June 29, 2017

Iftar At The Pejawar Mutt: Is This A Sign Of Hinduism’s Strength Or Weakness?


R Jagannathan- Jun 27, 2017, 10:25 am


Shares 1.9 K 



Hinduism has many vulnerabilities, including caste. It faces many challenges, including the aggressive conversion agendas of church and mosque.

The swamiji should ask himself whether he should be focusing on the latter and strengthening Hinduism from within, or opening mosques to signal his secularism.

Some Hindu groups have protested against the Pejawar Mutt’s head, Sri Vishweshateertha Swamiji, for allowing an iftar ceremony and namaz inside the mutt’s premises. The swami himself sees nothing wrong in this, and affirmed that he knows what Hindu dharma is. “Hinduism always talks about being good with other religions,” he said, adding, “this programme gives a clear picture that the Hindu community wants to live together in peace. Namaz was not done in the temple; it was done in the dining hall.”

The swamiji also mentioned that Muslims had called him to preach at mosques, and inaugurate mosques in Bhatkal, Udupi, Kasargod, Mangaluru and other places.

The swamiji’s statement, quoted at length in The Times of India, is simultaneously a tribute to the open-mindedness of Hinduism and its seers and a testimony to its naivete and inability to accept the Abrahamic religions on their own terms.

Good neighbourly behaviour with all communities is absolutely necessary, but the swamiji brings to the fore the classic contradiction Hindus face when confronted with aggressive and expansionary religions like Islam and Christianity.

Put simply, Abrahamic religions are exclusivist, and never, never accept the truth in any other faith or spiritual enterprise. Hinduism, being open to people following their own ideas of god, or even not accepting god, is essentially liberal in its attitudes; the Abrahamic religions are closed shops.

This makes the Hindu openness a vulnerability. A liberal is supposed to believe in freedom, and this freedom is available even to those who do not believe in being liberal. Thus the fascist can use the liberal’s openness to undermine him.

Democracies face the same problem. They have to, by definition, support free speech, even blasphemy and hate speech upto a point. But this same freedom allows an Islamic State to use media to canvass for jihadis and obtain cannon fodder for their violent and murderous cause. And everyone knows that if Islamic State ever gets around to running an actual state, it will not be a liberal state. There will be no place for any other religious freedom.

German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel noted that every proposition contains within it the seeds of its own destruction, and Hinduism’s open architecture – a term used by Indian-American author and Hindu activist Rajiv Malhotra – makes it vulnerable to religions that are not so open.

The Pejawar Swamiji should thus ask himself whether, as the head of a Hindu mutt, he should be busy opening mosques and delivering lectures there. If he is going to read the Bhagavad Gita or the Vedas in those mosques, that’s a healthy sign of openness in the Muslim community; if he can gain one convert to Hinduism that will be a triumph. But if he is going to deliver homilies on good neighbourliness or some generic form of spirituality, it will be underwhelming. Every Hindu seems keen to acquire the tag of being “secular”, and the mutt’s chief seems equally vulnerable to this charm.

Hinduism has many vulnerabilities, including caste. It faces many challenges, including the aggressive conversion agendas of church and mosque.

The swamiji should ask himself whether he should be focusing on the latter and strengthening Hinduism from within, or opening mosques to signal his secularism.

He could also ask himself: how open can Hinduism be when confronted with religions that are not open? Can Hinduism remain open if it does not counter conversion agendas with its own tools for retaining and expanding the Hindu population. Should Hinduism unilaterally accept the validity of all religions, or offer it only on a reciprocal basis?

The iftar at the mutt speaks of the large-heartedness of the Hindu approach, but it also underlines the limitations of one-sided large-heartedness.

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.


Shares 1.9 K 


R Jagannathan

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.


