Sam Ghandchiسام قندچيWhy *No* Monarchy

Sam Ghandchi


Persian Version


In a different article, I explained in details that, contrary to the claims of some Iranian monarchists, the fear of Iranian progressive republicans,  is not about people voting for monarchy, rather our fear is that with U.S. invasion and deception of a part of Iran's opposition, monarchy to be restored in Iran, and people lose the opportunity to really vote, and like the CIA coup of August 1953, monarchy to be forced on Iran again, and the political opponents, before being able to make any moves, again to end up in Savak penitentiaries and Evin prison.


Why is this important?  Because tomorrow of monarchy's return to Iran, all the current forces of the Information Ministry of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) will move around the monarchy, the same way today, the former Savakis abroad,  have encircled Reza Pahlavi.  In other words, the process of the oppressive forces circling Khomeini , which took two years, in case of return of monarchy to Iran, will happen a lot faster.


But why *no* to monarchy!  For the simple reason that although in the last 25 years, there has been a lot of heated call by monarchists about Human Rights abuses in today's Iran, but when they talk about their democratic monarchy, their ideal monarchy is hardly any different from Shah’s regime of the past!  For example, do they think their judiciary is going to be based on Islamic Law?  I need to note that  even the 1906 Constitution, which Iranian monarchists support, not only in its judicial plans, but even in legislative measures, has the veto of 5 Shi'a mojteheds, for its proposed laws to become laws of the land, and also calls Shi'a Islam as the official religion of Iran.


The question is, what the today's monarchists are going to do with the Shi'a as the official religion, and the veto of 5 mojteheds, in the constitution that they support.  Reza Pahlavi does not even say anything about the role of Islam in his future monarchy, and his press releases on the occasions of various Islamic religious events are consistent with previous monarchy’s position on Islam, although he talks in some of his communiqués about secularism, , and it is safe to assume that Reza Pahlavi’s ideal monarchy to be the same as Shah’s regime with the Islamic jurisprudence running the show in Iranian courts.


As far as relations with the U.S. and the issue of independence, he does not show much of a difference with Shah's regime.  Only talking that the monarchists like democracy and human rights, does not mean a new program.  Communist and Islamist regimes also had very high sounding ideals of freedom.  For example, Islamic Republic for over 10 years has been talking about democratization of the Islamic regime.  Thus the what the monarchists mean by democratizing their system should be asked.  But in the last 25 years, even one democratic constitution or a critique of the past constitution has not been written by them, to define the difference of their ideal monarchy and the past monarchy.  In contrast, secular and democratic republicans of Iran, have clearly defined the difference between their ideal constitution and republican institutions and those of IRI constitution.


Their position cannot be that these issues will be resolved after a new state is formed, because as constitutional monarchists, they should say what their plan is, to show its difference with the past monarchy, before they enter any provisional government, and whether they have a firm stand on the issue of civil law versus Islamic law, as the basis of the judicial branch of the government. 


Another example is the issue of federal state which is a decentralized state, and whether the monarchists  will support a federal form of government in Iran or not?  In the Modern Times, Iranian monarchist states had very centralized structures, and followed a model very similar to France, in contrast to the Ancient Times, where Satraps at the time of Achaemenian and Sassanids, had a king and the king of kings ruled over all kings, and thus the Iranian state was like a federal state.  In the Modern Times centralist structures of Iranian monarchy, in practice,  made many ethnic and national groups to suffer, and feel misrepresented in Iran, relative to their population and economic-political importance.    What is the response of today's monarchists to the need for a federal state?


They may say that in the area of federalism, the republicans have the same problem, and in sum the position of the centralized French model of mashrootiat era is still carried by them.  But at least in relations to issues of secularism, democracy, and independence, the secular republicans, draw a very clear line between their republic and that of the Islamic Republic.  Have the current monarchist,s drawn a clear line in these areas, between themselves and monarchy of the Shah?


Just claiming that different forces will be united to overthrow the Islamic Republic, will not mean that those forces will all remain as legal forces afterwards, and in the absence of strong democratic institutions in Iran, after a short period, when dictatorial forces circle around the monarchy,  the monarchy can easily send all other forces to jail,  similar to the time the young Mohammad Reza Shah came to power in 1941, following the exile of Reza Shah, when for a short while there was democracy before the jails were filled again with the Iranian democrats after the 1953 coup, and again the same vicious circle of undemocratic judiciary and parliament and executive powers in Iran, and all that took 12 years, but if it was not because of presence of the Allies and the presidency of Roosevelt, 1953 coup could have happened in 1943.


