Lebanese
Hezbollah and Hamas. Thus, the Shia success in Iran provided a model
for Sunni fundamentalists around the Islamic world, including Osama bin
Kinzer argues that, had the United States
not overthrown Mossadegh, Iran would have consolidated its infant
democracy, which would have precluded the success of Khomeini and
Islamic fundamentalism. Kinzer writes:
"The world has paid a heavy price for the
lack of democracy in most of the Middle East. Operation Ajax [CIA code
for the August 1953 coup] taught tyrants and aspiring tyrants there
that the world's most powerful governments were willing to tolerate
limitless oppression as long as oppressive regimes were friendly to the
West and to Western oil companies. That helped tilt the political
balance in a vast region away from freedom and toward dictatorship."
Islamic fundamentalists in Iran would
disagree with Kinzer's analysis, cognizant that many of their own had
supported the CIA coup and had strongly opposed the secular liberal
nationalism of Mossadegh. In fact, Khomeini and others broke with the
shah in 1961-64 period.12 Shahbazi strongly disagrees with Kinzer and
argues that other factors and events are far more responsible for
anti-Americanism among Islamic peoples than the CIA coup. Shahbazi
asserts that the following four American actions were more responsible
for anti-Americanism in the Middle East and the events of 9/11 than the
(1) the joint CIA and MI6 coup in July 1952
in Egypt that brought Gen. Mohammad Naguib to power;
(2) President Kennedy's reforms imposed on the shah;
(3) the tremendous support that all U.S. administrations have given to
Israel, including Democratic President Lyndon Johnson's support for
Israel in the Six-day War of 1967; and
(4) the huge investment by the CIA in the Taliban and Bin Laden during
their war in Afghanistan against the occupying Soviet forces.13 In
"Were not the actions of the government of
John Kennedy, which imposed many programs with deep destructive impact
on the Iranian society in the decade of the 1960s, this time under the
banner of "reforms" and not a "coup," another major event which
intensified the anti-American feelings in Iran? Everyone knows that it
was this intervention [Kennedy's reforms] that produced the 15 Khordad
1342 [June 4, 1964] uprisings, and the Islamic Revolution of Iran is
the direct effect of that [Kennedy's reforms]."14
Kinzer has written a superb book,
reconstructing the story of a coup that changed history. He resurrects
the figure of Mossadegh for English-language readers at a time when his
ideals have been embraced by masses of Iranians, particularly
university students, who carry Mossadegh's picture in their protest
rallies and sit-ins. As the wave of democracy reaches the shores of the
Middle East, it is not an accident that Iranians have found Mossadegh
again. As events unfold in the region and American policy makers are
confronted with dilemmas, Kinzer's book might help them avoid the
mistakes of the past. Scholarly analysis might be enriched through a
consideration of the many points Kinzer has raised. His book will play
a major role in the debate for years to come.
This paper was first published in Midle East
Policy, Winter 2004. Masoud Kazemzadeh, Ph.D. is
Assistant Professor of Political Science at Utah Valley State College [homepage].
He is the author of Islamic
Fundamentalism, Feminism, and Gender Inequality in Iran Under Khomeini
(Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2002).
 Many sentences have been completely
deleted and many mistranslated. The following phrase under the picture
of Ayatollah Kashani has been deleted: "Kermit Roosevelt sent him
[Ayatollah Kashani] $10,000 the day before the coup." The endnotes and
bibliography have been deleted, as was the subtitle. As an introduction
to the translation, the review of Kinzer's book by Warren Bass in The
New York Times, August 10, 2003, has been modified and presented
without acknowledging the author of the review and instead attributing
it to Abdolreza Mahdavi. See Azadi,
No. 31-32, Summer-Fall 1382, 2003, pp. 271-272,. This journal is
published by the National Democratic Front of Iran, headed by Hedayat
Matin-Daftari, Mossadegh's grandson.
 In the words of Ervand
Abrahamian, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needle than for a historian to gain access to the CIA archives on the
1953 coup in Iran." See Abrahamian, "The 1953 Coup in Iran," Science
and Society, Vol. 65, No. 2, Summer 2001, p. 182.
 The best work on the
role of high-ranking Shia clerics and Islamic fundamentalists in
opposing Mossadegh, supporting the shah, and helping the coup is Homa
and the Struggle for Power in Iran (I.B. Tauris, 1990), pp.
 ISNA (Iranian Students
News Agency) November 2003 interview in Farsi with Mahmood Kashani. I
have translated the passage. The most important achievement that
Mahmood Kashani mentioned during his first campaign for the presidency
was that he had "slapped the American judge in the face" during the
proceedings of the tribunal at the Hague created as part of the Algiers
agreement to resolve the U.S. claims against Iran.
 The New York Times
redacted many of the names of the CIA's Iranian collaborators. Cryptome
was able to recover only some of them. One was one of "Ayatollah
Kashani's sons." See page
71 here. Cryptome was unable to recover the redactions in the
section that deals with the religious leaders. The following is page 20
of the secret history that can be found here.
"(4) Religious Leaders.
It is our belief that nearly all the important religious leaders with
large followings are firmly opposed to Mossadeq. Both the U.S. field
station and the British group have firm contacts with such leaders. The
pro-Zahedi capabilities in this field are very great. These leaders
include such assorted and sometimes inimical elements as the
non-political leaders [......] and [......], as well as [....] and
[...] and his terrorist gang, [....]. During the period of intensive
anti-Mossadeq publicity before the coup day, the leaders and their
(a) Spread word of their disapproval of Mossadeq.
