Friday, 18 February 2011 13:42
Rais Ahmad Khan
After restoration of Shah to Peacock throne, the Americans held sway in Iran, and under their tutelage Shah Mohammed Raza let loose an era of obscenity and debauchery on the pattern of the worst in Western civilisation, on one hand, and a reign of terror and oppression against intellectuals and political opponents on a scale that has few parallels in history. In the name and guise of reforms, dubbed 'White Revolution of the Shah and Populace' changes were introduced that antagonised all but his own sycophants. That set aflame the smoldering resentment against the Royal family, and his American advisors and supporters, into a virtual holocaust. The Shah had annoyed both the clergy and the intelligentsia, the students, and the 'Bazaris' - the real power-brokers and financiers of the Revolution that followed and shook the world. Shah's actions were devoid of all morality and fair play, and the widespread corruption and financial scams, the life-style of the privileged class in contrast with abject poverty of the majority of the population sowed the seeds of popular uprising and later armed conflict between the Shah's troops and the rag-tag opposition.
That was the time when the price of oil had escalated and the flows of petro-dollars were changing the entire landscape, particularly in the OPEC-member states and other oil producers. The glitter of ostentation of the Royal Court and its henchmen contrasted with the pitiful condition of the have-nots, and was a fertile ground for the remote-controlled revolution directed by Ayetollah Khomeini in exile. The street demonstration turned into an uprising that forced Shah to flee once again and for good, ringing the death knell of the ill-starred Pahlavi dynasty, who were upstarts any way, and started with a commoner - self-styled as 'Emperor'.
The question arises - what were the USA and its Western allies doing to help their protégé - the Shah in his contretemps? Very little, or nothing in fact, so much so that Shah could not even set foot on US soil during his days of wilderness and no country would accept him for a permanent refuge, till Anwar Sadat offered him the hospitality of Egypt to pass his last days, a few days after his temporary stay in a US hospital for treatment of cancer, that raised the ire of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The US government had already frozen the personal assets of Shah and official state funds of Iran in US banks and ultimately seized them as bounty. Once the Islamic Republic claimed those, they drew a blank. The annoyance of fund's seizure, coupled with Shah's temporary entry into USA for medical treatment, were termed two major reasons behind the seizure of US Embassy in Tehran for 444 days, and the repercussions are still reverberating.
The Ayetollah's revolution in Iran inspired uprisings elsewhere, and has raised hopes of a Muslim renaissance in one form or another in most states with Muslim majorities. As expected, this goes against the grain of USA, and those champions of democracy are going all-out to defend their bastions of strategic importance, under the so-called democracies (ruled by despots) or traditional monarchies of 'Johnnies-come-lately'.