Thursday, February 28, 2008
The quiet relationship between Israel and Iran
Elie Hobeika: He who sows to the Spirit, will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Our Lebanese heroes who gave their lives on the altars of the nation also taught us that he who has faith in the nation, in liberty, and in the rights of its citizens will defend them with absolute vigor and most honorable dedication, and will not fear any threats, threat of oppression, the loss of position or property, or the disappearance of "Thyself" in a Fiery Syrian/Israeli Car BOMB, with CIA's Blessing... aiding and abetting, covering-up, inventing disinformation to muddy the waters... etc.
The quiet relationship between Israel and Iran.
Syria's role in leaning on Hezbollah
WMR has learned of additional pressure being brought to bear by Syria's enigmatic military intelligence service, led by Syrian President Bashar al Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, on Lebanese Hezbollah.
Yesterday, WMR reported on Shawkat's role in eliminating Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh with a car bomb in Damascus. The role of Asef Shawkat's covert operatives has been evident since the January 24, 2002 car bombing in Beirut of Lebanese Member of Parliament, ex-Minister and Popular Christian political leader Mr. Elie Hobeika. The car bombings by Shawkat's operatives gave critical plausible deniability to the CIA and Mossad. Hobeika was, according to our intelligence sources, aware of the links between Shawqat, Iran, the United States, and Israel.
Lebanon has not been responsive to the Bush Administration. It has had to endure serial failures during a thirteen-years run of failed projects in Lebanon....since the advent of the cacophonies of Netanyahu , Clean Break, PNAC, JINSA and the Neocons...Mr. Elie Hobeika was MURDERED by the USA's CIA, in collaboration with MOSSAD and ASSEF Shawkat's goons, PRECISELY because ALL these plans were presented to him, packaged obviously in obfuscated ways... trying to "entice" him, "incentivize" him to join.... in this "Endeavor" and the New alliance of CIA/MOSSAD.... but Mr. Hobeika "saw through" their "presentations..." UTTER Failure, and an attempt to pull him into a "quagmire" of sorts.... in order to sink him into carrying their dirty hats.... one more time.... in an abominably unfair way... which is always their way.....That's why ELIE Hobeika refused all their attempts at pulling him back into their charades.... and their miserable plans of the 70s and 80s.... etc.
Among these were the murder of Rafik Hariri, the 2006 July War, the tempting 'forward reaching' NATO airbase at Kleiat, importing Salafists to fight Hezbollah, trying to organize a Northern Sunni army around Tripoli and Akkar to fight the Shia in the South, offering to fund a third Shia political party to confront Hezbollah and Amal, working to ignite a civil war, and since January 24th 2002, proven allegations of a 'green light' for political assassinations in an attempt to finger and use Syria.... as a willing partner and convenient cover for their dark plans, by way of Elliott Abrams, Assef Shawqat etc. and their Lebanese/Syrian Cohorts... The Club is nearly at its wits end and is becoming aggressive, according to many Staff Member at the US Senate Intelligence Committee.... and various Intelligence sources in Europe and the USA....
That knowledge, and the fact mentioned in earlier intelligence reports, that he adamantly refused offers, inducing him to join this covert US strategy , since the latter part of the 1990s, and because it is a given, for people "in the know", that had he been alive today, he would be able to decipher with great ease, all these covert links, was considered dangerous in some circles in Damascus, Jerusalem, and Washington... Hence, the Savage assassination of January 24th 2002, by Shawqat's goons....
WMR has also learned from our Middle East sources that the capture by the French Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) of a Hezbollah cell in France and the simultaneous rolling up of another Hezbollah cell in Morocco by Moroccan intelligence, came as a result of information provided directly by Shawkat. Apparently, Shawkat wanted to warn Hezbollah against retaliation for the Mughniyah assassination.
The ploy to send a warning to Hezbollah from Damascus had its limits. A French security and intelligence delegation from France is due in Beirut today to work out a quiet deal on the capture of the Hezbollah cell in France, and the Hezbollah cell in Morocco has not been charged with any crimes. However, it is clear that Hezbollah is being warned that its operations can be contained with the help of Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran.
As far as Iran's discrete ties to Israel are concerned, WMR has learned from Middle East sources that Iran's former top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, is a descendant of one of Tehran's wealthiest Jewish merchant families. Larijani remains a member of the Iranian National Security Council and is a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
These familial religious links and pasts are not lost on Israeli leaders. Israel's former President, Moshe Katsav, forced from office over sexual assault allegations from female staffers, is an ethnic Iranian. On September 25, 2006, WMR reported, "Moshe Katsav, an Iranian Yazdi Jew, is said to have an important direct link to former Iranian President Mohamed Khatami. One of Katsav's cousins studied with Khatami at Tehran University."
Such old religious ties are not merely limited to Iran. A top Saudi journalist told this editor that many people in Saudi Arabia are well aware that the present ruling Saud ruling family are descendants of a Jewish merchant family from Basra, in present-day Iraq. Their ancestor is Mordakhai bin Ibrahim bin Moshe, who changed his name to Markhan bin Ibrahim Musa. One of Markhan's sons was named Saud, an ancestor of the ruling Saud family. There have been and remain close and discrete links between Israeli and Saudi intelligence, as well as quiet financial and other commercial ties between the two nations.
The Shah's Lebanon Policy: The Role Of Savak....
Iranian-Lebanese relations during the reign of Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi can be viewed in
two distinct phases. The first phase, which lasted from the mid-1950s until the June War of 1967,
was shaped by Egyptian president Gamal Abd al-Nasser and the Shah's reaction to what he saw
as Nasser's brand of radical Arab nationalism. The Shah feared that instability caused by Nasser
would lead to regional inroads by the Soviets and local Communist parties. To address this
perceived threat, Iran aided and worked with the other conservative governments in the Middle
East. Iran also initiated political actions to influence regional states that were less committed
than itself. When Egypt's less than successful performance in the June War hampered
Nasserism's appeal, the Shah's perception of Nasser as a threat diminished. By the second phase,
from 1967 through 1978, a new concern for Iran had emerged: the training being given to Iranian
dissidents by Palestinian military organizations in Lebanon. This concern became acute after the
expulsion of PLO militants from Jordan after the 1970 civil war (also known as Black
September) and their establishment in southern Lebanon.
Iran's major instrument for the conduct of sensitive foreign policy was Sazeman-i Ettela'at Va
Amniyat-i Kishvar (SAVAK), the National Intelligence and Security Organization, which shortly
after its formation in 1957 staged several operations to influence political events in Lebanon.
Probably because of the inaccessibility of SAVAK sources, scholars have not been able to
examine thoroughly SAVAK's role in Iranian-Lebanese relations. By using heretofore untapped
sources to follow the career of Sayyid Musa Sadr, the man credited with giving Lebanon's Shia
population a sense of community, this article will attempt to fill in this historical blank spot. 1
The late 1950s were a time of great political unrest in the Middle East, and Lebanon was no
different from any of its neighbours. These events were of great concern to the Shah, and when
he met President Camille Chamoun in December 1957 the two leaders announced their intention
to 'oppose any foreign intervention in the domestic affairs of their countries'.2 A number of the
Middle East's other conservative governments also were concerned by regional stability and met
to discuss intelligence and security issues.3 Representatives from the intelligence services of Iran,
Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey attended these meetings. Israel later participated in these
meetings, but when it did the Jordanians refused to attend. 4
In May 1958 Chamoun had turned to Iran and Turkey for help in his struggle with his internal
opponents, some of whom were supported by the UAR or United Arab Republics, which had
been formed earlier that year.5 The Shah decided to aid Chamoun because he believed the
Lebanese crisis resulted from the threat of Nasserism and Arab nationalism. Iranian aid consisted
of the provision by SAVAK of small arms and ammunition to Chamoun and his allies.6 Arms
captured by Israel in the 1956 war with Egypt also were flown into Lebanon via Iran. This
operation was run by Ahmad Azima, a naval officer in SAVAK's foreign intelligence section.
Farid Shihab, head of Lebanese Intelligence, served as Chamoun' s intermediary, travelling
frequently to Tehran for coordination purposes. Chamoun also turned to the Arab League and the
United Nations for help. The Arab League failed to resolve the crisis and in July the UN
announced that its Observer Group (UNOGIL), the monitoring efforts of which had been
hampered seriously by its lack of personnel and the interference of pro-Nasser Sunnis and Druze,
had failed to find any evidence of massive UAR infiltration. 7
On 14 July the Iraqi coup took place, resulting in the brutal overthrow of a pro-Western
government. This turn of events was too much for Chamoun, and he appealed to the United
States to honour its earlier commitment to him to intervene militarily if necessary. Saudi Arabia's
King Saud made similar demands on Chamoun's behalf.8 The United States responded by
landing US troops, commencing on 15 July. The landing was made despite US recognition of the
adverse Arab reaction such an act might engender. This was because US officials realized that
their Middle Eastern allies would lose confidence in the value of friendship with the United
States if no action was taken. Also, the United States thought the events in Baghdad were the
work of the Nasserists.
Chamoun was persuaded to step down at the end of his term, and on 31 July 1958 Army
commander Fuad Shihab was elected to the presidency. After taking office in September, Shihab
set about bringing new faces into Lebanese politics because he recognized that the 1958 crisis
was the result of Chamoun's attempt to freeze out popular Sunni and Druze leaders, all of whom
wanted a greater voice in national affairs. Shihab hoped to help the Muslims by increasing their
role in the government without challenging Maronite control of the presidency. Shihab hoped
that such actions would make the Muslims more loyal to the state and less receptive to
Nasserism, and he largely succeeded. His expansion of the political playing field, plus his refusal
to use the Army to suppress the rebels, earned Shihab the enmity of many Christians, es pecially
Chamoun, but he had the support of the majority of the population.
