Parviz Sabeti

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Parviz Sabeti
Parviz Sabeti.jpg
SAVAK Director, counter-terrorism division
In office
August 1957 October 31, 1978
Monarch Mohammad-Reza Shah
Preceded byLieutenant General Nasser Moghaddam
Succeeded byBrigadier General Ali Tabatabai
Civilian Adjudant to the Royal Court
In office
1969 October 31, 1978
National Security Advisor to Prime Minister
In office
November 1964 August 1978
Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda
Personal details
BornMarch 25, 1936
Sangesar, Semnan, Iran
Children Pardis Sabeti

Parviz Sabeti (born March 25, 1936 Sangesar) is an Iranian Bahai lawyer, former SAVAK deputy under the regime of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Born in Sangesar, Semnan province. Sabeti received a law degree from the University of Tehran and joined the SAVAK, Iran's intelligence agency in Shah's regime, in 1957, and quickly rose to become the acting director of the SAVAK's so-called third division—its political directorate—and later its director. [1]

Iran A country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With 82 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it 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. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the political and economic center of Iran, and the largest and most populous city in Western Asia with more than 8.8 million residents in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area.

SAVAK Secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty

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.

Mehdishahr City in Semnan, Iran

Mehdishahr (Persian: مهدی‌شهر‎, also Romanized as Mehdīshahr; formerly, Sang-e Sar is a city and capital of Mehdishahr County, Semnan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 20,581, in 5,473 families.


He has been called one of the most powerful men in the last two decades of Pahlavi regime. [1] Historian Abbas Milani describes him as "like a character from a le Carre novel" and says that "As his fame and reputation grew, his name and face disappeared from the public domain." [1]

Abbas Milani Iranian academic

Abbas Malekzadeh Milani is an Iranian-American historian and author. Milani is a visiting professor of Political Science and the director of the Iranian Studies program at Stanford University. He is also a research fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Milani has found evidence that Persian modernism dates back to more than 1,000 years ago.

Mr. Parviz Sabeti graduated from the Law School of the University of Tehran. He was initially hired as a Judge in the Ministry of Justice. Having shown a keen interest in public policy and politics he was recruited into the SAVAK, which was part of the Prime Minister's office, in 1959. This was a time when a new policy of introducing civilians into an organization staffed by primarily ex-military rank and file was introduce. Initially he worked as a political analyst in the department of internal security and very soon became the head of political analysis where he was in charge of preparing and writing daily, periodical and special reports which went ultimately via the chain of command to the Shah of Iran. [2]

University of Tehran university in Iran

University of Tehran is the oldest modern university located in Tehran, Iran. It is also one of the most prestigious universities in the Middle East. Based on its historical, socio-cultural, and political pedigree, as well as its research and teaching profile, UT has been nicknamed "The mother university of Iran". It has been ranked as one of the best universities in the Middle East in national and international rankings and among the top universities in the world. It is also the premier knowledge producing institute among all OIC countries. The university offers 111 bachelor's degree programs, 177 master's degree programs, and 156 Ph.D. programs. Many of the departments were absorbed into the University of Tehran from the Dar al-Funun established in 1851 and the Tehran School of Political Sciences established in 1899.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Last shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last King (Shah) of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.

Although Mr. Sabeti was philosophically against Marxism and radical Islam, he believed that arresting and prosecuting members of such groups should not be the only course of action. The cycle of actions and reactions of dissent, revolt, then crackdown would continue until the government, through substantial reforms, attempted to remove the roots of dissatisfactions and create more room for the participation of people in the political system. [2]

Impressions by the Shah towards Parviz Sabeti had changed by the late 1970 when Sabeti, as the de facto security advisor to the Prime Minister and spokesman for the government, provided a long and impressive TV interview exposing the plots by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein against Iran, with the collusion of internal enemies of the Shah. He continued to provide two more such interviews exposing the tactics of two major opposition groups, one Communist and one Islamic-Marxist. [2]

None of this undid however the fact that he was the only civilian leader to have reached a leadership position at SAVAK, with the inevitable friction with the more hard-line, one dimensional attitude of those with a military background. One example being his differences with General Nassiri who was chief of SAVAK and deputy Prime Minister for 14 years. Nassiri who was a loyal soldier for the Shah, very often had clashes with Sabeti. [2]

Sabeti and his family fled Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. [3] Pardis Sabeti, a Harvard biology professor, is his daughter. [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 Milani, Abbas. Eminent persians. Parviz Sabeti. Syracuse University Press, 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Ahmad Farasati
  3. Muhammad Sahimi, Parviz Sabeti and the Murder of Political Prisoners under the Shah, PBS Frontline (May 4, 2012).
  4. Pardis Sabeti, the Rollerblading Rock Star Scientist of Harvard. The recipient of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for natural sciences blazed a new view of how to treat infectious diseases via genetics. By Seth Mnookin. Smithsonian Magazine , December 2012