In Three Years Of Modi, Business Learns That India Is Not ‘Free Lunchistan

Huge Inflows Into IPOs, SIPs Suggest Indian Appetite For Equity Is Soaring

China’s Bid To Alter Border With India Thwarted, For Now

Sri Aurobindo To GSAT-9: The Evolution Of An Idea That Rests On Akhand Bharat

Roots Of Mob Violence Lie In Lack Of Police Reform, Not In BJP’s Rise To Power

The Branding Of Syed Salahuddin As Global Terrorist: Symbolic Yet Significant      

ISI Plotted Attack On Indian Parliament As Diversion To Help Osama Cross Into Pakistan, Says Book

Telecom May Be Down To Four Players By Year-End: Tata Tele May Be Next On The Block


You are reading 2 of 7 free articles for this week. Only Swarajya subscribers have unlimited acces

June 28, 2017


SEKANDAR AMANOLAHI (Shiraz University)


This paper deals with the consequences of the modern state on the Lurs of Luristan during the rule of Reza Shah (1925-1941), the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979). The Lurs (in New Persian pronunciation 'Lor'), including those of Luristan, Bakhtiyari, Kuh Giluyeh, Mamasani and many other smaller sections, are one of the several Iranian groups collectively comprising the majority of the population of modem Iran. The Lurs speak Luri, a southwestern Iranian dialect, which is the closest to modem Persian, the national language of contemporary Iran. The Lurs in general have been dealt with elsewhere;' hence we are presently concerned with the Lurs of Luristan, who for many years fought Reza Shah's forces. The Lurs formed their local dynasty of Atabakan-e Luristan (1 184-1597 AD), during the Seljuk era; this was subsequently replaced by another Luri dynasty known as the Vali dynasty (1597-1928 AD). Reza Shah terminated the latter in 1928, and hence the Luri dynasties ended after 744 years. The establishment of the modern state by Reza Shah demanded changes in traditional relationships between the state and the Lurs, a circumstance that led to bloody confrontation and the subsequent subjugation of the latter. This paper examines, first, the roots of the confrontation between the state and the Lurs, second, the policy of Reza Shah towards the Lurs, particularly the military campaigns against them, and third, the overall consequences of the state policies in Luristan.


