For 25 years, millions of Iranians were held hostage by the United States. That’s right: from August 19, 1953 to February 1, 1979—9,037 days in all—over 17 million Iranians were essentially hostages of the ṭaghut (evil, corrupt and deviant) government of the United States. That these hostages managed to free themselves from U.S. oppression due to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran is indeed a miracle.
For 25 years, millions of Iranians were held hostage by the United States. That’s right: from August 19, 1953 to February 1, 1979—9,037 days in all—over 17 million Iranians were essentially hostages of the ṭaghut (evil, corrupt and deviant) government of the United States. That these hostages managed to free themselves from U.S. oppression due to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran is indeed a miracle, and cause to celebrate, particularly in view of the ruthlessness and military might of the American oppressor and its monarchial puppet, the erstwhile shah of Iran.
Once again we have witnessed a miracle. On December 28, 2017, protests against economic conditions flared up in Mashhad, and quickly spread to other cities on news sensationalized by social media and foreign-based news outlets such as Voice of America (VOA) and Fox News. Immediately, Washington’s Iranophobic plutocrats began drooling upon themselves over what they perceived as a golden opportunity to incite a color revolution in their favorite target for regime change, the Islamic Republic of Iran. After their dismal failure to capitalize on unrest following the Iranian presidential election in 2009, the architects of U.S. covert aggression were undoubtedly patting themselves on their backs in a self-congratulatory frenzy for finally inducing a “Syrification of conflict” in Iran, however, once again, as was the case in February, 1979, they failed.
Much has been written about the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979 and the holding of 59 hostages for 444 days, the majority of which portrays the United States as the aggrieved party and Iran as the lawless wrongdoers. Only by adopting a very constricted and distorted western perspective can one view the confiscation of the U.S. embassy and the detention of its espionage operatives as a condemnable act. To hold such a perspective, by necessity, one would first of all be compelled to completely overlook the August 19, 1953 coup engineered by the U.S., which toppled the government of the Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. Obligatory as well would be to ignore the suffering endured by the Iranian people over a 25-year period under the tyrannical rule of the U.S.-installed dictator.
Concerning the character of the Iranian Prime Minister who was the first victim of the 1953 CIA coup, author and journalist Stephen Kinzer writes that he was “a deeply compassionate man who could be moved to tears by the plight of a single widow or orphan.” As such, he was an ideal target for the scheming and unscrupulous CIA operative, Kermit Roosevelt, who actually disobeyed orders from his headquarters to abort the coup after failing to achieve success on August 16. Roosevelt even threatened to kill the Iranian traitors and CIA operatives, Ali Jalili and Farouk Keyvani, if they refused to do his bidding for the second coup attempt against Mossadegh.
Following a stop in Najaf and Karbala, Iraq, allegedly to give thanks for his reprieve but more likely as a publicity stunt to provide some level of credence to his resumption of power, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi returned to Tehran on August 20, 1953, the day after Roosevelt had completed his treacherous task. Basking in the disgusting displays of loyalty provided by the numerous sycophants who oozed forth like puss from a festering wound, the reinstated shah pompously announced in a radio broadcast that, ‘he had been prepared to sacrifice his life for his people and would be prepared to do so in the future.’ This is while the spineless sovereign had fled in fear from Iran early in the morning of August 16, in such haste that he neglected to put on his socks.
The former Prime Minister became the first Iranian hostage to be detained by the U.S. through its puppet Persian prince, Pahlavi. Mossadegh was later tried in a military court and convicted of treason, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment followed by house arrest in Ahmadabad where he remained until shortly before his death in 1967. His crime, according to the late historian Howard Zinn, was that “he was too unfriendly to our [U.S.] oil corporations.” To ensure the popular Prime Minister would never again become an icon of resistance, the CIA hired thugs to parade in the streets chanting “shahanshah piruz-eh, Mossadegh dayyus-eh,”
meaning the shah is victorious, Mossadegh is cuckold.
