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SAVAK
SAVAK
(Persian: ساواک‬‎, short for سازمان اطلاعات و امنیت کشور‬ Sāzemān-e Ettelā'āt va Amniyat-e Keshvar, literally "Organization of National Intelligence and Security") was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service of Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by Iran's Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli MOSSAD.[1] SAVAK
SAVAK
operated from 1957 until the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
of 1979, when the prime minister Shapour Bakhtiar ordered its dissolution during the outbreak of Iranian Revolution. SAVAK
SAVAK
has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979 because of its practice of torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime.[2][3] At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks according to one source,[4] although Gholam Reza Afkhami estimates SAVAK
SAVAK
staffing at between 4,000 and 6,000.[5]

Contents

1 History

1.1 1957–1970 1.2 Siahkal attack and after

2 Operations 3 Victims 4 Fardoust and security and intelligence after the revolution 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] 1957–1970[edit] After removing Mohammad Mosaddeq, who was originally focused on nationalizing Iran's oil industry but also set out to weaken the Shah, from power on August 19, 1953, in a coup, the monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah, established an intelligence service with police powers. The Shah's goal was[6] to strengthen his regime by placing political opponents under surveillance and repressing dissident movements. According to Encyclopædia Iranica:

A U.S. Army colonel working for the CIA
CIA
was sent to Persia in September 1953 to work with General
General
Teymur Bakhtiar, who was appointed military governor of Tehran
Tehran
in December 1953 and immediately began to assemble the nucleus of a new intelligence organization. The U.S. Army colonel worked closely with Bakhtīār and his subordinates, commanding the new intelligence organization and training its members in basic intelligence techniques, such as surveillance and interrogation methods, the use of intelligence networks, and organizational security. This organization was the first modern, effective intelligence service to operate in Persia. Its main achievement occurred in September 1954, when it discovered and destroyed a large communist Tudeh Party network that had been established in the Persian armed forces[7][8]

In March 1955, the Army colonel was "replaced with a more permanent team of five career CIA
CIA
officers, including specialists in covert operations, intelligence analysis, and counterintelligence, including Major General
General
Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf
Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf
who "trained virtually all of the first generation of SAVAK
SAVAK
personnel." In 1956, this agency was reorganized and given the name Sazeman-e Ettela'at va Amniyat-e Keshvar (SAVAK).[8] These in turn were replaced by SAVAK's own instructors in 1965.[9][10] SAVAK
SAVAK
had the power to censor the media, screen applicants for government jobs, and "according to reliable Western source,[11] use all means necessary, including torture, to hunt down dissidents".[12] After 1963, the Shah expanded his security organizations, including SAVAK, which grew to over 5,300 full-time agents and a large but unknown number of part-time informers.[12] In 1961 the Iranian authorities dismissed the agency's first director, General
General
Teymur Bakhtiar[13]and he later became a political dissident. In 1970, SAVAK
SAVAK
agents assassinated him, disguising the deed as an accident. General
General
Hassan Pakravan, director of SAVAK
SAVAK
from 1961 to 1966,[13] had an almost benevolent reputation, for example dining on a weekly basis with the Ayatollah Khomeini
Ayatollah Khomeini
while Khomeini was under house arrest, and later intervened to prevent Khomeini's execution on the grounds that it would "anger the common people of Iran".[14] After the Iranian Revolution, however, Pakravan was among the first of the Shah's officials to be executed by the Khomeini regime. Pakravan was replaced in 1966 by General
General
Nematollah Nassiri, a close associate of the Shah, and the service was reorganized and became increasingly active in the face of rising Shia
Shia
and communist militancy and political unrest. Siahkal attack and after[edit] A turning point in SAVAK's reputation for ruthless brutality was reportedly an attack on a gendarmerie post in the Caspian village of Siahkal by a small band of armed Marxists
Marxists
in February 1971, although it is also reported to have tortured to death a Shia
Shia
cleric, Ayatollah Muhammad Reza Sa'idi, in 1970.[15][16] According to Iranian political historian Ervand Abrahamian, after this attack SAVAK
SAVAK
interrogators were sent abroad for "scientific training to prevent unwanted deaths from 'brute force.' Brute force was supplemented with the bastinado; sleep deprivation; extensive solitary confinement; glaring searchlights; standing in one place for hours on end; nail extractions; snakes (favored for use with women); electrical shocks with cattle prods, often into the rectum; cigarette burns; sitting on hot grills; acid dripped into nostrils; near-drownings; mock executions; and an electric chair with a large metal mask to muffle screams while amplifying them for the victim. This latter contraption was dubbed the Apollo—an allusion to the American space capsules. Prisoners were also humiliated by being raped, urinated on, and forced to stand naked.[17] Despite the new 'scientific' methods, the torture of choice remained the traditional bastinado used to beat soles of the feet. The "primary goal" of those using the bastinados "was to locate arms caches, safe houses and accomplices ..."[18] Abrahamian estimates that SAVAK
SAVAK
(and other police and military) killed 368 guerrillas including the leadership of the major urban guerrilla organizations (Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas, People's Mujahedin of Iran) such as Hamid Ashraf between 1971–1977 and executed up to 100 political prisoners between 1971 and 1979 – the most violent era of the SAVAK's existence.[19]

