An interesting article...

The Guadeloupe conference, the collapse of the Shah and Khomeini's seizure of 
 26 May 2008. A World to Win News Service. We have run several articles 
recently examining the collision course the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of 
Iran are on, and looking at some of the reasons for this antagonism. The 
following article looks at the question from a different angle, the role played 
by the U.S. in bringing the Khomeini regime to power in 1979, after the fall of 
the U.S.-supported Shah (king). 
Like Washington’s support for Islamic fundamentalist forces fighting the Soviet 
occupation of Afghanistan, this move was guided by the interests of U.S. 
imperialism in its rivalry with the Soviet bloc at that time. In the post Cold 
War period, especially as the U.S. seeks to deepen the capitalist 
transformation of the Middle East and install regimes more suited to its 
current economic and political requirements, the choices it made in those 
earlier decades have had unintended and far-reaching negative consequences for 
the American empire: these Islamic fundamentalist forces now claim “ with some 
success “ the banner of opposition to the U.S.  Like the coming to power of 
Islamic fundamentalism in Iran in the first place, this situation has been a 
very bad thing for the people. An examination of why and how the U.S. helped 
Khomeini come to power is part of demystifying and exposing the real nature and 
goals of both the imperialists and the Islamic forces now in conflict with them.
Dr Ibrahim Yazdi was one of Ruhollah Khomeini's closest advisors when the 
ayatollah was in exile in Paris, before returning to Iran in 1979. Currently he 
is the leader of Nehzate Azadi, a nationalist- religious organisation. Recently 
he granted an interview to the Iranian Internet magazine Iran-Global. It sheds 
light on several aspects of the role of the imperialist powers and in 
particular of the U.S. in the seizure of power by the clergy and the 
establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Much of the interview focuses on questions related to the Guadeloupe summit. 
For those who followed the Iranian revolution, this name is familiar. It 
represented a key moment in the decision by the Western powers to go along with 
ascension to power of the Islamic clergy in Iran. This conference of the heads 
of four Western imperialist powers (the U.S., UK, France and West Germany) was 
held in the first week of January 1979 on the French Caribbean island of 
Guadeloupe. The agenda concerned the world situation and the political crisis 
in Iran, where a popular revolutionary upsurge was about to topple the Shah, 
Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a monarch brought back to power by a coup organized by 
the CIA and the British in 1953. 
As a result of the discussions at this summit, the Western imperialists agreed 
to put an end to the Shah's reign and transfer power to the mullahs headed by 
Khomeini. It was only after this conference that the U.S. media began to refer 
to the increasing people's opposition to the Shah's rule and also the 
possibility that the U.S. might not support the Shah. 
Although it has been clear from the beginning that the decisions taken at the 
Guadeloupe summit were a result of negotiations and agreements between the 
imperialists and Khomeini and those around him, the dimensions of the 
agreements achieved before and after the conference have been kept secret from 
the people inside and outside Iran. In the contexts of both those times and 
today, the Western imperialists have had every interest in hiding their role in 
bringing Khomeini to power. The anti-people, reactionary Islamic forces in Iran 
have kept this secret for several decades in order not to tarnish their 
regime's carefully polished and false image as anti-imperialist, which along 
with religion is a pillar of its claims to legitimacy. It is important to 
realize that while this interview brings some aspects to light, it reveals only 
a small part of the realities of that epoch and in particular the negotiations 
related to the Guadeloupe summit. Other sources, such as interviews and the 
memoirs by some influential personalities and authorities of that time, 
including the book by U.S. President Jimmy Carter's special envoy to Iran after 
the fall of the Shah, General Huiser, have provided further details. But much 
more must come out before we have a full picture of what went on behind the 
There are two important reasons for the need for a better understanding of the 
events surrounding the Islamist seizure of power in Iran and the role that the 
imperialists played in that. The first is to more fully reveal the 
imperialists' role in allowing the establishment of a new Islamic regime in 
Iran, which they saw as their best choice at that time. The second concerns the 
emergence of Islamic movements in the Middle East, the nature of their 
anti-U.S. role and the real challenge this presents for the people of the world 
and the progressive and revolutionary forces.
