120. Intelligence Information Cable1
TDFIR [cable number not declassified]
- March–[less than 1 line not declassified] 1975
- Increased Dissension in Iran as a Result of Corruption, Suppression, and Disillusionment
- [4½ lines not delcassified]
1. Dissent among civil servants in Iran has now reached an alarming degree, even though superficially everything appears normal on the surface. Students and labor groups have always been sources of discontent, but now this malaise has reached the civil servants. This dissidence has developed from a growing awareness of the extent of graft and corruption among high government officers, the signs of luxurious living by these officers as manifested by the increasingly large numbers of Mercedes cars, the lack of efficiency in government operations, and the dismay over the establishment of a new political party which will not satisfy the growing urge for greater democracy.2
2. [2½ lines not declassified] stated that the only way to stamp out graft and corruption in Iran would be to execute about 25 of the top government officials starting with Minister of Court Amir Assadollah Alam, about whom [less than 1 line not declassified] is very bitter. [less than 1 line not declassified] said that individual Iranian entrepreneurs are making exorbitant commissions, in one known case as much as U.S. $12 million on one transaction alone. He said the Iranian people will not tolerate such manipulations.
3. Because all forms of self-expression, such as an uncontrolled press, educational forums, and political discussion groups, have been banned or are under tight control, public discontent has no way to vent itself and appears to be building up. People are now talking about how [Page 345] the “gold rush” could be over within six months when the high price of oil set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could collapse, that Iran could then be deprived of its high foreign exchange earnings, and the country might again become economically retarded.
4. It now appears that Hoveyda will remain as Prime Minister for at least the next two years and will head the new Resurgence Party of the People of Iran (RPPI). He has maintained his close ties and support from SAVAK; he has bought off or repressed any political opponents who appear on the scene; he insures that every major political grouping is being provided with funds to their satisfaction, but his government is simply unable to fulfill the growing demands and expectations of the people.
5. The public’s high expectations for the new RPPI are being dashed. The sudden awareness of democracy and democratic principles is not being allowed to develop; there has been no increase in domestic production of goods and services—everything is being imported with the excess of foreign exchange earned from oil exports, so that the prosperity promised to everyone is being enjoyed by a few.
(Headquarter’s Comment: [less than 1 line not declassified] if the RPPI fails to attract the intellectuals, students and young technocrats whom the Shah hoped to attract, the Iranian Government will be further weakened. He believes that the first crucial step will be the selection of new people to fill top government and party positions, and for this to succeed there must be a “bridge” between the Shah and the key sectors of population from whom new persons must come. He sees Empress Farah as one element of that bridge because she has not been involved in power politics and is liked and respected by the people.)
6. Following the national elections in June 1975, it is anticipated that there will be several Cabinet changes. Among such changes will be the removal of Dr. Abdol-Hosein Samii as Minister of Science and Higher Education. Hoveyda has indicated he plans to appoint only those persons to the Cabinet whom he can personally control. Minister of Interior Jamshid Amuzegar appears to be gaining influence with the Shah, whereas less is now being heard of Minister of Economy Hushang Ansari.
7. [1½ lines not declassified] tuitions and other student fees are not the real cause for the continuing student demonstrations which have kept at least one university in Iran closed at any one time; the real reason is disaffection with the government. The quality of education is declining as a result of this disaffection and the constant student demonstrations. [4 lines not declassified] This feeling of insecurity is spreading among senior administrators in the government.[Page 346]
8. [less than 1 line not declassified] there is a growing seriousness to the problem of terrorism in Tehran. He said there are almost daily skirmishes with terrorist elements on the streets in terms of leaflet distribution and sniping at policemen, but that only the highly organized assassination teams’ infrequent successes are being reported to the Shah. [1½ lines not declassified] said he had information that as many as 200 persons were killed during various terrorist forays during the last year.
9. [less than 1 line not declassified] said that the new manifesto issued in March 1975 by exiled Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini attacking the RPPI3 is not only being distributed in Tehran but also among dissident Iranian students abroad. (Headquarters Comment: [1½ lines not declassified] the pamphlet warned that participation in the party will be considered a breach of religious principles. This pamphlet is being distributed in the Washington, D.C. area.)