One well known writer was arrested, tortured for months, and finally placed before television cameras to 'confess' that his works paid too much attention to social problems and not enough to the great achievements of the White Revolution. By the end of 1975, twenty-two prominent poets, novelist, professors, theater directors, and film makers were in jail for criticizing the regime. And many others had been physically attacked for refusing to cooperate with the authorities.[20]

By 1976, this repression was softened considerably thanks to publicity and scrutiny by "numerous international organizations and foreign newspapers." In 1976, Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
was elected President of the United States and he "raised the issue of human rights in Iran as well as in the Soviet Union. Overnight prison conditions changed. Inmates dubbed this the dawn of "jimmykrasy".[21] Operations[edit] During the height of its power, SAVAK
SAVAK
had virtually unlimited powers. It operated its own detention centers, such as Evin Prison. In addition to domestic security, the service's tasks extended to the surveillance of Iranians abroad, notably in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, and especially students on government stipends. The agency also closely collaborated with the CIA
CIA
by sending their agents to an air force base in New York to share and discuss interrogation tactics.[22] Teymur Bakhtiar
Teymur Bakhtiar
was assassinated by SAVAK
SAVAK
agents in 1970, and Mansur Rafizadeh, SAVAK's United States
United States
director during the 1970s, reported that General
General
Nassiri's phone was tapped. Mansur Rafizadeh later wrote of his life as a SAVAK
SAVAK
man and detailed the human rights violations of the Shah in his book Witness: From the Shah to the Secret Arms Deal: An Insider's Account of U.S. Involvement in Iran. Mansur Rafizadeh was suspected to have been a double agent also working for the CIA. According to Polish author Ryszard Kapuściński, SAVAK
SAVAK
was responsible for

Censorship of press, books and films.[23] Interrogation and often torture of prisoners Surveillance of political opponents.

SAVAK
SAVAK
Directors

Name First year of operation Last year of operation

Teymur Bakhtiar 1957 1961

Hassan Pakravan 1961 1965

Nematollah Nassiri 1965 1978

Nasser Moghadam 1978 1979

Victims[edit] Writing at the time of the Shah's overthrow, Time magazine described SAVAK
SAVAK
as having "long been Iran's most hated and feared institution" which had "tortured and murdered thousands of the Shah's opponents."[24] The Federation of American Scientists
Federation of American Scientists
also found it guilty of "the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners" and symbolizing "the Shah's rule from 1963–79." The FAS list of SAVAK
SAVAK
torture methods included "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."[25][26] Fardoust and security and intelligence after the revolution[edit] Further information: Human rights
Human rights
in Iran SAVAK
SAVAK
was closed down shortly before the overthrow of the monarchy and the coming to power of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Ruhollah Khomeini
in the February 1979 Iranian Revolution. Following the departure of the Shah in January 1979, SAVAK's 3,000+ central staff and its agents were targeted for reprisals; However, it is believed that Khomeini may have changed his mind and may have retained them into the new SAVAMA.[27] Hossein Fardoust, a former classmate of the Shah, was a deputy director of SAVAK
SAVAK
until he was appointed head of the Imperial Inspectorate, also known as the Special
Special
Intelligence Bureau, to watch over high-level government officials, including SAVAK
SAVAK
directors. Fardoust later switched sides during the revolution and managed to salvage the bulk of the SAVAK
SAVAK
organization.[28] According to author Charles Kurzman, SAVAK
SAVAK
was never dismantled but rather changed its name and leadership and continued on with the same codes of operation, and a relatively unchanged "staff." [3][29] SAVAK
SAVAK
was replaced by the "much larger"[30] SAVAMA, Sazman-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Melli-e Iran, also known as the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Iran.[31] After the victory of the Iranian revolution, a museum was opened in the former Towhid Prison in central Tehran
Tehran
called "Ebrat". The museum displays and exhibits the documented atrocities of SAVAK. See also[edit]