Who is Ibrahim Yazdi? He is a leader of the nationalist religious trend whose 
chief figure, Mehdi Bazargan, was assigned by Khomeini to form a provisional 
government after the fall of the Shah. This government collapsed after the 
occupation of the American embassy by pro-Khomeini students. Later, due to 
conflicts with other clerical factions, the most important organisation of this 
trend, Nehzate Azadi, was ousted from the government and even excluded from 
taking part in parliamentary elections. Yazdi was also one of the founders of 
the Iranian Islamic student association inspired by the Egyptian-based Moslem 
Brotherhood, the forerunner of much of today’s political Islam. He was close to 
Khomeini during the ayatollah's exile in France “ in fact, perhaps his most 
important political adviser during the pre-1979 period. He went back to Iran 
along with Khomeini, and became a leading member of Khomeini's Revolutionary 
Council and the Foreign Minister in the provisional government.
The U.S. and the decision to let the clergy come to power
In this interview, Yazdi says, "In January 1979 the U.S. television network PBS 
invited me for a debate with Henry Kissinger on Iran. But Kissinger did not 
come and he sent his assistant Mr Josef Sisko instead." Yazdi emphasises that 
before going to the U.S., Ayatollah Khomeini had authorized him to meet with an 
American official, if the opportunity were to arise. He continues, "After the 
TV interview, and before going to a restaurant, the interviewer told me that he 
had invited Mr Henry Precht, the head of the Iran desk at the U.S. State 
Department, to dinner as well, in order to have conversation. " Yazdi does not 
say what issues were discussed, or what the relationship was between this 
meeting and the Guadeloupe summit. He remains silent about other issues 
possibly discussed, in relation to the transfer of power to Khomeini and his 
Yazdi limits himself to saying, "My understanding from this meeting was that 
the U.S. officials were confused and unclear and also ignorant about Iran's 
situation. In my opinion, up until the very last minute they maintained the 
view that the Shah should be kept in power, and that any change or reform 
should take place under his regime. But the British and Israeli diplomats, who 
were more familiar with Iranian affairs and had a deeper understanding, had 
advised the Shah to abdicate in favour of his son." Speaking of the U.S., he 
adds, "What they wanted to know was the views of the leadership of the 
revolution on key questions, including relations with the West. We explained 
that we didn't have any problem with the West. All we wanted was our 
independence. We were prepared to sell them our oil. Since the nature of the 
Iranian revolution was Islamic and anti-communist, they were not concerned on 
that score, but they wanted to know whether or not the regime that was going to 
come to power would be able to confront communism."
At the time the Iranian masses rebelled against the Shah, the U.S. was 
confronting the East bloc headed by the Soviet Union, a formerly socialist 
country that had become America's chief imperialist rival. What the U.S. was 
concerned about was the role that Iran would play in this great clash. In this 
context, it seems that Khomeini and his advisers assured the Western powers 
that they would run the country in the imperialist’s interests. As a result, 
the U.S implemented a new plan. 
Yazdi continues, "The Americans were concerned about the power vacuum that 
would be created if the Shah left, and who would fill it. Therefore they agreed 
to the following: the Shah would leave, then [Shahpour] Bakhtiar would come in 
(as Prime Minister). The Army would then cooperate with the revolution and 
probably find a position in the revolution. From the other side Brzezinski 
[Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Advisor] believed 
that in the absence of the Shah, the only way to block communism was 
coordination between the military and the clergy. His reasoning was that the 
clergy were anti-communist, and at that moment they also had the ability to 
mobilise the masses of people. The military was consolidated and the Shah’s 
400,000-man Army had been indoctrinated with anti-communism and trained to put 
down rebellion, so the coalition between the military and the clergy could 
neutralise the danger of communism."
What Yazdi means by communism here is mainly the danger of a government tied to 
the social-imperialist (socialist in words, imperialist in deeds) Soviet Union. 