Lebanon's importance to Iran increased after the Iraqi coup, when SAVAK's foreign intelligence
chief, Colonel Hassan Pakravan, initiated efforts to restore the Iraqi monarchy.9 To this end,
Major Mujtaba Pashai, head of SAVAK's Middle East branch, occasionally accompanied by
SAVAK chief Brigadier General Teimour Bakhtiar and his assistant Colonel Hassan Alavi-Kia,
would travel once a month to Beirut, where he would meet with Iraqi exiles, such as Abdul Hadi
Chalabi, Abdul Karim Usri, Jawdat Ayyubi, Tawfiq al-Suwaydi, Ahmad Mukhtar Baban,
Mahmud Mukhtar Baban, and Major General Abdul Majid. Maj. Isa Pejman, who was in charge
of SAVAK's Kurdish operations, also would travel to Lebanon to meet with Iraqi Kurds there.
Talks with the Iraqis resulted in little action, as the Iranians came to the realization that the old
elites had no real base of support. SAVAK had greater success with the Kurds, who received
promises of greater autonomy in Iran, more attention to their welfare and support in their fight
against Iraq's Abd al-Karim Qasim, who had refused to grant them administrative self-rule.
Mulla Mustafa Barzani's followers were soon at war with the Iraqi government. At one point, 80
per cent of the Iraqi military was deployed against the Kurds. The Kurds also were used to
collect intelligence on the Iraqi regime. 10
The Iraqi revolution alarmed Jordan's King Hussein, whose country had briefly federated with
Iraq in early 1958. The first cause for alarm was the brutal killings of King Faisal II (King
Hussein's cousin), Crown Prince Abdul-Ilah (Faisal's uncle), Premier Nuri Es-Said, and members
of the Royal household, and subsequent stories of atrocities. The second cause for alarm were the
broadcasts by Radio Baghdad criticizing King Hussein as a traitor and agent of imperialism and
calling for the Jordanian people to overthrow their King. Third was the fact that the first state to
extend diplomatic recognition to the new Iraqi Republic was the UAR. By 17 July King Hussein
requested military aid, which came in two forms: the arrival of English paratroopers and the
provision of petroleum products via US aircraft. 11
A less obvious form of assistance was the journey by Bakhtiar, Pashai and Pejman to Jordan to
meet with King Hussein and discuss plans to restore the Iraqi monarchy by supporting the Iraqis
mentioned above.12 At this time, King Hussein asked that SAVAK assign an officer to Amman,
and the Iranians agreed, posting Colonel Ali Motazed to Amman as a military attache, while
Colonel Umar Madani was sent to Iran as Jordan's military attache. Bakhtiar suspected that King
Hussein himself wanted to assume the Iraqi throne. For this reason, Bakhtiar actually cancelled a
shipment of arms and cash to Jordan. Western assistance and King Hussein's own actions,
however, succeeded in eliminating the threat to his throne; in fact, his position on both the
domestic and international stages was greatly strengthened.
Following these events, the Shah sent an order to Bakhtiar to come up with a way of containing
Nasserism. Pashai conceived the 'Green Plan' (Tarh-i Sabz), in response. When he met with
Bakhtiar, Alavi-Kia, Pakravan, and Azima, Pashai said that 'we should combat and arrest the
danger (of Nasserism) on the beaches of the Mediterranean so we do not have to shed blood on
Iranian soil.' Lebanon was also important because of its role as a neutral entrepot and financial
centre. Pashai and Pakravan saw Lebanon as the only democratic Arab state, where all religions
had a political identity and there was intellectual freedom as exemplified by the universities.
They believed that all of these would be lost if the Nasserists came to power. 13
Pashai believed that if the Lebanese populace identified more closely with Iran, it would distance
itself from a pro-Arab stance.14 He favoured building on the existing Muslim ties, particularly
those with the Shia. Previously, the Shia political structure would have been difficult to
influence, because it was dominated by clans, but in the late-1950s parties, such as the
Communists, the Ba'th, the Arab Nationalist Movement, the Progressive Socialists, and the Parti
Populaire Syrien (PPS), began to attract younger Shia males. At the same time, younger Shias
began heading for the cities, leading to a diminution in the importance of land-based wealth and
the traditional zuama (political bosses). The government's educational system also had an
urbanizing effect, leading to migration to towns and cities (Beirut in particular) by Lebanese of
all religions, as they sought jobs which required their new-found skills and provided a more
modem lifestyle. Pashai believed that the Iranian government could take advantage of these
political, demographic and social changes. At that time, however, the Iranian government was
very close to the Lebanese Christians because of the friendship of the Shah and the Iranian
ambassador, Ahmad Atabaki, with Chamoun. In an attempt to gain access to different parts of
Lebanese society, Iranian Air Force officer Hamid Nasseri was assigned to Beirut as SAVAK
Chief of Station. 15
The Iranian government began making contributions of approximately $33,000 a year to the
Lebanese Shia community. This altered the relationship between the Shah, the Iranian Shia
establishment, and the Lebanese Shia community. Previously, the Shah, via the Pahlavi
Foundation (Bonyad-i Pahlavi), had given money to the marja-i taqlid in Qum, Ayatollah
Muhammad Hussein Borujerdi, who had directed it to Lebanon.
Under the Green Plan, Nasseri distributed about 80 per cent of the money directly to Shia
schools in Lebanon, while the rest was given to individual Lebanese mullahs as gifts in the form
of money or goods. The recipients knew that SAVAK was the source of this money, but be cause
the organization did not have the notoriety it later acquired, they felt no compunctions about
accepting it. 16
Lebanese parliamentary elections were scheduled for June and July of 1960, and SAVAK's
leadership, possibly encouraged by Chamoun, decide d that several anti-Nasserist representatives
should be elected. 17 Pashai devised a plan to meet the desired electoral results, and he warned
that it could get expensive. His superiors believed that it was an issue which could affect Iran's
existence, so they were prepared to spend whatever was necessary. In the end, approximately
$330,000 was spent.
The mostly Maronite Phalanges (Kata'ib) party was chosen as the main recipient of Iranian aid.18
Nasseri offered aid to Phalanges leader Pierre Gemayel, who said that $100,000 was needed for
publicity. While the money was being prepared, however, the Phalanges leadership said they did
not want the money because they did not want the party to lose its independence and be indebted
to Iran. The Phalanges, nevertheless, maintained close relations with Iran, and Phalangist
newspapers often printed articles attacking Nasser and promoting Iran. 19
Raymond Edde's Bloc National party was also the target of SAVAK money. Edde himself was
never offered any money, because he and Gemayel were running for the same seat, but many of
the party's candidates took the money they were offered, and SAVAK helped fund and produce
some of their publicity. Bakhtiar hand-delivered $50,000 to Chamoun himself.20 In this case,
Israeli insistence overcame the objections of Bakhtiar's subordinates, who knew that Chamoun
had sold many of the arms donated by Iran and Israel and kept the proceeds.
The friendship of the Dashnak (a right-wing Armenian party) candidates was won by promising
them that flights from Yerevan to Lebanon would have the right to pass over Iran, and they
would have easier transit between Iran and Lebanon. Two priests from Lebanon were allowed to
come to Iran to establish churches. Permission was given to conduct more courses at Isfahan
University in the Armenian language, use of which had been restricted to religious instruction.
SAVAK also helped in the printing and distribution of Dashnak election publicity.
Aid to the 25,000 member Parti Populaire Syrien (PPS) was also advised, because it was viewed
as a tough, combatant group, and it was believed that it would be receptive to the Iranians'
approach because it had received Iraqi aid before the 1958 coup and sided with the Chamounists
during the 1958 crisis.21 The Shah refused to permit dealings with the PPS, objecting to their
concept of a Greater Syria at a time when Syria was a member of the UAR. He also objected to
their anti-royalist nature and wrote a sharp letter to Pashai to this effect. Ironically, Chamounist
candidates did relatively poorly in the elections, while the Phalangists did quite well. Gemayel,
in fact, became the Minister of Finance. Four Dashnak candidates were elected. The
Communists, Ba'thists and PPS all failed to win any seats.
The SAVAK station in Beirut maintained contact with Lebanese newspapers and magazines
through SAVAK officer Fariborz Farzaneh, who had diplomatic cover as the press attach6 and
had served in a similar post in other countries.22 Apparently, none of the newspapers was aware
of Farzaneh's SAVAK connection. Most of the Arabic-language newspapers which he
approached made direct requests for money, with the exception of the strongly anti-Nasser
Kamal Mruwa, who owned Al-Hayat and The Daily Star. Mruwa did not receive any direct
payments to print anti-Nasser articles, but SAVAK did buy his newspapers and distribute them
in the Persian Gulf region in an attempt to counter broadcasts by the Voice of the Iranian Nation
and the Voice of the Arabs based in Cairo. 23 In 1960 Mruwa's offices were bombed after he
printed an article criticizing Nasser for his break in relations with Iran over the Shah's
announcement of de facto recognition of Israel. At this point SAVAK gave Mruwa about
$15,000 to help with the repairs.
The SAVAK station had particularly good relations with two Frenchlanguage publications,
L'Orient and Le Soir, which were willing to print articles provided by SAVAK. These articles
emphasized Nasser's expansionism and quest for hegemony, saying that these were a result of
Egypt's internal economic problems. Such articles also sought to cause disunity between the
more radical Arab states of Egypt, Syria and Iraq. No person-to-person money transfers took
place, but SAVAK would buy advertising or several thousand copies and distribute them in
Lebanon, Jordan and the Persian Gulf states.