Acting upon a suggestion by U.S. ambassador to Iran Loy W. Henderson to make the country “an undemocratic independent Iran,” the shah began arresting and imprisoning thousands of Mossadegh loyalists, leftists and others suspected of disloyalty to the throne, effectively turning them into U.S.-held Iranian hostages. Next, the shah acted to make hostages of the people of Iran themselves by colluding with the CIA and Mossad to establish and train a secret security police, which became known by the acronym for sazeman-e ettela’at va amaniat-e keshvar, SAVAK. The scope of surveillance of Iranians and intelligence gathering was so broad, that “SAVAK had agents in the lobby of every hotel, in every government department, and in every classroom.” It was estimated that one in every 450 Iranian males was a SAVAK informer.
The magnitude of U.S. involvement in propping up the despotic regime of the shah is revealed in a 1978 pamphlet published by the Iranian Students Association. The booklet’s authors wrote that “the U.S. used the full weight of military and police repression in a three-year bloodbath and a reign of terror, using the shah as its willing instrument. Thousands were slain in the streets, hundreds were brutally tortured; hundreds were hanged or executed.” Besides the show of military force in the years following the coup, the U.S. used brute economic force to make Iranians hostages to Wall Street bankers, U.S. oil companies and manufacturing firms. Iranian businesses went bankrupt, the inflation rate shot upwards, and graft and corruption among the shah’s officials became commonplace.
The regime’s repression of the people had become so all-encompassing that one Iranian scholar wrote in 1975 he felt the Pahlavi monarchy “would last forever.” Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, his family members, military officers, senior civil servants and entrepreneurs close to the royal court, constituting one-tenth of a percent of the Iranian population, were well off financially, while the remaining 99.9 percent were struggling at best under the “trickle down” system of economics instituted by the shah at the behest of U.S. interests. According to the International Labour Office, Iran in the 1970s had one of the most unequal income distributions in the world.
By the mid-1970s due to the marionette monarch and his pro-western policies, over 32 million Iranians had become de facto hostages of the United States. No doubt, many were overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness. Contributing to this paralysis was a general malaise among Iranians resulting from decades of economic hardships, which were exacerbated by the oil boom-to-bust cycles during these times, particularly in 1976 and 1977. Discontent was further fueled by the harsh treatment, torture and bombings of opposition leaders perpetrated by the SAVAK. But perhaps the catalyst that triggered open opposition by the shah’s Iranian “hostages” was his increasing imposition of western norms in place of Islamic traditions upon the society.
As the end of 1978 approached, it became clear to Washington that their puppet in Tehran was losing his grip on the country. Revolution was in the air and Imam Khomeini was at the forefront of the various factions of the Iranian opposition, which had not yet fully crystalized. Realizing this, U.S. ambassador William Sullivan, in a desperate attempt to sideline Imam and prevent an Islamic revolution, proposed the installation of a coalition government consisting of a clerical council and the shah, who would slowly relinquish power. The plan, approved by the U.S. state department, appears to have been vetoed by hardline National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who apparently was also behind U.S. president Jimmy Carter’s decision to send U.S. general Robert E. Huyser to Iran in early January 1979 to evaluate the potential for a military coup to keep the shah in power. Huyser confirmed this when he wrote in his memoirs, “Brzezinski wanted to convey to the Iranian military a green light to stage a military coup.”
As for the miracle of the Islamic Revolution alluded to by Ayatollah Khamenei, one aspect is simply that the Iranian “hostages” overcame their westoxified marionette master despite his extensive armed forces and technologically sophisticated mechanism of repression furnished and trained by the United States and its Zionist ally. The Iranian people themselves had very little in terms of tactical expertise or logistical organization at hand. In fact, the only technologically advanced apparatus on their side was the cassette tape: inspiring lectures by Imam Khomeini were distributed in Iran by the simple and readily available means of recording over the telephone. The method was straightforward: someone in Paris would read a lecture by the Imam on the phone to another in Iran, who would place the receiver next to a tape recorder and thus make a recording. This tape recording was then transmitted to other locations in the same manner.
There is, however, a second and deeper aspect of the miracle of the Islamic Revolution, and that is the spiritual dimension. As a result of being hostages of the United States under the oversight of their puppet ruler for over 25 years, the people of Iran had become somewhat secularized; one might even say many were on the brink of garbzadgi, westoxification. As the course of the Islamic Revolution unfolded, Iranians began to rediscover Islam, and their Islamic roots and identity, something that the shah and his westernized accomplices had striven feverishly to obliterate and replace with an artificial construct compatible with Washington’s wishes.