(b) Give open support to the symbol of the throne and give moral
backing to the shahthrough direct contact with him at the shrine.
(c) As required, stage small pro-religious anti-Mossadeq demonstrations
in widely scattered sections of Tehran.
(d) Threaten that they are ready to take direct action against
pro-Mossadeq deputiesand members of Mossadeq's entourage and government.
(e) Ensure full participation of themselves and followers in Situation
(f) After the change of government, give the strongest assurance over
Radio Tehran and in the mosques that the new government is faithful to
The "terrorist group" that Kermit Roosevelt
and Donald Wilber mobilized was the "Fadaian Islam." The redacted names
of high-ranking Shia clerics include Grand Ayatollah Brujerdi,
Ayatollah Behbani, and Ayatollah Kashani. See Katouzian, op. cit., and
Masoud Kazemzadeh, "The Day
Democracy Died: The 50th Anniversary of the CIA Coup in Iran," Khaneh:
Iranian Community Newspaper, Vol. 3, No. 34, October 2003.
 Abdollah Shahbazi, "A
Survey of Stephen Kinzer's Book: 'Good Truman' and 'Bad Eisenhower,' An
American Tale," posted at Shahbazi's
website. All the quotes are from the above-mentioned review (my
translation). Shahbazi has written the memoirs of several political
prisoners based on the tapes of their interviews with interrogators of
VEVAK (the fundamentalist regime's feared intelligence agency) during
their incarceration. These memoirs include those of Nouraldin Kianouri
(secretarygeneral of the Tudeh party) and Gen. Hussein Fardoost (the
shah's head of Court Intelligence and childhood friend and one of his
closest friends and advisors, who had apparently betrayed him and
worked with the fundamentalist regime). According to Shahbazi himself,
he would provide questions that were put to Kianouri thus creating
 Kinzer's book has
been embraced by pro-democracy Iranians inside and outside Iran. Kinzer
has done several readings to Iranian audiences, who have given him
prolonged standing ovations.
 According to the CIA
secret history of black operations against Mossadegh (pp. 16-17):
"At headquarters and at the field station U.S. personnel will draft and
put into Persian the texts for articles, broadsheets and pamphlets,
some pro-shah and some anti-Mossadeq. The materials designed to
discredit Mossadeq will hammer the following themes:
(a) Mossadeq favors the Tudeh party and the USSR. (This will be
supported by black documents).
(b) Mossadeq is an enemy of Islam since he associates with the Tudeh
and advancestheir aims.
(c) Mossadeq is deliberately destroying the morale of the army and its
ability tomaintain order.
(d) Mossadeq is deliberately fostering the growth of regional
separatist elementsthrough his removal of army control over tribal
areas. One of the aims of the removal of control by the army is to make
it easier for the Soviets to take over the Northern Provinces.
(e) Mossadeq is deliberately leading the country into economic collapse.
(f) Mossadeq has been corrupted by power to such an extent that no
trace is left of the fine man of earlier years, and he now has all the
repressive instincts of the dictator."
 On Reza Shah's
corruption, see Mohammad Gholi Majd, Great
Britain and Reza Shah: The Plunder of Iran, 1921-1941
(University Press of Florida, 2001). On Mohammad Reza Shah's
corruption, see Nikki R. Keddie, Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive
History of Modern Iran (Yale University Press, 1981), esp. pp. 149,
172, 178 and 180.
 On corruption among
high-ranking officials of the current regime, see Paul Klebnikov,
"Millionaire Mullahs," Forbes, July 21, 2003.
 The quote is from a
British document discussing a report sent to them by the U.S. State
Department on the shah and the situation in Iran. The date is about
three months before the coup. Henderson is the name of the U.S.
ambassador to Iran. The following is the verbatim text:
Sir R. Makins -- No: 1085, May 21, 1953
PRIORITY -- TOP SECRET
The State Department informed us today on a number of occasions
associates of the shah have told Henderson that His Majesty is
uncertain about the British attitude towards himself. He is reported to
be harping on the theme that the British had thrown out the Qajar
Dynasty, had brought in his father and had thrown his father out. Now
they could keep him in power or remove him in turn as they saw fit. If
they desired that he should stay and that the Crown should retain the
powers given to it by the Constitution, he should be informed. If on
the other hand they wished him to go, he should be told immediately so
that he could leave quietly. Did the British wish to substitute another
shah for himself or to abolish the monarchy? Were they behind the
present efforts to deprive him of his power and prestige?
2. On May 17 the Shah sent an emissary to Henderson to
say that it would do much to clarifythe situation if the ambassador
could ascertain secretly and unequivocally the British attitude towards
 For extensive explanation and
analysis on the conflict between Khomeini (and other conservative Shia
clerics) and the shah, see Willem Floor, "The Revolutionary Character
of the Iranian Ulama: Wishful Thinking or Reality?" International
Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1, December 1980; and
Masoud Kazemzadeh, Islamic
Fundamentalism, Feminism, and Gender Inequality in Iran Under Khomeini
(University Press of America, 2002).
 The above are a close rendition of
 Shahbazi, ibid., my
translation. Words in brackets are mine. By the Kennedy reforms,
Shahbazi is referring to reforms that the Kennedy administration forced
the shah to implement, including land reform, female enfranchisement
and the replacement of taking an oath to the Quran with taking an oath
to a holy book as the criterion of holding government office (which
would have undermined the Shia hold on high positions and allowed
Zoroastrian, Christian, Bahai and Jewish Iranians to serve as well).