Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time To Revisit `A People's History of Iran' Again: Part 6

(All the 2012 GOP and Democratic presidential candidates in the USA—except for Ron Paul—apparently support the U.S. government’s current policy of waging economic warfare and covert war against people in Iran and threatening people in Iran with an overt US/Israeli military attack in 2012. Yet most people in the United States know little about the history of people in Iran since foreign imperialist powers began undemocratically and illegally intervening in its internal political and economic affairs in the late 1800s. But here's part 6 of "A People's History of Iran," from a few years ago--bf).

In response to growing anti-British mass nationalist pressure in Iran during the 1930s, Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime agreed to annul one of its previously agreed to oil concessions to UK imperialism in Khuzistan on November 27, 1932. Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime then began to pursue a more nationalist policy; and some reforms were also introduced by Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime during the 1930s which Westernized Iranian society somewhat and provided public school educational opportunities for the children of Iran’s middle-class families.

Political repression of Iranian left intellectuals continued, however, during the 1930s by this regime. In April 1937, for example, Dr. Taghi Erani and 52 members of his Donya magazine discussion group were arrested by the Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime and charged with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Communist Act of 1931. At their subsequent November 1938 trial, Erani attacked the constitutionality of the regime’s Anti-Communist Act of 1931 as a violation of the right to freedom of expression. But all 53 defendants were convicted. Ten of the convicted Iranian left defendants were then sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.

The leader of the Donya journal circle, Erani, died in an Iranian prison, however, on February 4, 1940--apparently as a result of deliberate negligence by the Reza Shah Pahlavi regime’s prison hospital authorities. But in September 1941, the other imprisoned left intellectuals of the Donya circle were granted amnesty and released, after Reza Shah Pahlavi’s authoritarian regime--which was seen as too politically supportive of Nazi Germany--was overthrown by a joint military invasion of Iran by the foreign troops of the Soviet and UK governments. The released Donya journal circle prisoners then joined other Iranian leftists in establishing the Tudeh Party in October 1941.

One reason that Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime was pro-Nazi Germany in its politics in early 1941 was that between 1933 and 1941 Nazi Germany had helped this regime modernize and industrialize Iran and had become Iran’s largest trading partner. Between 1929 and 1941, for example, the number of Iranians who were urban workers rather than peasants jumped from 300,000 to 600,000; and the size of Iran’s middle-class and intelligentsia also increased.

But despite Reza Shah Pahlavi’s nationalism and his regime’s pro-Nazi, pro-German political orientation during the late 1930s, in 1933 his government added another 60 years to the term of the British-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company’s lucrative oil production concession. In 1935, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company’s name was also changed to the Anglo Iranian Oil Company when the name of the country was officially changed from “Persia” to “Iran” during that same year. (end of part 6)

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