Iran portal

Second Bureau of Imperial Iranian Army Human rights
Human rights
in Iran Iranian Revolution Ministry of Intelligence
Ministry of Intelligence
and National Security of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

References[edit]

^ Iran, Library of Congress Country Studies (pp 276). Retrieved August 12, 2015. ^ Federation of American Scientists
Federation of American Scientists
"Ministry of Security SAVAK" Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b Intelligence (international relations) : Iran. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 26, 2008. ^ Dilip Hiro, Iran under the ayatollahs (1987), p. 96. ^ Gholam Reza Afkhami, Life and Times of the Shah (University of California Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-520-25328-5), p. 386. ^ Nikki R. Keddie
Nikki R. Keddie
and Yann Richard, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (Yale University Press, 2006), p. 134. ^ M. J. Gasiorowski, eds., Neither East Nor West. Iran, the United States, and the Soviet Union, New Haven, 1990, pp. 148–51 ^ a b Central Intelligence Agencyin Persia Archived 2009-06-22 at the Wayback Machine. Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 26 July 2008. ^ N. R. Keddie and M. J. Gasiorowski, eds., Neither East Nor West: Iran, the United States, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(New Haven, 1990), pp. 154–55; personal interviews. ^ Profile: Norman Schwarzkopf Sr. History Commons ^ New York Times, 21 September 1972. ^ a b Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, p.437 ^ a b "National security". Pars Times. Retrieved 24 August 2013.  ^ Harvard Iranian Oral History Project Transcript of interview with Fatemeh Pakravan conducted by Habib Ladjevardi 3 March 1983. ^ Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi'i Islam (Yale University Press, 1985), p. 255. ^ Bill, James A., Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations(Yale University Press, 1989), p. 181–182 ^ Ervand Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions (University of California Press, 1999), p. 106. ^ Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions, p. 106. ^ Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions, pp. 103, 169. ^ Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, pp. 442–43. ^ Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions, p. 119. ^ Fisk. Great War for Civilisation, p. 112. ^ Kapuściński, Ryszard, Shah of Shahs, pp. 46, 50, 76 ^ SAVAK: "Like the CIA". Feb. 19, 1979. ^ Ministry of Security SAVAK
SAVAK
Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., Federation of American Scientists. ^ Tragert, Joseph (2003). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Iran. Alpha. p. 101. ISBN 978-1592571413.  ^ [1] ^ Robert Dreyfuss, Hostage to Khomeini 1981 and The Devils Game: How the United States
United States
Unleashed Fundamentalist Islam, 2004 ^ Charles Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution (Harvard University Press), p? ^ Abrahamian, History of Modern Iran, (2008), p.176 ^ The ministry is also referred to as VEVAK, Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar, though Iranians and the Iranian press never employ this term, using instead the official Ministry title.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to SAVAK.

Ministry of Intelligence
Ministry of Intelligence
and Security VEVAK – Iran Intelligence Agencies at website of Federation of American Scientists

v t e

SAVAK

Directors

Teymur Bakhtiar
Teymur Bakhtiar
(1957−61) Hassan Pakravan
Hassan Pakravan
(1961−65) Nematollah Nassiri (1965−78) Nasser Moghadam (1978−79)

Deputies of director

Hassan Alavikia
Hassan Alavikia
( −1962) Hossein Fardoust
Hossein Fardoust
(1962−73) Ali Mo'tazed (1973−78) Nasser Moghadam (1978) Parviz Sabeti
Parviz Sabeti
(1978)

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