When it comes to revolutions, many people have an incorrect view of them, an overly romanticized view. However, most manage to get the basic facts across, they simply try to justify the bad points in the name of the greater good of “the revolution”. However, the Islamic Revolution in Iran might just stand alone as being the most dishonest revolution in history. Its story is one of lies from beginning to end. For the sake of convenience I have boiled these down to four big categories of lies that the Iranian revolutionaries have told the world. Unfortunately, as time goes on, more and more people seem to give up and accept their dishonest version of events, though the recent declassification of a great deal of reports and correspondence by the U.S. government has shed new light on some of these lies, even some that were clung to by the Carter administration. So, let’s get started with:
Lie #1: The Shah was forcing western culture on Iran
This is a total lie. The Shah brought more freedom to Iran and rolled back the policies of his father who actually had tried to force Iran to westernize/modernize. It was his father who actually passed laws forcing men to wear bowler hats (no joke) and forbidding women to wear the veil. The last Shah, his son, did away with that and gave people the freedom to adopt western styles if they wanted to. A woman didn’t have to wear a veil, but she could if she wanted to. He also enacted real freedom of religion in Iran, which oddly enough I have even heard some people criticize him for, but remember that the current regime claims to have freedom of religion as well, it is only that everyone knows this is another lie and no one takes it seriously. It should also be remembered that many of the cultural aspects people (especially westerners) associate with Iran is actually not part of Iranian culture at all. Much of it is not really Iranian or Islamic but is simply Arab and dates back to the Arab conquest of the old Sassanid empire.
This would be like the Christians trying to stamp out all memory of the Roman Empire because it had been pagan. As we know, Christian Europe achieved its greatest cultural flowering when the classical art and literature of pagan Greece and Rome were rediscovered. The Shah was trying to do the same thing in Iran. As an example, one of things that offended the clerics the most was his adoption of a new calendar. Previously Iran had used the Muslim calendar, imported by the Arabs, which marked time starting from the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina. The Shah instituted a new calendar that marked time from the Persian conquest of Babylon (modern Iraq) which was obviously a uniquely Iranian model, focused on the greatest victory in Persian history. The clerics, of course, detested this and his other efforts. However, it is also important to note that, because their accusations were lies, a number of the same policies that the Ayatollah and his kind denounced when enacted by the Shah were quietly retained by the Islamic Republic after they took power. Because many of his modernizations worked and the mullahs all knew that they worked.
Lie #2: The Shah was a puppet of the United States of America
Probably the most widely believed and oft-touted of the lies the revolutionaries tell, mostly because it gains traction the more unpopular the U.S.A. becomes, it is nonetheless untrue. I have long found it very amusing the people who hate America have so much in common with those who worship America. One thinks America does nothing good and the other that America does nothing bad but both believe that America is the center of the world and all life revolves around Washington DC. It is utter nonsense. First of all, this accusation tends to come from the episode in which the Shah was briefly overthrown but was restored to the throne with the assistance of the British and American intelligence agencies. The untold truth here is that the British always had far more interest in Iran than the Americans did. The British had interest in Iran going back a very long time, the British had established most of the oil industry in Iran and it was the British, not the Americans, who were the driving force behind the restoration of the Shah. It is only when British power began to decline and American power began to rise up that the U.S.A. became the great bogeyman.
|He who sups with the devil must have a long spoon|
President Jimmy Carter, for example, stopped the sale of weapons to Iran because he disapproved of the Shah. Also, in a broader context, while Iran was friendly with the U.S. and did recognize the State of Israel, Iran had far more and friendlier relations with the rest of the Islamic community than Iran has today. Under the Shah, Iran was on very good terms with Saudi Arabia and with Egypt (the Shah’s first wife was from the Egyptian Royal Family) both of which today are enemies of Iran. When the Shah was in power, American influence was largely absent from the region as he was the ‘policeman’ of the Persian Gulf and worked to assist royalists against communists in neighboring countries. This was not something that the United States would typically do, usually preferring to back a third option that inevitably failed.