The available evidence does not suggest that these SAVAK activities were inspired by the
United Kingdom or the United States. The Shah was deeply concerned by Nasser's activities and
he did not need to be goaded into action on that issue. Interviewees have stated that Western
intelligence officials were aware of SAVAK's efforts in Lebanon, but the extent of this
knowledge is not clear. It is also possible that, although aware of SAVAK activities, the CIA and
MI6 wanted to act unilaterally and maintain strict compartmentalization. Archival records
indicate that the Shah, unconvinced of US commitment, was encouraging the United States to
make a move, since he urged President Eisenhower to act when they met in July 1958 and he
congratulated Eisenhower after the troop landings.24 What the Shah knew of covert US and UK
activities is also unknown.25 The Shah's initiation of SAVAK's political actions may have
stemmed from his lack of confidence in the US commitment.
This was the state of SAVAK activity which greeted Sayyid Musa Sadr upon his arrival in
Lebanon in 1960. Born in Qum in 1928, Sadr was from a family who claimed direct descent
from the Prophet Muhammad. His Lebanese-born grandfather, Sayyid Ismail Sa dr, became one
of the great marja -i taqlid (a Shia religious figure who through his learning is viewed as a
reference point for emulation) in Iraq, as did his father, Ayatollah Sadr alDin Sadr, in Iran. Musa
Sadr attended the University of Tehran Faculty of Law and Political Economy and studied
Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) at a Qum madrasah. In 1953, a year after his father's death, he
moved to Najaf to study fiqh under Ayatollah Mohsen al-Hakim (1889-1970). 26
In December 1957 the Shia leader of Tyre, Sayyid Abdul Hussein Sharaf al-Din, died. The local
Shia invited Sadr, who had visited there earlier in the year, to replace him. Sadr accepted the
offer and moved to Tyre in 1960. The reason that Sadr often gave for his acceptance of this offer
was that his family originated in Lebanon and the move was a return to his roots.27 He also
claimed that Sayyid Abdul Hussein had referred to him as a worthy successor.28 Intelligence and
political sources also alleged that Sadr moved to Lebanon due to encouragement he received
from General Bakhtiar, whose close associate, Sayyid Ahmad Tabatabai-Qomi, was related to
Sadr through the latter's maternal grandfather, Sayyid Aqa Hussein Qomi.29 Allegedly, when
Bakhtiar heard of the Lebanese Shias' search for a new maria', he summoned Sayyid Hussein's
son (Sayyid Nasser al-Din), who had been studying in Qum. Bakhtiar wanted to send Sayyid
Nasser back as his father's replacement so he could help the Lebanese Shia community and
promote ties with Iran. Word of this got to a relative of Sadr, who went to Bakhtiar and promoted
Sayyid Musa. Bakhtiar met Sayyid Musa and was favourably impressed, as was Sayyid Musa,
with the idea of his going to Lebanon. This is not to imply that Sadr had been recruited as a
SAVAK agent, although Bakhtiar's position as SAVAK's chief was common knowledge. It was
traditional, at the time, for high-ranking Iranian officials to maintain ties with members of the
religious community. There was, furthermore, a coincidence of interests: Iran sought greater
influence in Lebanon, and Sadr needed a position offering more rapid advancement than was
possible in Iran. 30
Sadr's opportunities for promotion were not optimal because by the late 1950s the Iranian
religious community had become very quiet. The ulama had inspired a brief spate of violence
against the Bahais, and a few years later voiced concern over women's enfranchisement. Most
clerics, however, had allowed themselves to be bought off by the government, and some
participated in pro-regime activities.31 The marja-i taqlid in Qum, Ayatollah Borujerdi, pursued
an apolitical line. This quietism (some would say conservatism) may have discouraged an
ambitious cleric like Sadr who probably perceived more opportunity for influence in the smaller,
less formal Shia c ommunity of Lebanon.
Upon his arrival in Lebanon, Sadr made a good first impression: tall (6'6"), flamboyant, and
elegant, he spoke fluent and stylish Arabic.32 Sadr increased his exposure immediately by
providing practical assistance to the Lebanese people, whether or not they were Shia.33 He gave
classes on Iran and the Persian language at the Amaliyah school, where he achieved great
popularity due to his good rapport with young people. He then taught at a Sunni school called Al
Maqasid. He revitalized Jami'at al-Birr wa al-Ihsan, a religious and charitable foundation
founded by Sayyid Sharaf al-Din, and raised money for al-Mu'assasa al-Ijtima'iyya (The Social
Institute), a Tyre orphanage. In 1963 Sadr established Bayt al-Fatat (The Girls' Home), a sewing
school and nursery, started Ma'had al-Dirasat al-Islamiyya (The Institute of Islamic Studies), and
taught Islamic philosophy at Beirut's St. Joseph University. He began to give the Shia a sense of
community, whether they were from Beirut, the south, or the Bekaa Valley. He attracted support
from all groups of Shia society, including wealthy merchants and urban youth, and he called on
people to struggle and not to accept misfortune.
Sadr also stayed in contact with SAVAK. Sadr never met with SAVAK COS Nasseri, since their
time in Lebanon only overlapped by a few months. Pashai succeeded Nasseri and was stationed
in Beirut from 20 November 1960 to 20 December 1963, and Sadr, fully cognizant of the fact
that Pashai was a SAVAK officer, met him about once a week. During this period, Pashai served
as Sadr's entree to the Lebanese political elite, a part of society to which a Shia cleric normally
would not have access. Pashai also arranged for Sadr and the Shah to meet. Although he
accepted such help from Pashai, Sadr never asked the Iranian government for any money. In fact,
in 1962 he was offered some money to use in whatever way he saw fit, but declined the offer of a
direct payment and warned against giving money to any individuals. Sadr recommended a
continua tion of a social approach, such as sending teachers, helping schools, and building
The Iranian government continued to attempt to wield influence in Lebanese governmental
affairs, but the April-May 1964 elections were not very favourable to the Iranians' preferred
candidates. Chamoun failed to be re-elected to the parliament. Gemayel, with backing from the
Dashnak, as well as the Phalanges, managed to retain his seat as one of East Beirut's
representatives. Shihab's term had ended and in the balloting for the Presidency Pierre Gemayel
received only five votes, while Charles Helou had ninety-two.
Also in 1964 Sadr established the Bur al-Shimali Technical Institute near Tyre with funding from
Shia benefactors, bank loans and the Lebanese Ministry of Education. He had approached the
Iranian Embassy for financial assistance, but the Shah was not feeling very charitable towards
the religious elements, it being so soon after the riots of June 1963. Both the Shah and SAVAK's
chief, General Pakravan, blamed Nasser for these riots, but a number of clerics were arrested for
playing a leading role in them.35 Sadr, furthermore, had been one of several clerical signatories to
a letter to the Shah which listed objections to Iranian governmental policies (suc h as women's
enfranchisement, ties with Israel and land reform). When confronted with this, Sadr assured the
Embassy that he was only going through the motions in an attempt to strengthen his credibility
with the Shia clergy. Sadr reassured the Embassy of his continued friendliness and loyalty. 36
Although Sadr worked through the established political system in order to show his fidelity to
Lebanese institutions, he followed a path which differed from that which was considered
acceptable for a cleric. In what has been termed the Shias' 'quietist interpretation', the belief that
man must bear the burden of being the oppressed minority until the return of the twelfth imam, it
was traditional for a cleric not to become involved in politics, thus absolving him of
responsibility. According to this viewpoint, one must accept what one gets, even if it includes
death, just as Hussein did at Karbala. To bring about social reform required greater commitment,
but clerics were not expected to be active - they were supposed to be interested in religious
This was not the route that Sadr chose, because he wanted Islam to be more than ritual. In his
writings, too, Sadr endorsed an activist role for a cleric, embodying another and different Shia
expectation that a religious leader also had political obligations. He tried to attract civil servants
and lawyers to a movement under his leadership, although such people normally resisted the
clerics. He took advantage of this by condemning religious figures who kow -tow ed to people in
power. This was not a way to earn friends, and old -style politicians tried to portray Sadr as a
client of the Lebanese intelligence service, while the old-style clerics wanted him to conform to
their restrictive system.
Sadr's criticism of the land-owners came at a bad time for them. They were already suffering a
loss of influence because many of their clients were going to the cities. These events coincided
with Sadr's increase in public exposure. The zuama's loss was the Sayyid's gain, as the newly
urbanized Shia heeded his rallying call. One of Sadr's targets was Kamil al-Asad (Kamil Bey),
who in 1964 had been made Speaker of Parliament, the highest position to which a Shia could
rise. They competed for power in the Supreme Shia Council (al-Majlis al-Islami al-Shi'i al-A'la),
where Sadr was elected chairman. Another target was Kazem al-Khalil (Kazem Bey), who had
been a government minister in 1958. The zuama retaliated with claims of Sadr's sexual
improprieties.37 There were also claims that Lebanese intelligence wanted him to weaken the
zuama because they threatened Shihab's reforms. 38
Throughout the 1960s Sadr's leadership position among the Shia continued to improve, and some
even ascribed certain charismatic qualities to him, referrin g to him as 'imam'. In Shia tradition, a
mujtahid was not supposed to claim the traits of an imam, which were baraka, divine charisma,
and ma'sum, moral infallibility.39 The followers of certain charismatic mujtahids, however,
sometimes attributed such divine powers to their preferred clerics. This distinguished the
mujtahid from the common man, who was seen as weak, sinful, and given to temptation. In
Arabic, furthermore, the term 'imam' is used to signify the leader of any organized group
activities, particularly prayers.
During the 1960s relations between Sunnis and Shias continued to deteriorate. The Sunnis were
largely city-dwellers, and Shia peasants, on coming to the cities, found themselves on the bottom
rung of the social ladder. Even the wealthier Shia never fit in. The few Shia, such as civil
servants or physicians, who succeeded were resented and envied by other Shia. Yet the Shia took
pride in being in the minority, seeing Sunni Muslims as an illegitimate group which did not have
a proper understanding of Islam as it had been passed down through the Imams.
