Hassan Pakravan

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Hassan Pakravan
Hassan Pakravan.jpg
Born(1911-08-04)August 4, 1911
Tehran, Qajar Iran
Died April 11, 1979(1979-04-11) (aged 67)
Iran

Hassan Pakravan (4 August 1911 – 11 April 1979) was a well-known diplomat and minister in the Pahlavi pre-revolutionary government of Iran. He is not only notable for his political involvement with the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi government and SAVAK, but also his relationship with Ruhollah Khomeini.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 20th-century Shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979. A close ally of the United States, he tried to use vast oil revenues to generate a rapid industrial, cultural and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms. In reaction religious forces revolted and overthrew him.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

SAVAK

SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli MOSSAD. SAVAK operated from 1957 until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when the prime minister Shapour Bakhtiar ordered its dissolution during the outbreak of Iranian Revolution. SAVAK has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979 because of its practice of torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks according to one source, and another source by Gholam Reza Afkhami estimates SAVAK staffing at between 4,000 and 6,000.

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Birth

Hassan Pakravan, son of Fathollah and Emineh, was born in Tehran on August 4, 1911 (13 Mordad 1290 AP). His father held many high government posts, including governor of Khorasan Province and ambassador to Italy. His mother, partly of European descent, was a professor at the University of Tehran. She was awarded the prestigious French Prix Rivarol, which the French government gives to foreign authors who write directly in French. She was related to the Habsburg rulers of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Tehran City in Iran

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.694 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 24th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.

Khorasan Province Former Province in Iran

Khorasan was a province in north eastern Iran, but historically referred to a much larger area comprising the east and north-east of the Persian Empire. The name Khorāsān is Persian and means "where the sun arrives from." The name was first given to the eastern province of Persia during the Sasanian Empire and was used from the late middle ages in distinction to neighbouring Transoxiana. The province roughly encompassed the western half of the historical Greater Khorasan. The modern boundaries of the Iranian province of Khorasan were formally defined in the late nineteenth century and the province was divided into three separate administrative divisions in 2004.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

As a child, Pakravan accompanied his parents to Cairo, where his father was appointed diplomatic agent. There, he received his primary education at the Lycée Français. He was then sent to Liège, Belgium where he attended high school and university. Pakravan then studied at the artillery school in Poitiers, France, and the Ecole d’Application d’Artillerie in Fontainebleau.

Cairo City in Egypt

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.

Lycée Français du Caire (LFC) is the French International School in Cairo. The school is operated by the Agency for French Education Abroad which runs 494 international schools worldwide.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Political life

Pakravan began his career at the Tehran Military Academy, where he taught artillery. He then served in a number of military, political, and diplomatic posts including adjutant in the Intelligence Department of the Second Division, military attaché in Pakistan (1949–50), chief of army intelligence (1951–53), military attaché in India (1954–57), deputy chief of the State Intelligence and Security Organization in charge of external affairs (1957–61), deputy prime minister and chief of the State Intelligence and Security Organization (1961–65), minister of information (1965–66), ambassador to Pakistan (1966–69), ambassador to France (1969–73), and senior counselor to the Ministry of Court (1974–79). Pakravan was known for being more compassionate than any of National Security and Information Department's other directors. However, Muhammad Reza Shah replaced Pakravan with his childhood friend Nematollah Nassiri in 1965. He returned to Iran in 1976 and was brought out of retirement in 1978 by the Shah in a last-ditch effort to curb corruption at the Royal Court. Pakravan's supporters noted his aristocratic and impeccable character as well as his intelligence and moral courage to be a source of consolation at the difficult times of 1978–79 when the Iranian Revolution took control of the opposition and eventually seized power.

Adjutant military rank

Adjutant is a military appointment given to an officer who assists the commanding officer with unit administration, mostly the management of human resources in army unit. The term adjudant is used in French-speaking armed forces as a non-commissioned officer rank similar to a staff sergeant or warrant officer but is not equivalent to the role or appointment of an adjutant.

Military attaché military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission

A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission. This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military forces of another state.

Pakistan federal parliamentary constitutional republic in South Asia

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

Relationship with Ayatollah Khomeini

Picture of Hassan Pakravan Hassan Pakravan.jpg
Picture of Hassan Pakravan

One of the more fascinating segments of the memoirs of General Pakravan's wife is the description of her husband's weekly luncheons with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1963, when the ayatollah was under house arrest.

Ruhollah Khomeini 20th-century Iranian religious leader and politician

Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and marja. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.

Ayatollah high-ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics

Ayatollah or ayatullah is a high-ranking Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah cleric. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, Quran reading, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hujjat al-Islam.

According to General Pakravan, "The ayatollah used to say in this very flowery Eastern way, 'Timsar [General], I count the days until we reach the day of our luncheon.'" He described the ayatollah as, very handsome, someone with extraordinary presence, a power of seduction and great charisma. They talked about religion, philosophy, and history. General Pakravan also found him to be very ambitious and secretive. "So much so that it made my hair stand on end. It was frightening," he told his wife.

Mrs. Pakravan confirms the well-known story that her husband saved Ayatollah Khomeini's life in 1963. He was condemned to death and General Pakravan was upset by that. Pakravan felt that Khomeini's execution would anger the common people of Iran. He knew that the population of the country is not its elite. He presented his argument to the shah. Once he had convinced the shah to allow him to find a way out, he called on Ayatollah Mohammad-Kazem Shariatmadari, one of the senior religious leaders of Iran, and asked for his help. Ayatollah Shariatmadari suggested that Khomeini be made a grand ayatollah. So, they made a religious decree which was taken by General Pakravan and Seyyed Jalal Tehrani to the Shah.

Death

After the Iranian Revolution, Pakravan was among the first of the Shah's officials to be executed. He was not allowed to have access to a lawyer and the charges filed against him were vague. Given the fact that he was retired at the time of the revolution, his execution seemed all the more unjust. Pakravan was a key player in convincing the Shah to commute the death sentence on Khomeini in 1963 and instead sending him to exile. Khomeini was first sent to Turkey, and then to Iraq, where he stayed until his expulsion and relocation to France in 1978.

In her memoirs, Mrs. Pakravan provides the following description of the arrest, imprisonment, and execution of her husband by the Islamic Revolutionary Court. She argues that General Pakravan was taken from his house to an unknown destination. When his son tried to contact him, he was told that the general was not arrested at all but that he was the guest of the Ayatollah. But in fact he was imprisoned shortly after his arrest.

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