Shah's Miscalculated American Dream

  March 29, 2021   Read time 2 min
Shah's Miscalculated American Dream
Mohammad Reza Shah's visit to US deepened the gap between the people and the government. Anti-American sentiments started to flare up due to the existing tensions in the society. Many revolutionaries believed that Shah's dependency on US government is the root of the his despotism.

In November 1977 the Shah of Iran visited the United States. The Shah had been visiting the United States continuously since his accession to power in 1941. In the American press at that time an interesting series of photographs appeared that showed the Shah in friendly conversation with every American president since Truman. A commentary supplied by an Iranian friend seemed apposite. He said that those pictures of the Shah shaking hands with every incoming president reminded him very much of the traditional political practice in Iran when the provincial governor at the accession of every new king would travel to the capital city, offer some appropriate present to the king, be confirmed by him in his position, and then be sent back to the province under his control to resume plundering and looting for his own profit and that of the central government. We can say that this is a very apposite comparison for the appearance of the Shah in Washington to swear allegiance to every new American president. It turned out that this visit of the Shah to Washington was to be his final visit. It was one, moreover, that was overshadowed by unprecedented student demonstrations in America, so much so that the tear gas employed in putting down the demonstrations even drifted across the White House lawn and caused the Shah to shed a few tears. Despite the massiveness of the Iranian protest against the Shah on the threshold of the White House, Carter now undertook a total reversal of his policy and, far from criticizing the Shah or exercising pressure upon him to change his human rights policy, praised him in lavish terms, saying that there was complete identity of policy between the United States and Iran. This declaration of friendship and support to the Shah was repeated in even more exaggerated and fulsome terms when Carter visited Tehran. He said that he and the Shah saw eye to eye on the question of human rights — an interesting confession on the part of Mr. Carter. These expressions of support were to be repeated throughout the year at strategic and crucial points by the Carter administration.