THE PALESTINIANS' INFLUENCE
When the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created by the Arab Summit in 1964, the
Lebanese government insisted that no armed Palestinians should be stationed in Lebanon. This
concern was natural, but it was unrealistic, and eventually hypocritical, to hope that the PLO
would avoid Lebanon. There were several reasons for this. First, Palestinian refugee camps had
existed in Lebanon since the creation of the state of Israel. Second, the Sunni Muslim populace
of Lebanon sympathized with the Palestinian cause. Third, the Lebanese Army, emboldened by
the outbreak of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, had briefly trained dozens of Palestinians at
Army facilities in the South.40 Finally, the first chief of the PLO, Ahmad Shuqayri, lived in
Lebanon until 1968, and it was believed that the grounds of his summer residence were used for
the training of PLO guerrillas. 41
In January 1965 Fatah (a PLO faction) began raids on Israel, mainly from Jordan, but also from
Lebanon and Syria, resulting in Israeli retaliatory raids. The retaliatory principle eventually
expanded, and Israel launched raids on Lebanon in return for PLO attacks on targets outside
Israel. Israel used all of its military resources for these attacks, from air strikes to commando
raids. The Israelis selected targets such as high-ranking PLO officials and the headquarters of the
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), but they also attacked guerrilla training
centres in the Nahr el Barid and Badawi refugee camps, where Palestinians, Chinese, Japanese,
Turks, Cypriots, and Iranians allegedly had been trained. 42
Palestinian and Israeli operations forced the Lebanese government to act. In April 1969 a state of
emergency was declared, and in May the Lebanese Army initiated operations against the Syrianbacked
Al-Sa 'iqa, which had established itself in southern Lebanon. Fighting resumed in
October 1969, after the guerrillas violated an agreement not to move near inhabited areas and
expose civilians to Israeli reprisals. An agreement between the Lebanese government and the
PLO was reached in late 1969, but in January 1970 Palestinian units based in Amman accused
the Lebanese government of trying to restrict guerrilla activities. Clashes between the Lebanese
Army and the Palestinian guerrillas, after a brief hiatus, increased in 1972-73. 43
To gain acceptance in the Arab world, Sadr had to be pro-Palestinian, but relations between the
PLO and Sadr were never harmonious. When the PLO moved into southern Lebanon, Sadr's
warnings that this would be counterproductive were ignored. When the PLO and the Lebanese
Army clashed in 1972-73, Sadr criticized the Sunnis for supporting the guerrilla forces, the
government for not defending the south from Israel, and the PLO for shelling and provoking
Israel. Sadr said the PLO was a military organization, that it was a factor in the South's anarchy,
and it terrorized the Arab world by using extortion to gain money and sympathy. The PLO saw
Sadr as a creation of Lebanese Intelligence or an agent of the United States. 44
When the PLO fighters pushed into Lebanon, the Maronite elites lost interest in Sadr, who had
been courting them because of their shared antiSunni in terests. Sadr had prepared for this
contingency by cultivating Syrian President Hafez al-Asad. In a late -1969 meeting of the
Supreme Shia Council, Sadr had stated that the Alawi sect, of which Asad was a member, was a
part of Shia Islam, and in 1973, Sadr issued a fatwa that Alawis were a Shia community. Syria's
Sunni majority had traditionally ruled the country, and they had questioned whether Alawis were
really Muslims, so the passage of this fatwa was very helpful to Asad. 45 The Alawis needed
quick relig ious legitimacy, and the Lebanese Shia needed a powerful patron, so both sides
Such pragmatism led Sadr to change political partners frequently. While this may have been
done with the sole purpose of advancing the Shia cause, it lost Sadr needed support, because
people could not tell where he stood, and they questioned his sincerity and his agenda. There was
also some debate about whether he identified more with Arabs or with Iranians, because Sadr
would talk about the 'Arabian Gulf', while at the same time there were a number of Iranians in
his entourage and he would meet often with SAVAK officers. 46
In January 1975 both the Phalanges and Chamoun's Parti National Liberal (PNL) made
statements attacking the Palestinian presence in South Lebanon and called for a referendum on
the presence of the PLO in Lebanon. In February, demonstrations in Sidon resulted in fighting
between civilians and the army. Chamoun, Gemayel, and other right-wingers supported the
Lebanese Army and accused the PLO of inciting the violence. Then, on 10 March, Muslim
leaders called for a change in the political balance of power so it would take into account the
increase in the size of the Muslim population but this proposal met with Christian opposition.
By May 1975 the fighting between various armed factions had reached such a level that
President Suleiman Frangieh was forced to appoint a government of military officers after the
previous cabinet resigned. One of these armed factions, the Fityan Ali (the Knights of Ali),
claimed an association with Sadr's Harakat al-Mahrumin (Movement of the Deprived), but this
group was so brutal that Sadr disassociated his movement from it.47 The Military Cabinet
resigned only a few days later. On 27 June Sadr began a fast in a Beirut mosque to protest at the
violence in Lebanon. Lebanese of all factions (Christian and Muslim) came to see him, as did his
followers. On I July he was visited by Yasser Arafat and Syrian Foreign Minister Abd alHalim
Khaddam. As a result of their meeting a national unity cabinet was formed, and the newly
designated prime minister, Rashid Karami, appealed to Sadr to break his fast, which he did after
having fasted for a total of five days.
Sadr's appeal for peace achieved temporary success because he was seen as having clean hands
and as a peaceful alternative to the bloodshed. Five days later (on 5 July), however, he admitted
to the formation of a Shia militia, Amal (Afwaj al-Muqawama al-Lubnaniya, Lebanese
Resistance Detachments). This revelation came about after thirty to forty Lebanese Shia and their
Fatah instructors were killed in a training accident in a camp in the Bekaa Valley. Somehow,
even this was turned to Sadr's advantage when the funeral turned into a rally with chants for the
'Imam of the Disinherited' a nd the 'Imam of the Mojahedin'. 48 Amal's creation was an
understandable indication of the Shias' need for fighters, since the Palestinians and Maronites
already had militias, and the Druze had a long martial tradition.
THE IRANIAN OPPOSITION
After the Iranian government's suppression of the June 1963 demonstrations, and inspired by the
armed struggles taking place in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa, and by the Shia
concept of martyrdom, opposition units decided to make their activities more clandestine and
more violent in order to achieve their goals. To this end, the Nihzat-i Azadi-i Iran (Liberation
Movement of Iran [abroad], LMI[a]) leadership initiated a search for a foreign sponsor.49
Meetings in Algeria did not bear fruit, but Egypt's Nasser was willing to aid the LMI(a). In
December 1963 Ebrahim Yazdi, Sadeq Ghotbzadeh and Mustafa Chamran went to Egypt. In July
1964 these three established Sazeman-i Makhsus-i Ittihad va Amal (SAMA), Special
Organization for Unity and Action, and Chamran ran its guerrilla training programme. The
relationship with Egypt was not as fruitful as the LMI(a) had hoped, because Nasser's pan-Arab
and anti-Iranian behaviour was no longer tolerable for the Iranian nationalists. For example,
Nasser wanted the Iranians to broadcast anti-Shah statements on Radio Cairo, while the LMI(a)
preferred to continue preparations for armed struggle. So in 1966 SAMA left Egypt and
In 1970 Chamran moved to Lebanon. Lebanon came to serve as the base for LMI(a) Middle East
operations, and it was also a place from which the LMI(a) could maintain contact with other
Iranian opposition groups. Chamran settled outside of Tyre as director of Bur al-Shimali
Technical Institute, which by that time provided ideological as well as technical training.50 The
school happened to be near a PLO camp, and since some LMI(a) members had been trained in
Egypt by Fatah, their relations improved after 1970. The Iranian Mojahedin also trained at PLO
camps.51 Mojahedin and LMI(a) relations, however, soon deteriorated. After Amal and PLO
relations deteriorated, LMI(a)-PLO relations also deteriorated. The LMI(a) was also in contact
with Sayyid Musa Sadr, who introduced Ghotbzadeh, Yazdi, and Chamran to Syrian President
Asad, and Ghotbzadeh ha d a Syrian passport and travelled with cover as a reporter for a Syrian
newspaper.52 Chamran helped found the Shia Harakat alMahrumin and had dealings with Amal.
Members of Iran's Islamic opposition got military training at Amal facilities. 53
The People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI) was founded in 1965 by younger LMI members who
had been radicalized by the events of June 1963.54 In 1968 the PMOI made contact with the PLO
in Dubai and Qatar and arrangements were made to train PMOI volunteers at the Palestinia ns'
camps. In July 1970 the first group of volunteers went to PLO camps in Jordan and Lebanon.
From 1972-onward, the Mojahedin worked to strengthen ties with revolutionary movements in
other countries, meeting with representatives of the PLO, Libya and South Yemen, The
Mojahedin also stayed in contact with the Confederation of Iranian Students and the Islamic
Student Association. Bakhtar-i Imruz (Today's West), a publication printed in Beirut by young
National Front members who were sympathetic to Marxism gave the Mojahedin some
publicity.55 Through these contacts, the Mojahedin message got to many foreign-based Iranian
Iran's militant Islamic opposition was headed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini from his
exile in Najaf. Little is known about the underground network that Ayatollah Khomeini had
established in the 1960s, although it is believed that it started with small cells organized by
Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Beheshti and Ayatollah Morteza Mottahari.56 It is known that it
was a close circle including Mustafa and Ahmad Khomeini, and several frequent visitors, such as
Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr (future president of the Islamic Republic), Chamran, Yazdi and
Ayatollah Mahmud Taleqani. This network grew, but its members did not participate in
antiregime violence until 1978. Instead, they concentrated on propaganda, recruitment and
organization. The Khomeini camp maintained contact with the LMI(a) and may have provided
money for the PMOI.