But at the same time there is no doubt that the revolutionary communists and 
other genuinely revolutionary organisations were fast expanding among the 
masses of people. That was also a major concern for U.S. imperialism. Anyway, 
Yazdi’s remarks explain the events on two religious holidays (Tasooa and 
Ashoura during the Islamic month of Moharram) in early 1979. From exile, 
Khomeini called a huge demonstration on those two days. Hundreds of thousands 
of people took part. This time, the Army did not attack the crowds. This was a 
change from their reaction to other recent mass demonstrations, especially that 
of 6 September 1978, which resulted in a massacre. This time the Army did not 
intervene at all, even when people marched right up to its tanks. At the same 
time, the leaders of the demonstration put out the slogan, "The Army is our 
brother" and asked the people to give the soldiers flowers. 
Here Yazdi confirms that the leadership of the movement was up to something 
more than just putting forward reformist slogans and compromising acts in the 
midst of a revolutionary situation. This stance was the direct result of 
behind-the-scenes negotiations between Khomeini's people and Western 
imperialist representatives, in particular U.S. officials. Khomeini and his ilk 
were negotiating with the U.S. and other Western imperialists and selling out 
the people's revolution in order to abort and kill the revolution. They sought 
to keep the structure of the existing reactionary and anti-people state intact 
and change only the managers of this state. Thus this state would remain in the 
service of the world imperialist system’s existing network of economic and 
political relations. 
Yazdi makes the point this way: "Mr Khomeini advised Carter that those 
representatives of the U.S. in Iran who have connections with the Army should 
prevent the killing of the people." He also confirms, "Huizer's trip to Iran 
was not to force the Army to stage a coup. Instead, he had gone to make sure 
that the military men would not do anything that would damage the reputation of 
the Army among the people. The Americans believed if the Army could keep its 
strength intact and cooperate with the revolution, then after the victory of 
the revolution, when the fervour of the people diminished, the Army could 
easily claim its share as part of the revolution."
This interview also divulges that in view of the upcoming Guadeloupe summit, a 
representative of the French government asked Khomeini to give a report on the 
situation of Iran reflecting the views of Khomeini and the people around him. 
Khomeini immediately agreed. The report was provided by Sadegh Ghotbzadeh (one 
of the three main people managing Khomeini's political affairs while he was 
staying in Paris, along with Yazdi and Abdul Hassan Bani Sadr. (Bani Sadr 
became the first president of the Islamic Republic after the revolution, before 
being ousted in 1981. In September 1982, Ghotbzadeh was accused of plotting a 
coup against Khomeini and executed.) As Yazdi says, this report had an 
important impact on the results of the Guadeloupe summit. However its contents 
have never been revealed and it seems to have been destroyed.
Contacts and channels between the ayatollahs and the U.S. 
Yazdi also confirms that the contacts that he, Ghotbzadeh and Bani Sadr 
organised with the help of the French government were not the only channel in 
the relations between Khomeini and the U.S. As he says, on the basis of his own 
personal role, "At that time, the leader of the revolution had three channels 
of contacts with the U.S. One was in France. Documents about this relationship 
have been published. Another channel was between the Revolutionary Council, 
through Mehdi Bazargan, Ayatollah Mousavi Ardabili and Dr Sehabi, with [William 
H.] Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador to Iran. And the third channel was the direct 
contact and negotiations between Dr [Ayatollah] Beheshti and Sullivan. Stemple 
[John D. Stemple, CIA analyst and political officer at the U.S. embassy in Iran 
at the time], in his book, referred to both channels in Tehran, but he has not 
written anything about the negotiations between Dr Beheshti and Sullivan."
Ayatollah Beheshti was one of the most reactionary and vicious of Khomeini's 
aides and very influential within leadership circles. He was one of the 
architects of the massacre of revolutionaries and communists that started on 20 
June 1981. He was killed by a bomb planted in the Parliament a month later. 
Rumours about his direct connection with the U.S. were going around from the 
very beginning days of the revolution. Yazdi confirms and details the contacts 
between Beheshti and U.S. authorities, both with the American embassy in Iran 
and when he travelled to the U.S. Yazdi calls this channel the "missing key" to 
a clearer picture of the negotiations between the Khomeini circles and the U.S. 