The disputes between the Lurs and the state are rooted in the relationships between the Lurs and the traditional state under the S. Amanolahi, Qoum-e Lor: Paiuhdi! dar bareye Peyr'astegf-e Qoum! i'a ParL-andegf- e joyrMra-ye lorhJ dar Iran (The Lur: Research on the Ethnic Affiliation and the Geographical Distribution of the Lurs in Iran) (Tehran, 1991). ? Brill, Leiden, 2002 Iran and the Caucasus, 6. 1-2 Qajars on the one hand, and the nature of the modem state on the other. 1. The Consequences of Qajarrule in Luristan Prior to the Qajars (1794-1924) the whole of Luristan, including Pishkuh (modem Luristan; literally "before the mountain") and Poshtkuh (currently Ilam province; "behind the mountain"), was under the rule of the semi-autonomous Vali dynasty. However, when Aqa Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, overcame the Lur dynasty of Zand (1750-1794) and took control of Iran, he decided to weaken the power of the Vali dynasty of Luristan. Aqa Muhammad Khan, who had spent several years of his life in Karim Khan's court as a hostage in Shiraz, was an ardent antagonist of the Lurs. Apparently, he viewed the Vali of Luristan as potentially dangerous; therefore, he separated Poshtkuh from Luristan and limited Vali rule to that region only. From that time onwards, the province of Luristan was ruled by a governor-general appointed and re-appointed annually by the king. Most of the governor- generals were Qajar princes or other personalities; there was never a native Lur from Luristan. The provincial administrative apparatus consisted of the governor-general, deputy governor (nay)b ol-hokameb), a special deputy governor (pLs?ka, a clerk (monsi, a quartermaster (kafrpardaz), a small-armed force, and a number of attendants. With few exceptions, the governors never had sufficient armed forces at their disposal to maintain law and order and, more important, to collect taxes. Hence, they udlised the system of piskhkar, comprising a reciprocal pattern between the governor and a tribal khan, who was appointed as the special deputy governor (pishka4. The pishkar was rewarded not only by a monthly salary, but by other favours also. Furthermore, the position of pishkarn enhanced the power and the prestige as well as the income of the incumbents. In return for such privileges, the pishkar was obliged to make an available contingent of mounted men and foot soldiers from his tribe to assist the governor's forces to collect revenue and to establish law and order. Furthermore, he was required to remain in Khorramabad and advise the governor on various political affairs. The pishkar, in addition to the mounted and non-mounted armed force from his tribe, obtained the support of other tribal khans through alliance (bai'at. In short,  he was a valuable element in the provincial administrative organisation. The Qajars adopted the policy of nefaq afkan (to sow discord), simply put, "to divide and rule."2 The Qajars constantly pitted tribes and groups against one another. Thus, A. Wilson, who visited Luristan in 1911, reported: "The policy of every governor... ends by impoverishing the district and embittering tribal relations. Only coercion by an independent force can ensure permanent results. H. H. Salar-u-Dauleh, governor-general in 1904 and 1906, is responsible to a large extent for the prevailing anarchy. His ideas of government were limited to inciting one tribe to plunder another: he aimed openly at becoming Shah, and sought to enlist the support of Luri tribes, but without success. By his short-sighted policy he encouraged Lur chiefs to harbour hitherto unimagined pretensions, and showed them plainly the power to make and unmake governors was in their hands, as Riza Quli, Nizam-us-Saltaneh, his successor, discovered to his cost in 1907, and Muntass-u-Dowleh in 1909."3 Unfortunately, the state under the Qajars was extremely corrupt and practically every governmental position had to be obtained through bribery. The following citation from Curzon explains the nature of the state under the Qajars: "From the Shah downwards, there is scarcely an official who is not open to gifts, scarcely a post which is not conferred in return for gifts, scarcely an income which has not been amassed by the receipt of gifts. Every individual, with hardly an exception, in the official hierarchy above-mentioned, has only purchased his post by money present either to the Shah, or to a minister or to the superior governor by whom he has been appointed. If there are several candidates for a post, in all probability the one who makes the best offer will win."4 Such system of government allowed the princely governors and other high- and low-ranking officials to extort as much tax as possible. Considering the fact that the state economy was based on agro-herding, and the state revenue was derived mainly from taxes collected from the agriculturalists and the herding communities, it became evident that peasants and pastoral nomads had to bear the 2 C. De Bode, Travels in Luristan and Arabistan, 2 vols. (London: John Murray, 1845); H. Rawlinson, "March from Zohab to Khuzistan," Journal of the Royal Geographical Society9 (1839): 51; A. Wilson, Luristan (Zimla, 1912): 10. 3A. Wilson, op. cit.: 10. 4 G. N. Curzon, Persia and Persian Question, 2 vols. (New York, 1892), vol. 1: 438.  