Members of these cells also received guerrilla training in Le banon. There was some participation
in activities at Amal facilities. There were more extensive contacts with the PLO, particularly
after Sayyid Musa broke with the PLO over Palestinian activities in the South. After Yasser
Arafat met with Ayatollah Khomeini in Najaf, more formal ties were made between their two
organizations, and trainees were sent to Lebanon. In an interview with Tehran Radio on 20
February 1979, the PLO's Hani alHassan claimed that the PLO had trained 10,000 anti-Shah
The Sazeman-i Cherikha-yi Fedai Khalq -i Iran (the Marxist Fedai) was established by Tehran
University students who had decided to join up for anti-regime activities in 1970.58 Among them
were individuals who had gone to Lebanon and trained at Fatah facilities. The Fedai later
received training in Lebanon from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),
according to Bassam Abu Sharif, a PFLP spokesman. It is the Marxist Fedai which is credited
with starting Iran's guerrilla movement, when, on 8 February 1971, the gendarmerie post in
Siahkal was assaulted.
SADR'S BREAK WITH THE SHAH'S GOVERNMENT
From the above, one can see that the Iranian government's need to collect intelligence in
Lebanon was obvious. Lebanon was the base for opposition organiz ations' martial operations.
Lebanon was also, at the time, a centre of Middle Eastern intrigues, comparable to Lisbon during
World War II or Vienna in Cold War Europe. In such an environment, however, Iranian access
to important intelligence was severely limited for two reasons. First, Lebanese president
Suleiman Frangieh had purged the Lebanese intelligence organization (known as G -2) in 1970
because it had grown too powerful and because of Frangieh's concern over its leadership's
Shihabist sympathies.59 Second, diplomatic ties between Tehran and Beirut had been broken on 2
April 1969 because of the presence in Lebanon of General Teimour Bakhtiar. Bakhtiar had
arrived there on 2 May 1968 and was arrested and jailed for gun-running. The Iranian
government sought his extradition to face 1967 charges of making an illegal fortune while
heading SAVAK. In September 1969 he was tried in absentia and sentenced to death for treason.
The Lebanese were reluctant to extradite Bakhtiar, and he was allowed to leave Lebanon on 4
April 1969. 60
Relations were not resumed until 16 July 1971, shortly after Camille Chamoun had met the Shah
in Tehran. The first Iranian ambassador to Beirut after the resumption of relations was
Rokneddin Ashtiani, a diplomat from Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ashtiani was from a
religiously connected family and was popular with both the local clerics and the Embassy
employees. Ashtiani's deputy, Lavasani, was also a Foreign Ministry diplomat with religious
At this point Major General Mansour Qadar enters the story. 61 Born in 1923, Qadar attended the
Military Academy and then served in Army Intelligence. He was transferred to SAVAK in 1958
and was assigned to Department II (Foreign Intelligence Collection). He was given diplomatic
cover as Second Secretary and was assigned to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, and when that
was closed he was posted to Beirut as a commercial attache. In 1961 he was made the chief of
the Middle East branch in Department II. About a year later he was made chief of Department II
and stayed in that position until late 1963. From 1964 to 1967 Qadar was stationed in Beirut as
SAVAK Chief of Station. From June 1967 to 1972 or 1973 he served as SAVAK COS in Jordan
with diplomatic cover as Iran's ambassador. He was then assigned to Lebanon as Ambassador,
while simultaneously serving as Chief of Station, and stayed in this post until November 1978.
Qadar's career track differed from that of most military personnel because of his duties and his
political skills. He became a Brigadier General and then a Major General more rapidly than was
normal. His promotions were considered unusual because normally one could not advance to the
rank of General without having attended the General Staff College, which Qadar had not.
Furthermore, if a military officer transferred to and stayed in a civilian job (SAVAK was a
civilian organization, despite the preponderance of active-duty and retired military personnel) for
over three years, he forfeited his right to return to the military for promotion purposes.
Throughout this time Qadar earned a reputation as a man ambitious for the rank and the
perquisites of high office. He reputedly could not tolerate anyone who did not agree with him
completely, and he would set out to destroy those individuals who disagreed with him. He
usually accomplished this through the Iranian bureaucratic art of parvandeh sazee, which calls
for building a dossier of real and falsified personal information which can be used against one's
The COS Qadar replaced was Colonel Abbas Shaghaghi, who had been transferred back to
Tehran. Qadar had been lobbying to replace Shaghaghi and had built up a dossier against him,
and General Nematollah Nassiri, SAVAK's director, had disliked Shaghaghi since they ha d
served together in the Imperial Guard in 1953. 62 Qadar also moved to replace Ambassador
Ashtiani, accusing him of disloyalty based on Ashtiani's having served under Prime Minister
Muhammad Musaddiq's closest adviser, Foreign Minister Hussein Fatemi.63 When Qadar
became the ambassador he set about establishing his authority in the Embassy, reducing his
Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy, Kiafar, to translating documents. Several of the station's
SAVAK officers requested transfers, and the Foreign Ministry personnel staged a work go-slow.
In late 1971 or early 1972, Sadr had travelled to Iran to ask the Shah for a contribution of $30
million to build a hospital and university complex. The Shah and Court Minister Asadollah Alam
decided the money should c ome from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and the Red
Lion and Sun Society (the Iranian Red Cross). When Qadar got word of this financial
arrangement, he was very unhappy. Qadar had Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveida attempt to
postpone the dispensation of the money. Qadar urged that the money come from the Foreign
Ministry, which would put it under his control. This would allow him to dispense the money to
Sadr at his leisure, and it would also allow Qadar to take a cut. When the Shah heard of Qadar's
interference, he angrily ordered that the hospital and university project get underway
immediately. When Qadar's plan was not accepted his animosity toward Sadr increased. 65
Qadar also became hostile toward Major Janus (author's pseudonym), the SAVAK officer who
had been given control of the Sadr account by Department III (Domestic Security) chief General
Nasser Moghaddam. This was because Janus, whose area of responsibility was the LMI(a) and
the Lebanese Shia, was a member of SAVAK's Department III, w hich ran operations that
bypassed the COS. (Overseas SAVAK stations were under the control of Department II, but
events and personalities which affected the opposition to the Shah were dealt with by
Department III). Janus was sympathetic when a delegation of the local Shia convinced him that
Iran should support the Palestinians, and he also believed that such support could discourage the
PLO from co-operating with the Iranian opposition. Janus travelled to Tehran and reported his
new-found convictions to Parviz Sabeti, the new chief of Department III. Sabeti listened politely,
then showed Janus a file which documented SAVAK's payments to the PLO leadership. 66
Feeling disillusioned, Janus returned to his post. Qadar did not believe that pay-offs to the PLO
would guarantee better intelligence on the opposition, so he decided that more and better placed
agents were needed. Qadar decided he would recruit Lebanon's most high-profile Shia, Sayyid
Musa Sadr. Qadar and Sadr had met in the early 1960s, during Qadar's first tour in Beirut as
COS. At the time, however, Sadr was not enough of a political entity for Qadar to give him much
notice. The original reason that Qadar's predecessor, Pashai, had paid attention to Sadr was
because of the perceived need to encourage the cleric's unwitting efforts on behalf of the Green
Plan. With time, a friendship had developed between Sadr and Pashai. 67
The desire to collect intelligence on the opposition was Qadar's purported reason for trying to
recruit Sadr. It seems much more likely that Qadar's principal motivation was the desire to get
his hands on the hospital money. Even a 5 per cent cut would have earned him $1.5 million.
Qadar put a great deal of pressure on Sadr to enter a case officer-agent relationship with him, but
Sadr demurred, protesting that he was a man of God 68 In a more precise and practical vein, he
went on to say that it had taken him years to build up a good position in Lebanese politics. If
people thought he was working for SAVAK, whose name by then had become synonymous with
torture and repression, he would be completely discredited, as would all his work. Sadr had many
enemies, from the zuama to the PLO, who would be more than happy to denounce him as a
SAVAK agent. He told Qadar that he was a patriotic Iranian and loyal to the Shah but he was
unwilling to let Qadar destroy all his efforts.
The Shah, receiving mixed reports on the situation from Sadr, Qadar, and General Hussein
Fardust, a close friend of both the Shah and of Qadar,69 decided to turn the situation over to a
disinterested party, Ambassador Bahrami in Egypt. During this time, Sadr was travelling
extensively throughout the Middle East (often accompanied by Chamran). A stop in Cairo, then,
did not raise any suspicions. While in Cairo, Sadr met with the local SAVAK COS and Bahrami.
Sadr told them that he was a sincere patriot, but his position as a religious leader made Qadar's
proposal impractical. Bahrami had Sadr write out his comments, purportedly as an aide-memoire
to Bahrami. Bahrami then forwarded this 'letter', in which Sadr again declared his patriotism and
loyalty, as his report to Iran. When the Cairo COS's report matched Bahrami's, Qadar contacted
the COS and accused him of calling Qadar a liar, since Qadar had reported that Sadr was disloyal
to the Shah and to Iran. The Cairo COS stuck to his position that Qadar was in the wrong, that
Sadr was a loyal Iranian who would be of the greatest help to Iran if he was allowed to operate
A firm conclusion was not reached, so a commission, consisting of Manucher Zelli (former
Ambassador to Lebanon), Abbas Ali Khalatbari (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Nassiri, and
Sabeti, met to discuss the issue. Nassiri stated that the issue concerned Iran's security, it was out
of the diplomats' domain, and Sabeti should decide what to do. The MFA officials deferred to the
SAVAK officers out of their fear of SAVAK and their recognition of the fact that the Shah paid
greater heed to Nassiri. At these meetings it was decided that Sadr should enter a case officeragent
relationship with Qadar, and he again demurred. The reward for his stubbornness was
withdrawal of his Iranian citizenship.71 (Sadr had been granted Lebanese citizenship by President
Shihab in 1963).