Even Yazdi, who was among Khomeini's key political advisers at that time, was 
left out of the loop about it. So it seems to have been the most secret and 
important channel of all. 
Yazdi says, "Dr Beheshti came to the U.S. a few months before I left the U.S. 
for Najaf [in Iraq, where Khomeini was headquartered before going to France] 
and then Paris. He spent some time with me in Houston, then he went to 
Washington “ and New York “ for a month. He did not appear in public at any 
meeting of Iranians. And we don't know what he was doing during that month when 
he was in Washington and New York. In my opinion, this is important. While the 
Revolutionary Council was negotiating with Sullivan, Dr Beheshti simultaneously 
and separately was negotiating with him; this needs to be further investigated. 
For example, it is not clear whether or not Huizer met with him when the 
general came to Iran."
In this interview Yazdi says that when the students occupied the American 
embassy, they got hold of documents concerning Beheshti's negotiations with 
Sullivan, but Khomeini prevented them from making them public. His excuse was 
that "Beheshti is a member of the Revolutionary Council, so it is not necessary 
to publish them." As the source for this, Yazdi cites Abbas Abdi, a leader of 
the student occupation, now a journalist and one of the main promoters of the 
self-styled reformist former President Khatami. 
The clerics as an alternative for U.S. strategists
 The interviewer asks Yazdi, "Then, according to the Brzezinski plan (the 
formation of a coalition between the Army and the mullahs), the U.S. was 
looking at the clerics as an alternative? He answers, "Yes, as a force that 
after the Shah could fill the political vacuum and prevent the communists from 
gaining political power. Let me put it this way: The U.S. saw the rule of the 
clergy together with the cooperation of the Army as necessary in order to repel 
the danger of communism." 
This confirms not only that the Western powers, particularly the U.S., 
initially approved of the coming to power of the mullahs, but also that they 
engineered the coalition between the clergy and the Army.  
This is the real story behind the power of reactionary fundamentalist forces 
who like to claim to be "anti-imperialist" “forces that in their most radical 
era were busily creating various channels behind the scenes to cut deals with 
the imperialists. At the same time that they were raising empty 
anti-imperialist slogans to throw dust in the eyes of the people, they also 
stifled the revolution against the U.S. domination of Iran and committed mass 
murder of revolutionaries. 
These exposures from the mouth of one of Khomeini's closest collaborators 
reveal only a small part of the great compromise between the clergy and the 
imperialists. During the first years after the clerics came to power, they were 
to continue making secret deals with the U.S., such as the three-way 
arrangement between the U.S, Israel and the Islamic Republic in which Iran 
bought American weapons from Israel in order to finance President Ronald 
Reagan’s covert death squads in Central America (known as the "Iran-Contra" 
Why, despite so much experience and evidence, are some people among those who 
want to oppose imperialism still confused about the nature of these Islamic 
forces? Why do they assess Islamic fundamentalists as anti-imperialist, and 
beyond that, call on the masses and revolutionary and progressive organisations 
to unite with these forces? Such confusion is particularly common within left 
trends in the U.S. and European countries.  
Most of the Islamic movements fighting the cultural influence of the West 
cannot envisage or carry out a political programme much different than that of 
the Islamic Republic of Iran. They could not and do not even seek to go beyond 
what has been implemented in Iran in the last three decades. Therefore any 
support for or legitimising of these so-called anti-Western movements will 
result, in the final analysis, in support for this kind of political programme
Yazdi himself, who took part in the great robbery, the stealing of the 
revolution, sums up that his alliance with Khomeini and the clergies was a 
mistake. He says, "Now that I look at the past, my first criticism is that we 
[all of those actively involved in the revolution] were united around what we 
did not want. From left intellectuals to traditional Moslems, all had one aim: 
the fall of the Shah. All longed to see the fall of the Shah. We struggled for 
years against his despotism. That’s why we did not see what we should have 
seen. Therefore I advise the younger generation to be more careful, first 
define what they want and agree on that, not on what they don't want."
Shouldn't the people and the revolutionaries sum up the lessons of this stolen 
revolution, beyond what even Yazdi doing?

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