burden of the state expenses. Thus, as Curzon has pointed out, the Qajar state had a detrimental effect on the peasants as well as pastoral nomads: "If we examine this system in the light in which it affects the pockets and the interests of the governed, it is obvious that it must result in wholesale and illicit extortion. Take the case of the tenant or farmer of any office who had to pay a substantial price for his nomination. He requires, in the first place, recouping himself for this outlay. Next he has to collect the stipulated annual revenue for the royal or ministerial exchequer. Thirdly, he must be ready to purchase a continuance of the ever-precarious favour of his superiors; and lastly, not knowing when he may fall, he must provide for himself against a rainy day. Hereby is instituted an arithmetical progression of plunder from the sovereign to the subject, each unit in the descending scale remunerating himself from the unit next in rank below him, and the helpless peasant being the ultimate victim."5 Qajar rule had devastating consequences in Luristan, including its territorial disintegration, economic decline, political instability, and reduction of the settled communities and expansion of pastoral nomadism. In the following I will briefly examine each of these topics. 2) Territorial Disintegration One of the main consequences of Qajar rule was the territorial disintegration of Luristan. Luristan had continued to exist as a semi-autonomous territory since the establishment of the Lur dynasty of Atabeg in 1184 AD. In other words, the territorial boundaries of Luristan and its semi-autonomous status had remained unchanged since the Seljuk period. However, when the Qajars took control of Iran, they decided to divide Luristan, in order to reduce the power of the semi-autonomous Lur dynasty of Vali. Hence, they separated Poshtkuh from Luristan and reduced the Vali domain to that area only, comprising approximately half of Luristan. However, the Lur dynasty of Vali maintained its semi- autonomous status and ruled over Poshtkuh until the Pahlavi dynasty, when Reza Shah terminated its rule. 3) Economic Decline I Ibid: 442-443.  Luristan was a prosperous land prior to Qajar rule. The archaeological evidence, including the remains of villages, towns, roads, bridges, irrigation systems, such as daams and qanats (underground canals), and so on, indicates that Luristan was a well-cultivated land. It was occupied by three interdependent communities of towns, villages and nomadic pastoralists, a pattern common in many regions of Iran. The scanty historical sources, including Mustowfi,6 Shushtari7 and the Anonymous,8 support the archaeological evidence concerning the prosperity of Luristan prior to the Qajars. As a matter of fact, the anonymous author of the geography of Luristan,9 whose work is the most valuable source on Luristan during the Qajar period, naintains that the Qajar governors and officials were responsible for the destruction of agriculture in Luristan. He personally presented the manuscript to Nasser al-Din Shah (1848-1896), in which he frankly informed the king about the destruction of the agriculture and depopulation of Luristan by the Qajar governors and their officials. He wrote, for instance, the following: "The territory of the Ka'ed Rahmat and Dalvand [tribes] which comprises the upper Horu is well irrigated. Formerly, there were some 67 villages, all of which were encompassed by forts ranging from four, six to ten towers. They were well cultivated and populous. However, the governors have pounded and demolished these villages during the past twelve years and they have impoverished the peasants completely. Despite the policies and the efforts of His Majesty's eternally powerful government in sedentarising the rebellious pastoral nomads, they [the governors] have turned the peasants into rebels. The author still does not know why it happened. The farmers of Ka'ed Rahmat and Dalvand, as well as the farmers of Luristan in general, are better farmers than those of Khwar and Varamin..."10 The practice of tax extortion by the governors, their unwillingness to invest even an insignificant fraction of the revenue in agricultural development, along with their inability to establish law and order, practically forced the helpless peasants to flee from Luristan and to take refuge in the neighbouring as well as distant 6 Mirza Mluhammad Husayn Mustowfi, Amarhi-ye MiJ r-a Nizamr-ye Iran dar S&I-e 1128 (1715), ed. Mohammad Taqi Danesh Pazhuh, Farhang-i Iran zamin 20 (1975): 396- 442. 7Mirza Abdul-latif-khan Shushtari, Tuhfiat-ul-Wam (Tehran, 1984). 8 Anonymous, JoyrMPb-ve Lurstan (The Geography of Luristan), orig. 1882, ed. S. Amanolahi, Khorramabad: Ershad-i Eslami, 1991. 9 S. Arnanolahi, op. cit. " Ibid.: 44-45.  lands. Consequently, agriculture declined and rural communities were drastically reduced. The anonymous author" pointed out that the over-taxation and the insecurity forced the peasants of Luristan to migrate to Hamadan, Silakhur, Baghdad and other parts of the Ottoman Empire. In short, the Qajar practice of overtaxing and the incapability of maintaining security by the government led to the decline of the agriculture, trade and economy of Luristan in general. 