Major Janus, the SAVAK officer who had been dealing with Sadr, was never consulted, and he
was unwilling to report his own views.72 This reluctance stemmed from several factors. The first
was his relative youth (he was thirty-three years old) and newness to the job, which resulted in
self-doubt. His superiors, furthermore, would discount his views because of his youthfulness.
The second was the way that Qadar ran the Embassy. He was authoritarian and brooked no
second-guessing from his staff. Both he and Janus were military officers, so Janus instinctively
deferred to his superior and obeyed orders. Finally, Janus had no way of appealing or going over
Qadar's head. To do so would have been anathema to a military officer. Qadar was, furthermore,
very close to General Fardust, who not only had the Shah's ear for reasons of personal friendship,
but was also a very highranking intelligence officer, being chief of the Special Intelligence
Bureau (Daftar -i Vizhe -yi Ettela'at) and the Imperial Inspectorate (Bazrasi-i Shahan Shahi), both
of which functioned as oversight organizations.
By 1974 the Shah was considering terminating support for the Lebanese Shia and Sadr. Sadr's
behaviour had not been living up to the Shah's expectations, and the Shah believed that Sayyid
Musa was getting paid off by Ira q and Libya. The Shah decided to give Sadr one last chance to
terminate his contacts with countries hostile to Iran. To this end, Qadar was ordered to relay the
Shah's sentiments to the cleric.73 In light of the fact that Sadr did not conform with the Shah's
suggestion, and in light of Qadar's record of animosity towards Sadr, it is questionable whether
Qadar actually relayed the Shah's comments. In fact, Qadar tried to have Sadr replaced as head of
the Supreme Shia Council by Sayyid Hussein Shirazi, an Ira qi-born mullah who had been
expelled from Najaf by the Ba'thist regime, but he did not succeed. 74
Expectation of Sadr's co-operation (by providing information and by serving as an agent-ofinfluence)
was justified, since his activities had benefited from the Shah's largesse. It is not clear
what Sadr thought he was getting paid for. Sadr realistically could not have thought that the
payments were made out of religious conviction or real desire to help the Shia of Lebanon. When
Qadar demanded Sadr's co-operation, however, the latter balked. Qadar's persistence would have
been justified had his desire to recruit Sadr as an agent been real. Sadr had been friendly with the
Iranian government and its representatives, and there is no doubt that a gift of $30 million would
have ensured that he stayed friendly. Qadar's strong-arm tactics and the final decision to revoke
Sadr's passport put an end to that.
Sadr's political standing improved from 1974 to 1976. As a show of Sadr's success in having
Lebanon's Muslims show unity, in May 1974 Lebanon's Supreme Official Islamic Council
declared its support for the Shia, and in September the Executive Committee of the Islamic
Associations presented the government with a list of Muslim demands which included the
demands of the Supreme Shia Council.75 To show his national, rather than Shia-only spirit, Sadr
participated in the Greek Catholic metropolitan's movement, al-Harakat al-ljtima'iyya, and his
sister, Sayyida Rabab, encouraged Lebanese Shia females towards greater political activity. By
September 1975, Lebanon was in a state of civil war, with clashes between the Phalanges, the
PLO, conservative Christians, leftwing Muslims, the Druze, and the Shia. As the civil war
worsened, Sadr's criticism of Druze leader Kamal Junblat and of the PLO increased. Sadr's
criticisms were not well received: he was accused of being an American agent, and reportedly
several attempts were made on his life in the summer of 1976. 76
Sadr also became openly hostile towards the Iranian government, accusing the Shah of
suppressing religion in Iran, criticizing the Shah's proIsrael stance and calling him an 'imperialist
stooge'. When Ali Shariati, an opposition figure, died in 1977, Sayyid Musa officiated at his
burial at Zeinabiyeh, the tomb of Im am Hussein's sister in Syria. In the spring of 1978, when Iran
sent troops to Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a
number of its members were SAVAK personnel charged with 'identifying and isolating' Sayyid
Musa's Iranian followers. 77 Iran also aided Kamil al-Asad in raising a Christian and Shia militia
to supplement the Maronite forces of Major Saad Haddad, who was working with the Israelis.
The Shah also worked with Chamoun, Kazem alKhalil, and his son Khalil, who was deputy
leader of Chamoun's PNL. In August 1978 Le Monde published an article by Sadr which was
critical of the Shah. 78
On 25 August 1978 Sadr travelled to Libya with two companions, allegedly to meet with
President Muammar Gaddafi. Scheduled to leave on 31 August, Sadr and his companions never
arrived at their destination, Rome, nor were they ever heard from again. The Libyan regime
claimed that Sadr had left, but there have been allegations that Sadr was killed by his hosts in
either a dispute over the disposal of Libyan contributions to his movement or over his relations
with the PLO. King Hussein asked Gaddafi to assist in locating Sadr. From his exile, Ayatollah
Khomeini made a similar request, and the issue was raised again when a Libyan delegation
visited Iran in April 1979.79 Despite the interest of so many people, Sadr was never located. This
only added to his charismatic reputation, and Sadr's followers began to refer to him as a martyr,
some even going so far as to say that he was in occultation.
By following Sayyid Musa Sadr through his career in Lebanon, one sees how the Shah of Iran
tried to influence Lebanese affairs via SAVAK, his secret police instrument. The Green Plan, as
it was first conceived, was supposed to discourage the Lebanese Shia from supporting Nasser
and panArabism by winning their loyalty through the provision of money, teachers, schools, and
perhaps even a mullah. Sadr gained the support of the Lebanese Shia, the fastest growing and
changing part of the Lebanese populace, and he taught them to think as a community. In terms of
the Shia community, the Green Plan seemed headed for success. Although it cannot be stated
definitely, in the long run the Green Plan probably would have succeeded in discouraging pan-
Arab and Nasserist sentiments among the majority of the Lebanese population for the very
reason that the Shia minority was growing larger and was gaining a political voice through Sadr.
The success of the other operations was not so clear. From the 1958 provision of military aid to
Chamoun, they were geared mainly towards helping conservative Christian politicians win
office, but from 1958onward, other Lebanese minorities were demanding and gaining a greater
voice in national affairs. This expansion was initiated by President Shihab, and was continued,
albeit more modestly, by Presidents Helou and Frangieh.
By the 1970s the Shah needed intelligence on the Iranian opposition which was being trained in
Lebanon. Sayyid Musa could have been very useful as a source of intelligence and an agent-ofinfluence
in dealing with the opposition. Through Qadar's interference and SAVAK's
overwhelming influence in the Iranian decision-making apparatus, Sadr's potential was lost to the
Iranian government. Instead, the Shah, in an attempt to save his throne, was forced to work
closely with the Christian and Shia elites. It was these very elites, however, who were becoming
increasingly marginalized in Lebanese politics. As they were marginalized, it became evident
that the new players in Lebanese politics were the very ones (the PLO and Shia groups), that
were active in aiding the Iranian opposition. This was one of the major reasons why SAVAK
failed to counter the armed opposition that participated in the eventual overthrow of the Shah of
The author would like to thank H. Chehabi, M. Gasiorowski, E. Hooglund, H. Katouzian, F.
Nasrallah, A. Prados, K. Shehadi, and a number of people who must remain unnamed for their
assistance in this project. All conclusions and respons ibilities, however, are the author's.
1. Much of the information in this study was secured in interviews with ten SAVAK officers
whose duties touched directly on this issue; an Iranian Military Intelligence officer stationed in
Iraq; and two retired CIA officers with duties in Iran and/or Lebanon. Many of these sources
have requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of this subject. Unless otherwise noted, any
information secured in interviews has been corroborated by at least one other source. These
interviews were supplemented by interviews from the Oral History of Iran Collection of the
Foundation for Iranian Studies (FIS) and the Harvard Iranian Oral History Project. Information
in this study from diplomatic archives is from the US National Archives (NA), the US Library of
Congress (LOC), Foreign Relations of the United States volumes (FRUS), the British Public
Records Office (PRO), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or the Asnad-i Laneh-yi Jasusi
(these are the documents taken from the US embassy in Tehran in 1979).
2. 'Summary of communique on the talks between President Sham'un and the Shah of Iran,
Beirut, 23 Dec. 1957,' in M.S. Agwani (ed.), The Lebanese Crisis, 1958: A Documentary Study
(Bombay, 1965), p.29.
3. Information on these meetings is from interviews with SAVAK chief Bakhtiar's assistant for
all expenditures and special operations, H. Alavi-Kia (2 May 1992, San Diego), and former
SAVAK Deputy-Director for Plans and chief of Middle East operations, M. Pashai (24 June
4. The Shah had strengthened his ties with Israel by sending a representative to Paris and Rome
in September and October 1957 to meet with Israeli officials and offer Iranian co-operation
against Nasser's activities. In December 1957 a Mossad offic er was sent to Tehran to enter into
practical talks on establishing a strategic relationship between Iran and Israel, according to
interviews with former Mossad chief Isser Harel and his deputy, Yaacov Caroz, in S. Segev, The
Iranian Triangle: The Untold S tory of Israel's Role in the Iran-Contra Affair (New York, 1988),
pp.31-2. 'Trident', a formal relationship between Mossad, SAVAK, and the Turkish Milli
Istikbarat Teskilati (National Intelligence Organization), was established. Israel and Iran
exchanged intelligence on Egyptian activities in the Arab world and participated in joint
operations, such as aiding Yemeni royalists and the Iraqi Kurds, and the Israelis provided
information on Iraqi, Egyptian, and Communist activities affecting Iran. (Confidential Report,
'Minority Groups,' May 1972, in Asnad, Vol.8, p.38; CIA Survey, Israel: Foreign Intelligence
and Security Services, March 1979, in Asnad, Vol.ll, p.24.)