Lie #3: The Ayatollah stood up to the evil Americans
Like the previous lie, the mullahs in Iran have gotten a great deal of mileage out of this lie, particularly as America becomes more unpopular. The Ayatollah Khomeini is portrayed as the courageous man of principle who stood up to the big, bad American wolf. In fact, the Ayatollah was a liar from start to finish who lied to everyone and we now know from recently declassified documents that he actively courted the support of the United States and tried his best to tell American leaders everything they wanted to hear. We also now know that, despite the lies the Carter administration has been telling for years, that they made a conscious decision to abandon the Shah and did not think the Ayatollah would be so bad (which shows how incompetent Carter and crew were, if any more evidence were needed on that front).
|The Iranian Imperial Family|
For his part, the Ayatollah continued with his lies, telling the Americans he was their friend, promising that he would keep his country “un-aligned” in the Cold War, would continue to do business with America, would keep strong the military ties between the United States and Iran and that he would continue to sell America oil. In fact, he promised to sell oil to everyone with only two exceptions: Israel and South Africa, which is rather interesting. He was most concerned about the Iranian army and the royalist generals who he feared would be able to stop any uprising he could instigate if they really came out in force. However, his Democrat friend in Washington helped him out on this front. As well as condoning the return of the Ayatollah to Iran, the Carter administration passed word to the Ayatollah that most of the Iranian military leadership was not so royalist as everyone believed and that they would likely go along with whoever was able to take power. When the Ayatollah was timid, President Carter gave him the confidence he needed to go ahead.
Lie #4: The Islamic Revolution was a counter-revolution.
This is possibly the most absurd but I have heard it repeated too often, invariably by people on the far-right, not to point it out. This is the lie that claims that the Shah was some sort of radical progressive and that the Islamic Revolution brought things back to normal, made Iran a more traditional and conservative country than had previously been the case. It is hard to even think about it without laughing. This may be a good example of a big lie being more readily believed than a small one because this is a very big lie. The Ayatollah and his crew were revolutionaries plain and simple, in both the political and the religious spheres alike.
|Plenty of Ayatollah idolatry|
As mentioned before, they also quietly retained some of the same reforms that the Shah had instituted in their own constitution and which they had previously denounced as being the work of the devil when the Shah did it. These people, or more so their supporters, actually embrace the exaltation of the lie by condemning things the Shah did while praising the regime of the mullahs for claiming to be liberal, democratic, religiously tolerant and respecting of human rights because everyone knows they actually do not. What is more, while the Shah was friendly with the rest of the Islamic world and supported traditional governments, the mullah-regime has made enemies of most Islamic countries and tried to export their radicalism abroad. Which, by the way, is another lie as the Ayatollah specifically promised NOT to do this. He followed the typical revolutionary pattern of waiting for the strong monarch to be removed and then jumping on a liberal, moderate regime which is easily defeated to bring radicalism to power. He lied to the Iranians just as he lied to the Americans and everyone else, it has been nothing but lies from beginning to end.
|Theocrat & Atheist, what an odd couple|
Chinese oil and gas companies today have far more reach in Iran than the British oil companies ever did. China has been granted billions of dollars worth of extensive contracts over Iranian mineral resources and even, going farther than anyone ever has, over Iranian territory itself. In 2011 Iran agreed to give to China exclusive mineral rights over three large oil and gas fields in Iran. China has total control over these areas, exclusive rights to the energy underground and will do the drilling, bring in Chinese workers to handle things and even have Chinese personnel in charge of security in all of these areas. It was also announced, particularly when there was concern over a U.S. or Israeli attack to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, that these three territories in Iran are considered Chinese and any attack on them would be responded to as an attack on China. Those are the facts. The Shah never “sold-out” Iran but the Ayatollahs and their puppet presidents certainly have. They have sold it out completely and quite literally.