Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Axworthy facts about Iran

Here a just a few knowledge points gathered from reading Michael Axworthy's A History of Iran (2008, Basic/Perseus):
~One hundred and four years ago this month, the first national assembly of Iran, the Majles, convened in Teheran with 156 members.
~The Majles was representing the Iranian people amidst conflicting British and Russian hegemonies in the Iranian/Turkish region.
~The Majles assembly adopted a constitution, the first such document to be successfully adopted and implemented (after an meager Turkish attempt)by any middle eastern country.
~Reza Khan,a young military commander of humble origins, emerged between British military oversight and growing Iranian populism, as commander of the Iranian army.
~The government of the reigning monarch Ahmad Shah had bungled an unpopular deal with the British. Commander Reza Khan, with the Iranian army and the Majles assembly, wrested control of government from Ahmad Shah in 1921, ending two millenia of royal Persian dynasties.
~Reza Khan took the name Pahlavi, an ancient Persian language of pre-Islamic times. The Majles crowned him as the new Shah of Iran in 1926.
~In the late 1920's Sha Reza Pahlavi negotitated a deal with the British for development of Iranian oil resources. The agreement provided that Iran would receive 16% of the oil profits.
~By popular demand, the Shah renegotiated the deal with the Brits a decade or so later. The Iranian share of profits was raised to 20%.
~After World War II, the Shah brandished his expanding authoritarian rule toward his people and his growing appetite for oil revenue. A newly-negotiated resolution of oil interests with the Brits produced a 50% deal for the Iranians.
~In 1954, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company changed its name to British Petroleum.

~After 54 years of increasingly opulent and oppressive rule by the Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah's son Mohammed Reza Shah was overthrown in the Islamic revolution of 1979. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini focused seething Shi'a discontent against the Shah's westernizing secularism and moral decadence. Under his remote leadership, the mullahs established a republic based on Islam and sharia law, instead of European/American machinations of governance, exploitation, and moral devolution. They ran the Brits and Americans out.

So I'm thinking that now the Iranians get, presumably, 100% of the profits from their oil production, along with the legalistic priveleges of living in an allahcracy. I think their ulemic leaders are convinced that the rest of the Muslim world should awaken to the superior wisdom of Shi'a leadership, along with Persian administration of precious hydrocarbon resources that should be kept out of infidel hands.
Imam Hosein, in his grave since 680 c.e., would be pleased, and may roll over with joyful anticipation of what is to happen next.

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