5. State Department telegram, 4 May 1958, in FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol.XI (Washington, DC,
6. Interview with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark), telephone interview with Alavi-Kia (17 Dec.
1992), and telephone interview with Iranian Embassy officer F. Farzaneh (18 April 1994).
7. Keesings Contemporary Archives, 1957-1958, pp.16294-95.
8. Memorandum of Conference with President, White House, 14 July 1958, in FRUS, 1958-
1960, Vol.XI, p.212.
9. Letter from Isa Pejman, reprinted in M. Alamuti, Iran dar Asr-i Pahlavi, Vol.ll, Jang-i Qodrat
dar Iran (London, 1992), p.521; interviews with Pejman (IS Oct. 1992, Paris) and Pashai (10
Dec. 1992, Denmark); telephone interview with Pashai (19 Dec. 1992).
10. Interviews with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992 and 24 June 1993, Denmark); the reminiscences of
Colonel Isa Pejman (May 1983, Paris), in the Oral History of Iran Collection of the FIS; National
Foreign Assessment Center, 'The Kurdish Problem in Perspective' (Aug. 1979), in Asnad,
11. As a result of the coup, Jordan lost access to its Iraqi fuel supplies and was forced to rely on
fuel from Lebanon transported by aircraft overflying Israel; see H.M. King Hussein of Jordan,
Uneasy Lies the Head (London, 1962), p.168. British airborne personnel also overflew Israel to
get to Jordan; see Editorial Note in FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol.XI, p.317. For a very thorough
discussion of events in Jordan, see L. Tal, 'Britain and the Jordan Crisis of 1958', Middle Eastern
Studies, Vol.31, No.l ( Jan. 1995).
12. Information on Iran and Jordan is from interviews with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992 and 24 June
1993, Denmark) and a telephone interview with Pejman (17 Dec. 1992). On Motazed, see also
US Army Weekly Update, 788.00 (W)/26 June 1959, Box 3814, Record Group-59, NA.
13. Information on the Green Plan is from: Pejman letter, in Alamuti, pp.521-3; interviews with
Pejman (15OCT92, Paris) and Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark); confidential interview with a
retired CIA officer (21 Dec. 1992); and a letter from Pashai to the author (26 April 1993).
16. The Green Plan was not just Lebanon-specific. SAVAK officers with cover as teachers were
sent to Syria to conduct classes on the Persian language and Iranian culture and history.
Connections were made with other Shia communities, such as the one in Iraq. Sizeable
contributions were sent to the grand ayatollahs in Najaf (about $520,000 a year in 1959 and
1960) via the Royal Court, the Endowments Organization (Sazeman-i Awqaf), and through
Iranian intelligence assets in Europe, so a SAVAK connection which would upset the Iraqi
regime could be denied. The Shah also tried to influence the selection of a successor to Ayatollah
Borujerdi, who died in 1961. There was a growing consensus in favor of Marja alKabir (Grand
Marja) Ayatollah Mohsen al-Hakim, and it was believed that the Shah was encouraging the
departure to Najaf of the supreme Shia leadership. ('Some Comments on Recent Religious
Agitation in Iran', Department of State Airgram A-404, 788.00/29 Dec. 1962, FOIA.) This was
because the Shah wanted to keep outspoken religious leaders out of Iran, so they could not wield
what he saw as undue influence.
17. Pejman letter, in Alamuti, p.524; interview with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark).
18. Information on aid to the Phalanges is from Pejman letter, in Alamuti, p.524; and is
confirmed by Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark). On the Phalanges, see F. Stoakes, 'The
Supervigilantes: The Lebanese Kataeb Party as a Builder, Surrogate and Defender of the State',
Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.ll, No. 1 ( Jan. 1975), p.224; and J.P. Entelis, 'Structural Change and
Organizational Develo pment in the Lebanese Kata'ib Party', Middle East Journal, Vol.27, No.l
(Winter 1973), p.28.
19. Pejman letter, in Alamuti, p.524; interview with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark); Stoakes,
20. Telephone interviews with Pashai (19 Dec. 1992) and Alavi-Kia (17 Dec. 1992).
21. Interview with Pashai (24 June 1993, Denmark). The PPS may have been linked to the CIA,
also; see D. Little, 'Cold War and Covert Action: The United States and Syria, 1945-1958',
Middle East Journal, Vol.44, No.l (Winter 1990), p.64.
22. Interview with Pashai (24 June 1993, Denmark) and telephone interview with Farzaneh (18
23. On the radio broadcasts, see CIA 'Intelligence Memorandum: The Arab Threat to Iran,' 21
May 1966, in the Declass. Docs. 1988, #3107, LOC, and M. Copeland, The Game of Nations
(London, 1969), pp.246-7.
24. White House Memorandum of Conversation, I July 1958, in the Declass. Docs. 1985, #626,
LOC; State Department telegram, 16 July 1958, in FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol.XI, pp.306-308. The
Shah's doubts are seen again in 'Internal Political Situation in Iran', State Department
Memorandum, 788.00/11 Feb. 1961, FOIA; and CIA, 'The Arab Threat to Iran'.
25. On CIA activities in Lebanon in the 1950s, see W.C. Eveland, Ropes of Sand: America's
Failure in the Middle East (London, 1980), p.252; M. Copeland, The Game Player (London,
1989), p.216; and J. Randal, The Tragedy of Lebanon: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers
and American Bunglers (London, 1983), p.160. The British delivered aircraft and rockets to the
Chamounists in May 1958; see 'Vampires for the Lebanon', 28 May 1958, # 133 855NV1193
26. A.R. Norton, Amal and The Shi'a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon (Austin, TX: 1987),
p.39; F. Ajami, The Vanished Imam: Musa Al Sadr and The Shia of Lebanon (London, 1986),
p.44. Other English-language works on Sadr are M. Halawi, A Lebanon Defied: Musa alSadr and
the Shia Community (Oxford, 1992); T. Khalidi, review of The Vanished Imam, in Journal of
Palestine Studies, Vol.XVI, No.3 (Spring 1987); Norton, 'Musa Al-Sadr', in B. Reich (ed.),
Political Leaders of the Middle East and North Africa: A Biographical Dictionary (New York,
1990); S. Shapiro, 'The Imam Musa al-Sadr: Father of the Shi'ite Resurgence in Lebanon',
Jerusalem Quarterly (Fall, 1987) ; and P. Theroux, The Strange Disappearance of Imam Moussa
Sadr (London, 1987).
27. Ajami, p104.
28. Halawi, p.124.
29. The allegation on Sadr and Bakhtiar was related in confidential interviews (16 Oct. 1992 and
30 Dec. 1992) with individuals who had heard it from a member of Sadr's family. Former Iranian
prime minister Shahpour Bakhtiar made similar assertions; see C. Bakhtiar, Ma Fidelite (Paris,
1982), p.217, and Bakhtiar interview with Theroux, p.l5. Shahpour Bakhtiar may have discussed
Sadr with his cousin, Teimour Bakhtiar, particularly after Teimour became openly opposed to
the Shah. Shahpour Bakhtiar, furthermore, had a number of SAVAK personnel in his entourage
after leaving revolutionary Iran, and he could have learned about Sadr's involvement with the
Iranian government through these individuals. Information on the relationship between Bakhtiar,
Tabatabai-Qomi, and Sadr is from a letter to the author by Pashai (26 April 1993).
30. Two sources claim that after meeting with Bakhtiar, Sadr underwent a four-eight week
training course and was given 1,500-2,500 Lebanese lira (about $470-780); see the
reminiscences of Mansour Qadar (30 April and 4 May 1986, Washington, DC), in the Oral
History of Iran Collection of the FIS, and 'Sayyid Musa Sadr Keh Bud?' Elm va Jameh, Sixth
year, No.40, July-August 1985, p.42. A later article dismissed such claims; Moq, 'Zindigi va
Napadid Shudan-i Musa Sadr', Elm va Jameh, Seventh Year, No.42, February-March 1986, p.45.
31. 'Rally Against Anti-Iranian Radio Broadcas ts', Foreign Service Despatch 16, 788.00/29 Aug.
1959, Box 3812, Record Group-59, NA; and 'Establishment of Mashad Branch of National
Defense Society', Foreign Service Despatch 11, 788.5/19SEP59, Box 3819, ibid.
32. Norton, Amal and The Shi 'a, p.40.
33. Interview with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark); and Halawi, pp.135-136.
34. Interview with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark); and letter from Pashai to the author (26
35. On the role played by the religious community in the 1963 riots, see 'Politico-Economic
Assessment: Iran: March-September, 1963', Department of State Airgram A -231, 8 Oct. 1963,
FOIA; and on the arrests of clerics, see 'Year-End Report on the Political Situation in Iran',
Department of State Airgram A-361, 31 Dec. 1963, p.7, FOIA. On the suggestion that Nasser
was behind the unrest, see New York Times, 6 June 1963, p.l, and The Times (of London), 6
June 1963, p.12.
36. Interview with Pashai (10 Dec. 1992, Denmark).
37. H. Cobban, The Making of Modern Lebanon (London, 1985), p. l72.
38. M. Johnson, 'Factional Politics in Lebanon: The Case of the 'Islamic Society of Benevolent
Intentions' (AI-Maqasid) in Beirut ', Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 ( Jan.1978), p.74,
39. M. Zonis and D. Brumberg, 'Khomeini, The Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Arab World',
Harvard Middle East Papers, Modem Series: No.5 (Cambridge, MA, 1987), pp.5-6.