4) Political Insta bility and TribalAutonomy As already indicated, the governors who were sent to Luristan were mainly concerned with collecting as much revenue as possible. Yet, with the exception of a few princes, they had only small irregular forces at their disposal and were unable to maintain peace and order. Only few of them (such as Muhammad Ali Mirza Dowlat Shah (d. 1821) and Mas'ud Mirza Zill-u-Sultan (1878- 1887)) who had sufficient forces at their command were able to establish temporary peace. However, in general, the periods of order were separated by lengthy intervals of disorder. C. J. Edmonds, whose political activities in Luristan became fruitless due to the Qajars' weakness and tribal autonomy, described the political condition of Luristan in the following manner: "Pish-i Kuh and Bala Gariveh, which form the subject of this paper, in contrast have been in a state of anarchy, certainly during the last century and probably throughout their history, with only brief intervals of comparative order under an occasional strong governor... In more recent times the Lurs have set at nought the authority of the Persian government. For some years after noc Persian governor has been able to penetrate from Borujerd to Khorramabad. The last attempt was the powerful Nizam us- Saltaneh, whose army, including a large force of Swedish trained gendarmerie, was completely defeated in Khorramabad in 1915. The same grandee was actually captured by the Lurs on the occasion of his previous appointment in 1907. The last governor really to establish his authority south of Khorramabad to Dizful was 'Ain-ud-Dawleh in 1899." 12 " Anonymous, op. cit.: 139-140. 12 C. J. Edmonds, "Luristan: Pishkuh and Bala Gariva", Geographicaljournal 59 (1922): 335-356, 437-453. The political unrest in Luristan became intensified after the assassination of Nasir ad-Din Shah (1848-1896). Several factors including the constitutional revolution (1905-1906), which weakened the Qajar absolutism, the rivalry between the Russian and British Great Powers, and the outbreak of World War I, contributed to further political instability in Luristan. In short, by 1907, Luristan was out of control and the Qajar governors could not enter Khorramabad. The Lurs refer to this period as dourayi xodsanf (the period of self-determination). During this period, the tribes were autonomous polities. The tribes of west and northwest Luristan were under the control of Nazar Ali Khan, the autocratic khan from the Amra'i tribe; the tribes of other regions, including the Baharvand, Biranvand, Chagani, Judaki, Papi, Qalavand, Sagvand and Salsalah, were autonomous. Each tribe was an autonomous polity and all social, legal and political problems were settled within the tribe. The tribes did not form a unified confederacy, and nor was there any separatist movement. Rather, they were mainly concerned with protecting themselves from each other and from outside intruders. In other words, they were constantly engaged in alliance and re-alliance against each other and the state. In short, Luristan under the Qajars became one of the most insecure regions in Iran, while in the meantime the Vali maintained law and order in Poshtkuh. 5) The Expansion of Tdbalism and Pastoral Nomadism Another outcome of Qajar rule in Luristan was the decline of the sedentarised communities and the expansion of pastoral nomadism. The Qajars' inability to maintain law and order resulted in insecurity and lawlessness, a condition, which enhanced tribalism, the expansion of pastoral nomadism and subsequent xodsari (self-determination) and tribal autonomy. The state had lost control of Luristan and people were responsible for defending themselves and their properties. The tribe as a socio-political system was best suited for offence and defence purposes during this period, since it unified a large number of people into a single polity. The expansion of tribalism and pastoral nomadism was a response to the insecure condition of Luristan. While the nomadic pastoralist tribes were well organised, armed and mobile, with military quality, the villagers and the urban population were practically defenceless. Thus, during the xodsari period, the nomadic pastoralist tribes took control of the crown land as well as  the lands owned by the urbanists (sgAhrnesPinfn). As a result, the powerless peasants who had no control over their properties and farm products, either joined the pastoral nomads, or left their villages. Khorramabad, the capital of Luristan, was reduced in size too. The following citation from C. J. Edmonds clearly explains the consequences of Qajar rule in Luristan: "The Lurs [of Bala Gariveh and Pishkuh] are all nomads living in black tents and moving with all their belongings between their winter and summer pastures with the changing season... The only town in the province is Khorramabad. There was a number of villages in Kurrehgah or the Khorramabad plain, but they were all ruinous and deserted when I was there in 1917. Indeed it is possible to say there is no village whatever in Pishkuh and Bala Gariveh."'3 Edmonds' remarks attest the sad reality of the agricultural destruction, economic decline and political unrest in Luristan as a consequence of the Qajars' rule. Edmonds' political mission in Luristan took place when the area had already deteriorated due to the Qajar policies. As a matter of fact, Rawlinson reported that the plain of Koragah (Khorramabad plain) was covered with villages and it was well cultivated when he visited Luristan in 1836: "After breakfast I rode into Khorramabad, a distance of 5 miles from the foot of the hills, through a richly cultivated district thronged with villages and gardens."'4 The plain of