Monarchists, if they ever restore power in Iran, can speak like Mohammad Reza Shah, who said whoever does not like Rastakhiz Party can leave Iran, and in practice the ones who opposed Shah’s party, did not even have a chance to leave Iran, and ended up in Evin and died in the hands of Shah’s executioners. 


The monarchists have had 25 years to say what their future ideal monarchy is, and what its constitution and social and political institutions will be, and as much as they have spoken, and in practice they have continued the ways of Shah's regime when abroad, and if they return to Iran, there is no reason to believe their monarchy will be much different from Shah’s regime.  If living in the West was going to make a difference in their practice, the ones in Shah's regime, more than any other regime in Iran's history, had relations with the West.  But when one looks at their plans and programs for the future, there is not any difference with Shah's regime.


They never repudiated Shah’s dictatorial regime and they only have borrowed some words about democracy from the opposition, to fool the people and the Iranian intellectuals, the same way Shah used the words of the opposition during his White Revolution to disarm the opposition.  And at the end when the clergy resisted, Shah gave back their privileges, and suppressed the secular forces, and strengthened the clergy.  Shah's goal was not to form a democratic and secular state, but his goal was to take the initiative in 1963, to prolong the life of his corrupt regime for a few more years.  Today also if the monarchists are honest, why do they have the likes of Parviz Sabeti of past Savak, with pseudo name, in their organization.  Doesn't Reza Pahlavi know about this?  Or that they have the likes of Azghandi, Ataii, and others in the midst of the monarchists in the U.S.  These are all from the heritage of all the repression years of the Shah's regime.


Even in his latest interviews with the press, Reza Pahlavi states some more general vague words about democracy in Iran, and when the interviewer reminds him that his father left Iran, by popular uprising of the people, who wanted his death, Reza Pahlavi does not give much details about his future government and why it would be any different from Shah’s regime, except for general words about democracy, the same way the Soviets talked of equality, without showing why the state structures of the monarchy he has in mind, can guarantee democracy, when the same structures under Shah's regime are what he has in mind.


When calling his father a nationalist, he forgets to say that it was Shah’s government which was dictatorial and dependent, and the short-lived democracy of Iran under Mossadegh, was crushed under the boots of Shah’s armed forces, with the support of the American government of the time, the same way another short-lived democracy after mashrootiat was crushed by another King, Mohammad Ali Shah, with the support of the Russians.  


In the last few months, after the call of the site of 60000000, and the immediate publication of Reza Pahlavi's message on that site, Reza Pahlavi has become very popular in the Western press.  Some Western analysts try very hard to make it seem as if the status of monarchy in Iran and has gotten stronger.   Anybody with the least knowledge of history and economic-political developments of Iran, can easily discern how such a perception is far from the truth.  In fact, such an appraisal did not even pen out in Afghanistan, let alone to happen in Iran.


Afghanistan is a highly underdeveloped society with strong presence of fiefdom (khAnkhAni), where even some of its major cities are run by tribal chiefs (a khan or two) and even a centralized monarchy may be considered an advancement in most of its areas.  In contrast, only in very few backward areas of Iran, one may still find survival of political fiefdom and in most advanced parts of Iran, fiefdom and molookoltavaAyefi form of state power has been absent for over a century.  Even the presence of the khans in some parts of Kurdistan of Iran, is within the general state organs or general political opposition parties, than being a direct molookoltavaAyefi form of state, which is readily found in many parts of Afghanistan.  Therefore the excuse of fiefdom to justify monarchy for today's Iran is ridiculous.


Moreover the former King of Afghanistan was overthrown by a coup, the same way that Nordom Sihanouk of Cambodia was overthrown by a coup.  Later, basically Soviet puppet states in Afghanistan and the invasion by Soviet Union stopped the pro-Western Afghan monarchy from coming back to power.  In Iran, in contrast, a popular revolution overthrew the monarchy, and if the trick by Islamists had not made the vote to be either/or, between monarchy and Islamic Republic, the option of a democratic republic would have won in the referendum.  One thing in the Iran’s referendum after the 1979 Revolution was surely the undisputable vote of the Iranian people, with no tricks, and that was the vote of Iranian people to abolish the monarchy.


