Iranian Technocrats from Shah's Time


Related Article in Persian:


For over 29 years the political debate inside Iranian political circles has revolved around the issue of so-called "monarchy" versus republic, and this has wasted so much time and energy of IRI opposition without any tangible results.  One may think the Iranian monarchists are another group of Iranian intellectuals, who happen to want to form a monarchy in Iran, just as there are groups of Iranian political intellectuals who want to form  a "democratic republic" or a "socialist republic" in Iran.  This is a completely erroneous view of reality, but it has become a perception, which is causing a lot of useless debates that have nothing to do with the political reality of Iranian opposition. 


A lot of debate about Mossadegh versus the Shah and the historical topic of 28-mordad of 1953 are being *the* theme discussed in many such debates.  These discussions are very genuine discussions about the failures of politicians of Iran's monarchy of the time, versus the democratic politicians like Mossadegh, but do they really relate to the aspirations of so-called Iranian "monarchists", who basically are not a group of politicians or political intellectuals for that matter, but are rather a group of *technocrats* of the time of the Shah, who even then, were as much in fear of Shah's Savak, as the democratic political opposition of the Shah. 


Yes, they were *not* political intellectuals, albeit the pro-Shah ones, but were and *are* simply the technocrats of the time of the Shah, who shared only the economic and technical aspirations of the Shah's time, and at best tolerated the repressive political system of Shah's monarchy, including its Savak.  This is why all the discussions about Mossadegh versus the Shah, or similar discussions about the system of monarchy, really have nothing to do with what these educated people are looking for, when they refer to themselves as the so-called Iranian "monarchists".  They were technocrats who were thrown out of the system with Shah's regime falling apart and in fact, they share with the political intellectuals of Iran, the desire for a modern system in Iran. 


The truth is that monarchy was a block to prevent these technocrats to unite with the majority of Iranian political intellectuals, who were *politically* striving for a modern system in Iran at the expense of getting arrested and tortured by Shah's Savak, and the elimination of monarchy should have helped the unity of Iranian technocrats with the democratic and modern-minded Iranian political intellectuals, rather than setting these two main sections of Iranian educated people, face each other as adversaries, under the opposite flags of so-called "monarchy" and republic. 


Even Prince Reza Pahlavi sees the uselessness of monarchy as a political platform and this is why he does not really campaign for it, and unfortunately the main body of Iranian technocrats of the past regime, still identify their ideals with monarchy, which is far far from the reality of the real monarchy of those years in Iran.  The system of monarchy was nothing but a block to the modernist ideals of these technocrats rather than being its symbol..


The Iranian monarchists of the last 20 years are basically *not* a faction of Iranian political intellectuals, alongside the liberal and socialist political intellectuals, although they *are* a very educated group of people, who are basically *non-political* technocrats, who mostly *avoided* politics due to the dictatorial political system of those years in Iran, and their ideals have nothing to do with the repressive political system of monarchy in Iran. 


In other words, as far as Iranian *political* intellectuals are concerned, they have all been republican all these years, although some being futurist, democrat, secular, liberal, socialist, religious, or other shades of the political spectrum.  Except for a very small handful of Savak functionaries, there is no one asking for *return* of monarchy, which *means* nothing but return of *past* monarchy, because *past* monarchy is the *only* platform for monarchy, since we do not know of any group or family striving for start of a *new* monarchy in Iran. 


It is now time to drop the useless discussion of monarchy and start planning a republic that would be *modern* and *secular* before it is too late.  It is not to the advantage of Iranian technocrats (aka so-called Iranian "monarchists") to end up in a state like that of Hamid Karzai of Afghnestan, which is another Islamic Republic, albeit a more liberal one.  After all these sacrifices, the Iranian technocrats, as well as all the people of Iran, deserve a real secular democracy, a federal democratic republic, rather than another version of an Islamic Republic.  We should focus on the constitution of such a republic.


Mossadegh versus the Shah belongs to history.  Our challenge today is to form a modern republic, which all our political intellectuals have come to see as our only choice for a long time.  We do not have an existing monarchy to look for ways to moderate it thru constitutional reforms.  We need a brand new republican constitution for Iran to begin with, a document that can work as the proper roadmap for our future:


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


Sam Ghandchi, Publisher
June 1, 2008



This first version of article was written in Feb 2003.


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