- Letter to the President from Iran Free Press
Nasser G. Afshar, Editor of the Iran Free Press, wrote the President on April 7 criticizing him for planning to visit Iran after the trip to Moscow in late May. Afshar strongly dislikes the Shah whose leadership, Afshar claims, represents the most “corrupt and barbaric rule” of this century.
Afshar’s Iran Free Press (believed by State to be his own one-man operation) is dedicated to criticism of the Shah. Last year the Press made similar representations against Mrs. Nixon’s participation in the US committee honoring Iran’s 2500th anniversary. We—and the Shah—consider this group offensive.
Evidently, Afshar’s original letter was sent to State for direct reply. [State shares our view that no reply—or at a minimum, simple acknowledgement—is the general guidance for handling the IFP.] Afshar subsequently phoned Mr. Ziegler’s office to find out whether he would be getting a reply; he followed up by sending along a copy of his April 7 letter under cover of a note to one of Mr. Ziegler’s secretaries. That exchange is attached. In a further call from Afshar, the latter was informed his mail was received and would be forwarded to appropriate persons. We consider action on the attached, therefore, ended since we do not contemplate any further reply from here.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations, Box 1282, Iran 1/1/72–5/31/72. No classification marking. In 1971, Congressman Graham Purcell inserted into the Congressional Record letters from Afshar’s “Free Iran” movement, condemning the Shah’s reign. In response, on August 18, 1971, Ambassador MacArthur wrote to Purcell, denouncing the character and activities of the organization and its chairman, on the basis of FBI information. The Department official assigned to deliver the letter to Purcell was advised to “reminisce about a number of other Congressmen who had taken up the anti-Shah banner in the 1960’s, much to their subsequent embarrassment.” On October 21, 1971, Purcell apologized for his action, agreeing that “Free Iran” was unworthy of his support. All of this correspondence was passed to Court Minister ALAM for the Shah’s perusal on November 7, 1971. (NEA/IRN, Office of Iran Affairs, Lot File 75D351, Box 6, PS 7, Iran 1969–71, Assistance to Americans, Nasser Afshar 1971)↩
- Saunders summarized the correspondence received from a U.S.-based Iranian dissident, Nasser Afshar, who denounced the Shah’s rule.↩