In fact, the Islamists used the real demand of Iranian people for the abolition of monarchy, to enforce their own Islamic Republic, the same way today the monarchists want to use the same trick, to change the referendum to the choosing of a system of government, to return the monarchy to Iran.  But as I wrote the monarchy is even finished for Afghanistan, let alone for Iran.  In fact, the complaint of Iranian people in the last 8 years, has not been of republicanism, but has been of the monarchist structure of supreme leadership (vali faghih) and of the absence of separation of state and religion.


Monarchists today talk a lot about human rights and unity, and they try very hard to tell the youth of Iran that older generation is the block to the unity of action of Iranian opposition to overthrow the Islamic Republic.  The reality is that the struggle against violations for human rights in Iran did not start with Islamic Republic and Evin prison and its notorious history starts with the Shah and it Savak.  Shah’s Savak was created by the US and Israeli intelligence, after the 1953 CIA coup, and Iranian people are still suffering from torture and murder in the Evin prison, by the successor of Savak, which is Islamic Republic’s Savamma. 


The Pahlavi monarchy is inseparable from the issue of violations of human rights in Iran. Opposing violations of human rights in Iran is opposing monarchy, opposing the clergy, and opposing US intervention in Iran. The violations of human rights in Iran in recent history were not done by Arab invaders.  They were done by the tyrannical Iranian states, both Shah’s monarchy and Islamic Republic, and any attempt to justify the violation of human rights during the Shah will not change this reality.  The murder of the likes of Dr. Hossein Fatemi, the three student martyrs in 16-Azar (Shariate Razavi, Ahmad Ghandchi, and Bozorgnia), Khosro Golsorkhi and hundreds of others who gave their lives opposing the Shah’s regime, in their struggle for democracy in Iran, is inseparable from any efforts for establishment of human rights in Iran.


Should Iranian freedom-lovers fall for the ploy of the Iranian monarchists?  If one is fooled once, it is understandable, but being fooled twice, one should blame oneself.  Iranian people were deceived once before, by Mohammad Reza Shah, when he was a young king in 1320 (1941), after the exile of Reza Shah, when Mohammad Reza Shah spoke very vaguely about his position regarding Reza Shah’s dictatorship, and once he stabilized his power, his regime was worse than Reza Shah, in dictatorship and corruption, and of the young and pleasant King of 1941, there was only a memory in 1953, and that was all because of international conditions, or else I would have written 1943 rather than 1953, and finally Iranian monarchy was what the Iranian people were forced to end in 1979 with their blood.


The worst salespersons are the charming ones, who sell the worst goods to us, and by the time we know what we bought, it is too late.  Good public relations and talking about democracy, which is what the monarchists have done in the last 25 years, will not bring us democracy, but it needs a clear plan to show the difference of Reza Pahlavi's intended monarchy and that of the Shah, and about how to create an organization to achieve that democracy.  But I have proven the Savakis who have threatened me and my family are related to Reza Pahlavi's organization, and are not IRI agents, and their being, contrary to their objective, has this advantage that in contrast to good-talking salespersons, they do not cause us to be fooled, and remind us of the days when because of fear of Savak, Iranian people would shiver any time they wanted to express their political opinion.


The responses of Reza Pahavi to the open letters that have been sent to him, and also his responses in interviews with the press suggests nothing to convince one that he will not try to reinstate the Shah’s tyranny the moment he has the power to do so.  There is nothing in the programs and actions of the monarchists in the last 25 years to tell anyone other than going in a retrogressive direction, as to what to expect from the monarchists, if things go their way, and their pretty talks about human rights, in the first practical step of collaborative work on the site of 60000000 meant to censor the serious opponents of monarchy and to target those political opponents to censor and attack, and not democracy. 


Of course the closer they get to power, the more they will drop their superficial talks of democracy, and the more those words will be replaced by censorship and open dictatorship, and this is the sad truth of the institutions of Iranian monarchy, will shape the life of Iranian people, whether the monarchy is with Reza Pahlavi or without him.  Even if US government sides with the monarchists in Iran, it may mean that U.S. is trying to go the same way it did in 1953, when it sided with the Shah against Mossadegh and democracy in Iran.


