First Step in Normalizing Relations With Iran: Apologize for the Shah

by on February 8, 2009 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, Energy, History, War and Peace

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and his wife, Empress Farah

There is a new opening in US – Iranian Relations

There is a new opening right now for US and Iranian relations.

Mainstream media reported that on Saturday, Feb.  7th, Vice President Biden, while in Munich, Germany, for an international security conference, offered “an olive branch” to Iran – and Russia.  Ali Larijani, Iran’s head of parliament, in his response address, indicated a new willingness to deal.

AFP reported:

On Iran, Biden repeated that the US was ready to talk to Tehran after three decades of frozen relations. “We will be willing to talk to Iran, and to offer a very clear choice: continue down the current course and there will be continued pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear programme and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives.”

…in a German newspaper interview, Larijari said Iran was ready to talk with Washington “without pre-conditions” but was still waiting for a “concrete offer” from the new US administration. “If the Americans are really willing to resolve the problems, then they must present their concept,” he told the daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, adding that “declarations in interviews or in speeches” were not enough.

In contrast, last year, the US delegation walked out during a talk by Larijani.

While much of Biden’s speech, in laying out the Obama Administration’s new foreign policy – stressing diplomacy and cooperation – focused on hitting the “reset” button in relations with Russia, his words regarding Iran certainly offer a new era in US-Iranian relations. In a response to the American overturns while addressing the conference, Ali Larijani, also offered openings to the Obama administration, stating it was time to “build bridges.”

This is indeed a time for a new opening with Iran. It is time to ‘normalize’ relations with Iran.

We Must Apologize for the Shah of Iran

Evey opening in relations between nations includes first steps by both sides. The first step on our part, on the part of the United States, is to apologize for the Shah – the Shah of Iran.

The Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi – the monarch of Iran from September 16, 1941, until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on February 11, 1979. He was the last Shah of the Iranian monarchy.  He was also known as a particularly harsh dictator, a despot who came to brutally suppress political dissent using  Iran’s intelligence agency, SAVAK.

The Shah was backed to the hilt by the US and the West in general. He was temporarily deposed in 1953, but was returned to power by the CIA.  The Shah’s main rival, Mohammad Mossadegh, led a nationalist movement to bring the oil industry under government control; he also wanted to institute democracy.  This all upset British and American interests, who then moved to oust Mossadegh and bring the Shah back from exile.

The Shah on a state visit with President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon, 1971.

The Shah ruled for decades. He came to outlaw all other parties except his own, declaring by fiat that anyone who didn’t join his party was a traitor meant for prison. By 1978 his prisons held as many as 2200 political prisoners.  See a brief history at wikipedia.

It was due to American support, militarily, financially, that the Shah was able to stay in power for so long. No wonder the Iranians resent America.  We backed their King George for decades.  In 2000, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright spoke to the US support of the Shah’s autocratic rule:

“In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran’s popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Massadegh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran’s political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.”

It is time for the Obama administration on behalf of all Americans to apologize to the Iranian people for our backing of the Shah of Iran. Until that happens, allow our small voice to be one in that direction.

To the People of Iran:  We the People of America apologize for our support of the dictator, the Shah.

We are so sorry for our brutal, undemocratic and imperial policies that led our government to overthrow a popular prime minister. Please forgive us. Let us start anew in our relations, bringing understanding, diplomacy and cooperation.  Both our countries had to throw off dictators. Let us begin anew again on that basis.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

nunya February 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Well, that’s the short list. According to this translation of a Larjani statement, there is a much longer one.

And that much quoted paragraph of Biden’s speech isn’t exactly appreciated either.


naj February 12, 2009 at 7:37 am

Apologies accepted :)

But you forgot to apologize for : this!
or this one

BUT, wait a minute … America hijacked Iran’s second popular revolution too. I invite you to read the thoughts of one of the leading figures, from the Mosaddegh camp, on how America derailed Iran’s nationalist revolution into this Islamic crap we are stuck with.

And here’s another one of them, pointing the finger at how the Reagan administration provoked the Hostage Crisis.


@ Nunya: I have laid out the reason why Biden is not appreciated


Jacob August 10, 2009 at 9:25 am

thank you naj!

Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq was “man of the year” for “TIME magazine” in 1951 (2). The US and UK staged a coup [which consisted of paying off gangs (3) and bombing a Muslim clerics house(5)] that put into power and propped up the Shah of Iran for 26 years and gave him $18 billion worth of weapons (3). The US and Israel’s MOSSAD (4) taught his secret police, the SAVAK, Nazi torture techniques (5,6). the Federation of American Scientists list of SAVAK’s torture techniques include “electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails (7).”

And instead of allowing the Iranians to try this man in their courts the Reagan administration gave them missiles–after the bombing of the US embassy in Beruit. There’s a reason that the Islamic Revolution in Iran was brought forth. There’s a reason Khomeini (whose funeral had the largest attendance out of any human, according to the Guinness Book of World Records) called the US “the great satan”.The US has actually resorted to brutal, permanent lasting torture to cover up their oil secrets. Water boarding is a joke compared to this.


3. Bill Moyer’s special that aired on PBS in ’87:


5. Clip from History Channel’s “Inside the CIA”:




OJ August 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Listen, kid, you better apologize for your support of KHOMEINI. THAT was the real tragedy of Iran. The Shah of Iran was not the “harsh ruler” you’d like him to be. Historical fact. 30 years after his death, all documents and archives have been opened. So forget it.


Jacob July 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I never said, and don’t, support khomeini. he tortured and killed more people than the shah. but that doesn’t negate the fact that we propped up a nazi in iran and destroy a perfectly legitimate democracy form flourishing and are therefore responsible for the pasadran today.
do you have any sources to back up your claims?


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