40. Y. Sayigh, 'Turning Defeat Into Opportunity: The Palestinian Guerrillas after the June 1967
War', Middle East Journal, Vol.46, No.2 (S pring 1992), p.260.
41. K.S. Salibi, Crossroads to Civil War: Lebanon 1958-1976 (London, 1976), p.26.
42. Keesings, 1965-1966, pp.21515-16; ibid., 1969-1970, p.23216; ibid., 1971-1972, p.25501,
25644; ibid., 1973, pp.25757, 25868.
43. Keesings, 1969-1970, p.23520, 23704, 23843; ibid., 1971-1972, p.25644; ibid., 1973,
44. Norton, Amal and The Shih, p.43; Ajami, p.175.
45. P. Seale, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East (London, 1988, 1990), p.173.
46. Sadr's references to an 'Arabian Gulf' were taken out of context and used against him in Iran;
see A.R. Nourizadeh, 'Imam Musa Sadr, In Imam Qaib-i Hazir', Rouzegar-e No, Vol.7 (fifth
year), July -August 1986, p.45; and Moq, 'Zindigi va Napadid Shudan-i Musa Sadr', p.46. Both
Pashai and a SAVAK interviewee (25 Jan. 1992) who requested anonymity met with Sadr often,
and Major General Mansour Qadar also claims to have met with Sadr often; see the
reminiscences of Qadar in FIS.
47. Salibi, p.104.
48. Ajami, p.169.
49. H.E. Chehabi, Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran
Under the Shah and Khomeini (London, 1990), pp.198-9. The LMI was founded in Iran in 1962
as an off-shoot of the National Front and the National Resistance Movement. The LMI(a) was
the group's external wing.
50. Chamran (b. 1933) was well-qualified for his cover, since he had earned a BA, with honours,
in electrical engineering at Tehran University, an MS at Texas A&M, and a Ph.D. in civil
engineering at the University of California, Berkele y. He had also worked for Bell Laboratories
in New Jersey. After going to California for graduate studies in 1961, Chamran founded the
Muslim Students Association. He served as Islamic Iran's Defense Minister
51. US intelligence believed that in exchange for training at Burj al-Shimali, the Iranians helped
Fatah secure false documents, make travel arrangements, and acquire weapons; see Defense
Intelligence Agency, International Terrorism: A Compendium, Volume ll - Middle East (U); in
Asnad, Vol.43, pp.l9, 27.
52. Ajami, p.195; Seale, p.352. Ghotbzadeh (Islamic Iran's Foreign Minister) also linked up with
a Paris-based terrorist-support service called Solidarite; see C. Sterling, The Terror Network: The
Secret War of International Terrorism (London, 1981), p.SS, and confirmed by a retired CIA
officer in a confidential interview (11 April 1992). On Solidarite, see also CIA, International
Terrorism in 1978 (March 1979), p.3.
53. Norton, Amal and The Shi'a, p.57.
54. E. Abrahamian, Radical Islam: The Iranian Mojahedin (London, 1989), pp.85-9, 98, 126-7,
137-9; S. Chubin, 'Leftist Forces in Iran', Problems of Communism, July -August 1980, pp.l5 -18.
55. DIA, International Terrorism, in Asnad Vol.43, p.27.
56. E. Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions (Princeton, 1982), pp.473-79; C. Mallat,
'Shi'i Thought from the South of Lebanon', Papers on Lebanon, no.7 (Oxford: Center for
Lebanese Studies, April 1988), p.12; S. Bakhash, The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the
Islamic Revolution (New York, 1984, 1986), pp.38-40.
57. A. Taheri, The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution (London, 1985), pp.l66-
67, 224, 254, 271; Bakhash, p.63, 110, 244.
58. Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, pp.483-89; 'Palestinian Activity in Iran , 1979,
in Asnad, Vol.42, p.92; Sterling, p.322 fn 24. See also Chubin, pp.ll-15.
59. Stoakes, p.220.
60. Keesings, 1969-1970, p.23297, 23580; A. Alam (A. Alikhani, ed.), The Shah and I: The
Confidential Diary of Iran's Royal Court, 1969-1977 (London, 1991), p.38, 62. Another account
has it that relations were broken when three employees of Lebanon's General Security
Directorate were suspected of giving information to SAVAK; see Y. Caroz, The Arab Secret
Services (London, 1975), p.355.
61. Biographical information and information on Qadar's SAVAK career was secured in
confidential interviews with four SAVAK Department chiefs, two COS's, two other SAVAK
officers, two retired CIA officers, one MFA official, and from the reminiscences of Qadar in FIS.
An abbreviated version of Qadar's biography is presented in Zohur va Soqut-i Saltanat i Pahlavi,
Vol.II, Jostarha -i as Tarikh-i Moaser-i Iran (Tehran, 1990), p.479. A sanitized version is
presented in Echo of Iran, Iran Who's Who, 3rd ed. (Tehran, 1976), p.426. Qadar declined three
requests for an interview, once in May 1992 and twice in Oct. 1992.
62. The dossier on Shaghaghi contained claims that he had played a part in blocking Bakhtiar's
63. Musaddiq had been born into the Ashtiani 'clan', and Mohammad Hussein Ashtiani allegedly
had phoned a warning to Musaddiq that Nassiri was on his way with the royal decree dismissing
him; see Dr M. Musaddiq (H. Katouzian, ed.), Musaddiq's Memoirs (London, 1988), p.69.
64. Confidential interview with a SAVAK officer serving in Beirut at the time (16 Oct. 1992).
65. On the proposed hospital and the Shah's reaction to Qadar's interference, see Alam, p.301.
Information on the proposed break-down of funding sources is from confidential interviews with
a SAVAK Department head (29 Oct. 1992) and a SAVAK officer serving in Beirut at the time
(16 Oct. 1992).
66. Confidential interview with a SAVAK officer serving in Beirut at the time (25 June 1992).
On money from the Shah to the Palestinians, see also Alam, p.215. The existence of these
payments was confirmed in confidential interviews, two with SAVAK Department chiefs (29
Oct. 1992 and 10 Feb.1993) and one with a SAVAK official who met with Arafat in Jordan (27
Oct. 1992). The Shah was funding Arafat in an attempt to help King Hussein preserve his throne,
because the PLO was a threat to King Hussein's rule, and Iran preferred a Hashemite Jordan to a
Palestinian one. A Palestinian Jordan would be, furthermore, a direct threat to Iran's major
regional ally, Israel. By May 1972, however, the Shah was sufficiently irritated by PLO training
of Iranian terrorists that he considered termination of the funding; Alam, p.215.
67. Allegedly, the friendship between Pashai and Sadr involved them in plots against the Shah in
1963, when Teimour Bakhtiar visited Lebanon and allegedly met with Pashai, Sadr, Iranian
embassy official Parviz Atabaki, and a Khomeini representative at the Coral Beach Hotel. At this
meeting it was decided to send a $1 million contribution by Nasser to Iran to sponsor anti-Shah
demonstrations. See 'Sayyid Musa Sadr Keh Bud?', p.44. Both Pashai and Atabaki were recalled
and confronted with this story by SAVAK, and they both denied (and still deny) this story
emphatically. Atabaki described the questioning he underwent in a letter in the author's
68. Confidential interview (16 Oct. 1992). See also, Nourizadeh, p.47.
69. Fardust's 'autobiography' states that Qadar, far from trying to recruit Sadr, actually furnished
him with intelligence; see Zohur va Soqut-i Saltanat-i Pahlavi, Vol.l, Khatirat-i Arteshbod-i
Sabegh Hussein Fardust (Tehran, 1980), pp.468-71. This work was compiled by the Islamic
Republic's Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and it consists of Islamic Republic propaganda,
the imprisoned Fardust's confessions, and some inaccurate historical filler.
70. Information on Sadr's trip to Cairo is from interviews with the Cairo COS (27 Oct. 1992), a
SAVAK officer based in Beirut at the time (16 Oct. 1992), and two SAVAK Department chiefs
(24 Oct. 1992 and 29 Oct. 1992). Information on the actual meeting was confirmed by the COS.
The two Department chiefs personally saw the letter, as did the COS.
71. From the sources in the previous note.The withdrawal of citizenship or suspension of
passports was a common SA VAK method for dealing with expatriate Iranians who were
believed to be opposed to the Pahlavi government. Said trouble -makers would be kept out of Iran
so their revolutionary ideas would not infect the general population. The only thing this tactic
really accomplished was further irritation of the person whose passport was being held. For a
discussion of this tactic, see the interview with Hassan Alavi-Kia by H. Ladjevardi for the
Harvard Iranian Oral History Project (1 March 1983, Paris).
72. Confidentia l interview with a SAVAK officer based in Beirut at the time (30 Dec. 1992).
73. Alam, p.366. The belief that Sadr may have received Iraqi money in early-1974 is repeated in
Norton, Amal and The Shi'a, p.41.
74. Confidential interview with a SAVAK officer then stationed in Lebanon (16 Oct. 1992);
confirmed by Amb. Jafar Raed (27 April 1993, London). On Shirazi, see also Shapiro, p.139.
75. Halawi, p.190.
76. Theroux, p.41. See also R. Calis, 'The Shiite Pimpemel', The Middle East (Nov. 1978), p.52.
77. On 'stooge', see Norton, Amal and The Shi'a, p.41. On Shariati's burial see Chehabi, pp.209-
10, and Ajami, p.220. Information on UNIFIL and SAVAK is from J.K. Cooley, 'Shah promotes
security in Lebanon', Christian Science Monitor, 19 April 1978, p.7, and a confidential interview
with a SAVAK Department chief (10 Feb. 1993).
78. M. al Sadr, 'L'appel des Prophetes', Le Monde, 23 Aug. 1978.
79. Asnad, Vol.18, p.129.