The older people who had lived under the Shah, with their bone and flesh, can say that monarchy is nothing but poison for Iran and Iranians.  I remember some very old people, who had lived in Iran when Islamists reigned power before Reza Shah, in the years between 1910 and 1920, used to tell the younger generation of 1979, about how life was under the Islamists, that it will be forcing veil on women and amputations of hands and feet, and the youth would say Khomeini is different and will go to Qom after forming the constitutional parliament.  We all know that Islamists did the "impossible", and revived the structures that were 60 years and older, under the leadership of Khomeini.  I hope the youth of today not to dismiss the words of older generation about monarchy and make the same mistake to revive the nightmare of monarchy.   I have written my analysis in Myth of Democratic Monarchy for Iran ( and there is no reason to repeat here.


True all monarchists nowadays say some general words such as Savak was wrong or Shah was wrong, but they quickly pass and make sure to attack the intellectuals who have always been the victims of the dictatorships.  Reza Pahlavi forgets that the intellectuals were shot and killed during the Shah’s regime, because of working for democracy, the democracy which he claims to speak for today.  Not the monarchists, but the Iranian intellectuals were executed and murdered by the Shah’s executioners of Savak, the same way they are tortured and executed today by IRI for standing up for freedom and democracy, and are targeted abroad by both the IRI agents and the remnants of Savak, meaning that they are struggling for the democracy Reza Pahlavi claims to speak for.  Yes, not the monarchists, but the anti-monarchist intellectuals were the ones who lost their lives for *democracy* in Iran.


When one is trying to restore Pahlavi Dynasty, Pahlavi Dynasty is not just history.  In fact, most of the records of its atrocities were not even opened by the Islamic Republic and books like the black book about Savak records "benevolently", of course for IRI's benevolence, were  banned in Iran right after publication in Tehran in 1979, because the same Savak apparatus is being used by the Islamic Republic, which killed Bakhtiar and Foruhars and others.


The U.S. strategists, who supported Shah’s dictatorship, and after its fall, claimed that Shah’s fast pace of progress was the reason for his fall, should stop trying to deceive Iranian people, if not deceing themselves. Iran, thanks to the income of oil, was able to make a lot of economic progress for over 50 years, and Iran was also culturally more advanced than most of its neighbors, and was ready to establish democracy, and it was the wrong policies of the Western states, in a few junctures of Iran’s modern history, that prevented the development of Iran to a democratic state.  The West helped the Shah to annihilate democratic forces and to destroy the progress of Iran towards democracy.  A wrong analysis of the fall of the Shah can cause U.S. and other Western states to make the same mistake of 1953 in Iran again to support the monarchy against the democratic forces.  Iranian people are more advanced than most of the countries in the Middle East and are the most ready for a real secular democracy. 


Iranian youth should not be deceived by the monarchists, to think that all these discussions are superfluous, and are against unity of Iranian people.  This is the same mistake Iranian youth made on the eve of the 1979 revolution, and before they know it they lost the game to the retrogressive Islamist forces, and if the same mistake is made again, it can take another 25 years for Iran to compensate for the error. 


Iranian youth should try to organize themselves in organizations that have progressive and democratic platforms for Iran.  At times, depending on the needs of the change of power, the democratic organizations may make compromises or coalitions with various forces, internal and external, monarchist or melli-mazhabi.  But all such tactical alliances will make sense, when there is a strong presence of democratic organizations, in the Iranian political scene, or else all these sacrifices will help the monarchists to use the sacrifices and come back to power to go for another quarter century, and will not end up in victory of republican democratic, secular, and futurist forces.  I have written my views of a proper platform ( for a futurist organization.


The formation of new democratic groups and organizations in the Eastern Block and other parts of the world has been the way to establish a democratic state and not trying to make a coalition of some age-old groups such as the Monarchists and National-Islamists and the like, to think that such coalitions could lead to success of a democratic program .   If groups that are retrogressive, who are on the basis of monarchy or other obsolete forms of government trying to revive themselves, take hold of the government, or to share in it, with obsolete structures, plans, and platforms, or with a common denominator of such obsolete plans, the result will be a retrogressive regime, and not a new democratic and futurist structure.


Democratic groups need to focus on progressive platforms of our times, so that they can found a new constitution and parliament.  A constitution and parliament that is secular and democratic in the direction of the future.


Hoping for a Futurist,  Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran,


Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher


February 3, 2005



Related Articles:





Other Articles