142. Telegram 4816 From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State 1 2

Subj:

  • Subversive Infiltrations Into Iran

Ref:

  • (A) Tehran 671: (B) Tehran 4306
1.
As anticipated in connection approach of UK withdrawal from Gulf and preparations for 25th centenary (reftels), subversive groups trained and infiltrated from without continue to be targeted on Iran.
2.
Most recent incident, announced by GOI August 27, was attempt to infiltrate a group of Iranian-born saboteurs recruited and trained in Iraq from among long-term emigres from Iranian Baluchistan resident in Iraq. Announcement said 14 of group surrendered to Iranian authorities before launching any actions against GOI, while four others captured in Baluchistan as result security alertness and cooperation of Baluchistan population.
3.
Another incident, so far unpublicized but widely known in Tehran circles, was effort by armed men to enter residence of NIOC Chairman Eqbal August 19. Though details of story vary, it appears one man got into Eqbal garden, was discovered by guard and escaped in confederate’s car after fire exhcange in which guard reportedly killed or badly injured.
4.
Third incident occured August 19 when flower pot containing small bomb placed at base of statue in Tehran Sqaure [Page 2] (mokhberoddowleh) prior to ceremony commemorating 28 Mordad. (1953 popular uprising demanding Shah’s return to power). Though bomb not discovered in advance, flower pot (which was “inappropriately” placed where crowd was to file by) was fortunately removed to nearby police kiosk before ceremony: when bomb exploded inside kiosk, four police officers and number of spectators injured.
5.
Fourth incident involved a separate effort of small subversive group to infiltrate into Iran from Iraq (Gomsar, near Ilam) in mid-August. GOI announced that group had been discovered by Iranian frontier guards and in ensuing fight two members or group were killed and three others captured.
6.
There is also report (as yet unverified) that unsuccessful attempt was made to assassinate General Mohhamad Hosseing Zargham of IIGF (Commander Second Corps) in Tehran on August 24. General reported to have escaped uninjured, though aide said to be wounded.
7.
Comment: Conjuncture of British withdrawal from Gulf by end of 1971 with 2,500 centenary in October, where eyes of world will be focused on Iran, has obviously presented to external forces trying to soften up Iran, an almost irresistable temptation to try to create an impression of instability and disorder in this basically strong and stable country.
MacArthur
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 IRAN. Confidential. The lavish 2500th celebrations, held October 1971 at Persepolis, commemorated the anniversary of Cyrus the Great’s founding of the Achaemenian Empire. On November 19, David Abshire replied to a letter of concern, forwarded by Senator Lloyd Bentsen, that the Shah had pre-emptively rounded up 39 dissidents on August 23, and sentenced most to death. Abshire wrote that “The Iranian government has acted energetically to round up the terrorist groups, as would any government in similar circumstances. In our opinion these dissident elements in Iran … are in no way representative of the views of the great majority of the Iranians, who support the Shah and his government.” (NEA/IRN, Office of Iran Affairs, Lot File 75D351, Box 6, POL 23, Internal Security, Counter Insurgency, Iran 1971.) On December 21, the Embassy expressed the view that a campaign against the death sentences was communist-organized. (Donald Toussaint to Jack Miklos, NEA/ARN, Office of Iran Affairs, Lot File 75D365, Box 7, POL 29, Political Prisoners, Iran 1972.)
  2. Ambassador MacArthur reported that the upcoming UK withdrawal from the Gulf and the Iranian 25th Centenary celebrations had inspired subversive groups trained and infiltrated from outside to launch small-scale attacks in Iran.