Iran Politics Club      
Website For Thinking Iranians
Back to index  

Memoirs: Reza Shah vs. Mohammad Reza Shah
Observed by an Ex Imperial Air Force Officer - Part 2

Part 1, 2, 3

Memoirs: Reza Shah vs. Mohammad Reza Shah
Observed by an Ex Imperial Air Force Officer
Part 2

Maziar Aptin
September 29, 2011

Shaban Jafari leading the pro monarchy gangs at 28 Mordad Coup, Tehran, Iran 1953

For the younger generations who do not know who Shaban Jafari is:

Shaban Jafari and his Role in Coup d’état of 28 Mordad 1953

Large cities in Iran, especially Tehran had its own version of Mafia but in comparison to Italian or American mafias, the Iranian mafias were small-time thugs, elementary school-dropouts making their money by intimidating local small businesses and collecting “protection money”. They are called “Jahel”, an Arabic word for ignorant, but among Jahels the term carries a tremendous prestige and respect in the neighborhood which usually were in the ghettos.  Because carrying guns was illegal in Iran, these thugs used to carry pocket-knifes and in order not to get into trouble with the law, they usually used to insert the knife somewhere in their rival thugs’ body which would not be fatal. But Shaban from early age was very careless in using his knife, sometimes inflecting dangerous wound and gradually got the nickname of “Bimokh”, meaning brainless.

General Zahedi (Coup Leader) and Ardeshir Zahedi (his son), 1953 Iranian Coup

Pro Monarchy Thugs with clubs in streets of Iran during the 1953 Coup

Tanks in the streets of Tehran 1953 Coup

Shahollah and Hezbollah
Monarchists and Shiite Ayatollahs go hand in hand
Monarchists: Ayatollah Kashani (standing) and Shaban Jafari (Sitting), along with a band of Monarchists and Clerics.

Shaban Jafari Bimokh (Brainless Shaban) leading his gang of Monarchists, 1953 Iranian Coup
L to R: Naser Hassan Khani AKA Jigaraki (Liver Kaboby), Abbas Kavusi Lat O Put (Hooligan Abbas), Dashi Gazani (Brother Gazani), Asqar Khaldar (Tatooed Asqar) rising Shah’s poster on the Land Rover.

Shaban Jafari and his Nowche Gang’s traditional Persian Martial Arts Show in Stadium, Tehran

Coup Makers Cartoon
All the Shah’s Men: Good Soldiers
L to R: Ardeshir Zahedi, Sharif Emami, Shaban Jafari, General Azhari, General Oveisi

The norm among thugs was that the young thug would start as a “Nowcheh” (hit man) of an older thug. In 1953 Shaban Bimokh was in his late 40s/early 50s and had several dozens Nowcheh working for him. When Kim Roosevelt staged his second coup, one of the groups that he recruited was the Jahels and Shaban Jafari was the most reputable Jahel. The CIA handed out tens of thousands of 5-Tooman bills to the Jahels to distribute among their Nowches and the nowches would in turn go into the ghettos and handout one 5-tooman bill to whomever would come to the rally demonstrating in favor of the Shah who was in Baghdad at that time. After the coup succeeded, Shaban Jafari (Bimokh) was invited to Darbar and Shah personally decorated Shaban with medal and called him a hero. From then on the Bimokh became a prominent member of Shah’s propaganda machine with high salary. Here in America every year Shaban Bimokh in his death anniversary is being eulogized in Pahlavi sponsored Persian magazines as an Iranian patriot and hero. 

Actors Morteza Aghili and Homayoun portray 2 Jahels

Older Shaban Jafari in Exile

Shah with General Fazlollah Zahedi (Coup Leader) AKA Taj-Bakhsh (Crown Granter)
Shah granted General Zahedi the title of Taj-Bakhsh (Crown Granter) because as the head of the 1953 coup, he saved Shah’s crown and monarchy.


