Columnist got it wrong; Iranian students wanted the Shah to return for ‘execution’


08:53 PM November 19th, 2012

November 19th, 2012 08:53 PM

Please allow me to correct a historical item cited by Rina Jimenez-David in her column on the movie “Argo” (Inquirer, 10/6/12). David wrote: “In 1979, Iranian students and militants had been gathering daily in front of the American embassy in Tehran to demand the return of the Shah of Iran, who had been ousted in a popular revolution and had been allowed into the United States for cancer treatment.”

As written, the sentence gave the impression that the students wanted the Shah to return to resume his rule over Iran. In truth, the Iranian students were demanding that the United States return the Shah for “trial and execution” (Wikipedia).

It may be recalled that in 1951, Iran’s Prime Minister Mossadeq led successfully a move by the Iranian parliament to nationalize the oil and gas industry of Iran, then controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, now known as British Petroleum. This was resented by the British and the American governments, and so they conspired to oust Mossadeq as prime minister by paying thugs to riot as a prelude to a military coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Mossadeq in 1953. Mossadeq was arrested and convicted of treason. Documents showed that the planning for the coup was done at the American embassy in Tehran.

As a result of the coup, “The Shah made himself an absolute monarch… US support and funding continued after the coup, with the CIA training the government’s secret police, SAVAK. In subsequent decades this foreign intervention, along with other economic, cultural and political issues, united opposition against the Shah and led to his overthrow” in February 1979 (Wikipedia).

In November 1979, following rumors that the American government was again planning to restore the Shah to his throne in Iran, militant students seized the US embassy and took hostage the US marines guarding it. But six US diplomats managed to escape with the aid of the Canadian embassy, and this was the theme of the movie, “Argo.”

In shaping the destiny of our country, Filipinos should view history clearly and objectively. By knowing the real history of Iran, Filipinos will understand why the United States continues up to this day to regard it with hostility. Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves and the second largest natural gas reserve in the world. Under the Shah, the exploitation and trade of these energy resources were monopolized by US and British multinational corporations.

Mossadeq nationalized these resources, motivating the US and Britain to oust him through a military coup.  A popular revolution in 1979 finally deposed the Shah, establishing an Islamic republic that consolidated the nationalization of its oil and gas resources, and preventing their further exploitation by foreign multinational corporations. This enabled the Iranian people to get the full benefits from their energy resources.



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