As Ayatollah Khameini said, there remains work to be done. The U.S. and its Zionist ally remain the sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and have not ceased in concocting their treacherous plots to bring about regime change. Directly contradicting the terms of an international agreement, in which Iran accepted restrictions on its peaceful nuclear program in exchange for a relaxation of a ruthless regimen of economic sanctions, the U.S. has continued to enforce and even expand them. In concert with its Israeli ally, the U.S. has also engaged in activities to destabilize Iran by supporting terrorist organizations, such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq and Jundallah, Nevertheless, Iran has withstood all of these and many other threats to its sovereignty because of the deeply rooted culture of resistance. “The Iranian power elite,” explained former diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian, “across the entire political spectrum—from reformist, to moderate, to hardliner—believe in resistance to bullying, pressure, and perceived humiliation.”
With the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iranians have freed themselves of the helplessness and grasped an ever-strengthening belief in themselves and their capabilities. Professor Hamid Algar referred to the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran as “the most unexpected and the most joyful triumph of the Islamic Ummah” of the 20th century. On this auspicious occasion of the 39th anniversary, we invite all Muslims wherever they may be to join in our celebration.
About the Writer
Yuram Abdullah Weiler is a former engineer educated in mathematics turned writer and political critic who has written over 130 articles on Islam, social justice, economics, and politics focusing mainly on the Middle East and U.S. policies. His work has appeared on Tehran Times, Mehr News, Press TV, Iran Daily, IRIB, Fars News, Palestine Chronicle, Salem-News, Khabar Online, Imam Reza Network, Habilian Association, Shiite News, Countercurrents, Uruknet, Turkish Weekly, American Herald Tribune and Hezbollah. In addition, he has frequently appeared as a guest commentator on Press TV, Al Etejah, and Alalam. A dissenting voice from the “Belly of the Beast”, he currently lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico USA.
 Parviz Morewedge, ed., The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Islamic Philosophical Theology and Praxis of Global Peace (New York: Global Scholarly Publications, 2015), 189.
 Mohammad Hashemi, “Time for reflection on unrest in Iran,” Tehran Times, January 21, 2018, accessed January 21, 2018, http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/420539/Time-for-reflection-on-unrest-in-Iran.
 Stephen Kinzer, All The Shah’s Men: An American coup and the roots of Middle East terror (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2003), 172-174.
 Christopher de Bellaigue, Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup (New York: Harper Collins, 2013), 232, 253.
 Ibid., 265, 270.
 Howard Zinn, Declarations of Independence: Cross examining American ideology (New York: HarperPerennial, 1991), 221.
 (شاهنشاه پیروزه مصدق دیّوثه)
 Hamid Dabashi, Iran: A People Interrupted (New York and London: The New Press, 2007), 109. While Dabashi translates diyyus as ‘pimp’, the term may be better translated as a man with an adulterous wife.
 Christopher de Bellaigue, ibid., 254-256.
 Ervand Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran (New York: Cambridge, 2008), 126.
 U.S. Involvement in Iran 1900-1963 (Berkeley: ISAUS, 1978), 58, 59.
 Hamid Dabashi, ibid., 110.
 Ervand Abrahamian, ibid., 140-141.
 Nikki R. Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006), 214, 217, 222-223.
 Ibid., 235.
 Andrew Scott Cooper, “Declassified diplomacy: Washington’s hesitant plans for a military coup in pre-revolution Iran,” The Guardian, February 11, 2015, accessed January 17, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/iran-blog/2015/feb/11/us-general-huysers-secret-iran-mission-declassified.
 The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Qum: Ansariyan, 2006), 88-89.
 Ibid., 104.
 Mohammad Zargham and Steve Holland, “U.S. puts new sanctions on Iran over ballistic missile program,” Reuters, July 18, 2017, accessed January 17, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-usa/u-s-puts-new-sanctions-on-iran-over-ballistic-missile-program-idUSKBN1A31GQ.
 “U.S. escalating covert operations against Iran: report,” Reuters, June 28, 2008, accessed January 17, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bush-iran-report/u-s-escalating-covert-operations-against-iran-report-idUSB65580520080629.
 Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014), 276.
 The Islamic Revolution in Iran, ibid., 107.