After the coup d’état, the congress of the US approved $ 45 million grant for economic recovery but most of that money went to Shah and his close circle. From 1953 onward Shah, who now hated people of Iran for siding with Mossadeq, started enriching himself in every which-way possible including forcing businesses, large and small, to issue him 25% of their business for more favorable laws in return which would give an unearned advantage to those businesses such as restricting the import of products that those businesses were selling. Even small start-up businesses could not get business license without signing the preprinted “25 %” form. This type of actions resulted in limiting competition, monopoly, higher prices, and lower quality of goods which created shortage of consumer goods in the nation. It also killed the possibility of the businesses entering into the international market due to the low quality and high cost of production.
In brief, Mohammad Reza Shah was an uneducated womanizer and an irresponsible person with bellow average intelligence who inherited the leadership of a great nation, undeserved, that was put for him on a silver platter.

Troops occupy Iran’s Majlis (Parliament), 1953 Coup

Mossadeq on military trial in Iran 1953

In taking care of the business of the country, he was worse than Fathali Shah and other Qajars with absolute disinterest to the welfare of the country, even worse than present day mullahs. For example; until 1969 that I left Iran the road from Tehran to Qazvin, a major highway, was the same unpaved road that his father had built prior to WWII without any income from oil that the British were stealing from us. In that road, now that the traffic got much heavier, every year there were hundreds of fatalities due to the bad road conditions. Or in state of Mazandaran, were I came from; there was not even one single higher educational institution, not even a single two-year junior college. Today, under IRI there are more than two dozen, including a medical school with PhD program. I could go on and on, it just makes me puke.

L to R: General Neshat (head of Immortals), Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shaban Jafari, Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda, Court Minister Asadollah Alam at Military Academy, Tehran

Capitulation Law

When I heard the news that 50,000 plus American advisers in Iran received the right for political immunity, my mind was going to blow away. I used to work with these advisers on daily basis and made friends and they used to at least pretend to, that we were all equals. But the following day of the disastrous news, even though their attitude did not change, I was feeling inferior.  I felt like a Chinaman of pre WWII.

 Reza Shah went through such a difficulties abolishing “Capitulation Law” of Qajar era that we were all so proud of. This bozo brought the “Capitulation Law” back so easily for no reason what so ever. The man who titled himself “The Shadow of God” could not say no to the Americans or to the British.

For those readers who do not know what “Capitulation Law” is; if a citizen of certain foreign nation would commit a crime in Iran, the Iranian judiciary system would not have any jurisdiction in prosecuting and trying the accused. The Iranian police had to hand the criminal over to the authority of the related country to be handled by that country however they see it fit and Iran had no say about the outcome from that point on.

This system was very common in pre WWII in all countries occupied by colonial powers including China and India, the two most populous countries in the world. Even though Iran was not a colony but in this regard it fell into that status.

Giving Away Bahrain

Then one day I was sitting in my office came the news that Majlis has passed a law and Shah has signed giving away Bahrain; just like that. At the time there were a few visiting officers in my office. We all looked at each other in disbelief but no one could express any opinion or even show any disgusting gesture that we all felt. We military personnel were being watched much more closely and carefully by both SAVAK and the military secret service (Rokne 2). You could not trust even your close friend.

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, an intellectual arrogant pose for the 1950s

Bahrain was part of Iran as far back as Cyrus the Greta’s reign. Sometime after the 7th century Arab invasion, that Iran was under occupation, the Portuguese conquered the Island until Shah Abbas, whit only 1/16 the Iranian blood in him, took it back by force. Mohammad Reza with 100% Iranian blood in him gave it away just because the British asked him to; who wants Bahrain! It is all surrounded by sand anyway; remembering the infamous phrase by Fathali Shah who gave away part of Caspian Sea to Catherine of Russia, just to please the woman, and said “who needs that salty water anyway, you can’t drink it”! Fathali Shah was famous for being a womanizer like Mohammad Reza Shah was.

Decision Makers

Another example of his incompetency: In the Armed Forces, promotion of the military personnel is the most significant issue and is in full discretion of the Commander in Chief. Having authority in promoting an officer means power which the law had granted to the Shah and Shah only. But from mid. 1960s Shah lost that privilege to two different groups.

1. The mullahs:

From about mid. 1960s every year a few months before the first day of the month of “Mehr”, the day of promotion, the Deputy Commander of the Air Force used to summon all non-Muslim officers whose promotion was due for that year and used to tell them, with apology of course; what I am about to tell you has nothing to do with the Air Force. It is an order from above that all non-Muslim officers, due for promotion, must correct their personnel profile by putting “Muslim, Shiia Asna Ashari” in the religion box. Otherwise their promotion will be postponed until such correction is made and promotion will be given from the day that the said correction is made. In other word, if anyone makes the correction one or two months after the first day of Mehr, he will lose one or two months seniority which is very important in the Armed Forces. In 1344 (1965) I was one of those Officers (Please read “The author’s note” at the end of this memoir). I responded to General Ezazi, a true gentleman, who knew me well and I used to have great deal of respect for him; I Have been taught by my parents not to ever lie, then in the Military academy my commanding officer Colonel Minbashian used to say “lying is for the weak and cowards, an officer must be brave and strong, all liars will be immediately expelled.” I told the General that my promotion should be based on my performance and nothing else. If I do not receive my promotion on the first day of Mehr, I will immediately resign. I did receive my promotion on time but that policy continued to be practiced.   

2. The Americans:

Promotion of key personnel especially in higher level such as from full colonel to brigadier general had to clear the “American Advisory Desk”, even though Shah himself always was directly involved in promoting Brigadier Generals and up. One case that I personally had the knowledge of was the promotion of “Colonel Nader Jahanbani”.  He was my superior officer and a close friend. He was son of three stars General Jahanbani who during Reza Shah was the Military Attaché of Iran to Soviet Union. General Jahanbani, while in USSR had married a Russian lady from non-communist family and soon after, Nader was born. While his father still Military Attaché, Nader completed his education in Russia and also received his pilot license. When his father’s term of duty was over in USSR the whole family returned back to Iran. At that time Iranian Air Force was in its infancy and in need of good pilots. Nader Jahanbani was accepted in Iranian Air Force as an instructor pilot with rank of First Lieutenant. Nader was not just a top pilot in the Iranian Air Force but a great operational commander. Make the story short years later when Nader reached the rank of full colonel and eligible for promotion to brigadier general, his promotion was denied for unknown reasons. Following year, those who were one year his junior and were not as qualified as he was, got the promotion but Colonel Jahanbani‘s was denied again. This trend continued for several years. Most of his students and officers that used to work under his command and were his protégé got promoted and jumped ahead of him. He even was promoted to the Commander of Second Air-Force Base in Dezful, (a fighter jet operational Base) but no promotion in rank. The reason was an unspoken known fact which he knew it and we all knew it but no one could dare to say a word, including Colonel Jahanbani himself. He used to sit with me for hours and hours complaining but never mentioned who is holding him back. Finally one day I told him; you must know that it is the Americans! He left my comment unanswered. Nader was well connected inside and outside the Air Force. He was a close friend of powerful General Khatami (Commander of the Air Force). He was also related to the royal family through marriage, as was General Khatami. But none of those apparently could help him. Until 1969 that I left Iran, he was still a Full Colonel. Eventually later-on he passed that obstacle and became a general but never in a key position. For example at the time of 1979 revolution, Rabii, five years junior to him and his ex student and not even close to Jahanbani’s qualification was a four star General and Commander of the Air Force while Jahanbani was a three star general and subordinate of Rabii. Unfortunately General Jahanbani, an honest, hard working, and patriotic superb officer was executed by the revengeful mullahs out of their ignorance to the facts that General Jahanbani was not a politician nor he was a major decision maker within the Air Force who also was a victim of American prejudices against him. Why Americans did not like him was because Nader’s mother was Russian and Americans were terrified by them, even though Nader’s mother, not just was not connected to anyone in the communist Party but she was a descendant of White Russian Aristocrats.

Now on to the next chapter at the next page.

Back to History Index
Back to Features Index

Support IPC
IPC operating since March 30, 2000
Duplication of contents are allowed, only by naming the source & link to IPC
All rights are protected & reserved by Iran Politics Club © 2000 IPC