Koragah (Khorramabad plain) was taken by the Baharvand, who forcefully occupied the crown land as well as the land owned by the Khorramabadi landlords a few years after the assassination of Nasser al-Din Shah. Most of the peasants either joined the Baharvand or simply dispersed. REZA SHAH'S REGIIE AND THELURS Reza Shah's life and political career has been the subject of numerous publications.'5 Hence, this paper is mainly concerned with the consequences of his policies on the Lurs, an important topic neglected for a long time. Colonel Reza Khan, the commander of the Cossack brigade, was a native of Mazandaran, who along with Sayyid Ziya al-Din 13 C.J. Edmonds, op. cit.: 340. '4 H. Rawlinson, op. ct.:9: 97. '5 See, for example, the following: H. Noubakht, ?Ahani.fJ-ye Pahlavf(Tehran, 1923); G. Lenczowski, Iran under the Pahlaiis (Stanford University: Hoover Institution Press, 1978); E. Abrahamian, Iran between Twto Revolutions (Princeton Universitv Press. 1982).  Tabataba'i, a liberal politician, led a bloodless coup d'etat in February 1921. Sayyid Ziya became the prime minister, and Reza Khan received the title of Sardar-e Sepah (army commander) in the new cabinet. However, Reza Khan soon ousted Sayyid Ziya and became the minister of war in May 1921. Being the prime minister also, he fused the Cossack brigade, the gendarmerie and some parts of the south Persia rifles (the British-organised army in southern Iran), and subsequently built up a unified modern army.'6 In February 14, 1925, he assumed the position of supreme commander-in-chief, which was previously held by the Shah; finally he terminated Qajar rule in October 1925. Reza Khan was formally announced as Shah of Iran on December 13, 1925. The Reign ofReza Shah (1925-1941) Reza Shah's main goals were to establish a modern centralised and unified state under his absolute rule. R. Cottom states the following: "Reza Shah had two overriding goals that were for him inseparable as to be one and the same thing. He wished to restore some of the greatness of Iran and to establish for himself an absolute power within the reconstructed nation. His pursuit of these goals was determined and ruthless; any force that stood in the way of his achievement was mercilessly attacked and, so far as possible, destroyed. Thus, the independence of the tribes, the strength of the landowners, the Qajar court and liberal, democratic ideas-all were subject to his attacks."'17 Reza Shah was a patriot, but a dictator too. His goals for establishing a modern centralised state, with absolute power in his hands, were opposed by many forces, including tribal khans, local rulers (such as the Vali ruler of Poshtkuh), landlords, the clergy and the Qajar court, as well as the democratic and liberal-minded groups. In Luristan, the Khorramabadi urbanists, including the landlords and the merchants, actually supported Reza Shah simply because the absence of the state had resulted in tribal supremacy and the reduction of the urban political power. While the urban Khorramabadis, along with some of the tribal khans (such as Sher Mohammad Khan Sagvand, Husain Khan Baharvand and several others), did not oppose the new regime, many of the tribal khans were sceptical of the re-establishment and 16 H. Noubakht, op. cit.: 48. R. Cottom, Nadonalism in Iran (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1964).  domination of the state power. They viewed the new regime as another tyranny similar to the previous one. Furthermore, the state domination meant the end of tribal autonomy. From Reza Shah's point of view, the tribal nomadic pastoral way of life was backward. In one of his statements addressing the leaders and the tribesmen of Luristan in March 1924, he equated nomadic pastoralism with savagery. 18 He considered the tribes as an obstacle to modernisation and progress: hence the reduction of tribal power and detribalisation were in order. In short, Reza Shah's intolerance of any organised group or opposition meant changes in traditional state-tribe relations. Therefore, confrontation between the new regime and the tribes of Luristan was somehow inevitable. WVhen Reza Khan assumed power in 1921 with his ambitious plans for restoring the order and modernisation of Iran, Luristan was in deep anarchy. The conquest of Luristan was vital for Reza Khan for several reasons. First, Luristan was totally out of control and was practically autonomous, but without a unified governing body. Therefore, the mastery of Luristan was politically and militarily important for Reza Khan and his newly organised armed forces. Second, the quelling of Luristan paved the way for the state to control Khuzistan. Third, the control of Luristan was vital for trade, since the road through Luristan was the shortest one connecting the Persian Gulf to the heart of Iran. Fourth, the previous military attempts by the Qajars had repeatedly ended in defeat, and, therefore, the conquest of Luristan could demonstrate the vitality and superiority of the new regime. The AMfltary Campaigns Unfortunately, the sources dealing with the military operations of Reza Shah against the Lurs are scanty, unreliable and one- sided. The main sources include Noubakht,19 Genaral Razmara,20 Khwajeh Nuri2' and General Amir Ahmadi.22 None of these 8 H. Noubakht, op. cit.: 227. 19 Ibid: 108-109, 149-153, 225-258. 20 A. Razmara, Joyriifr-ye NezAmr-ye Lorestan (Military Geography of Luristan) (Tehran: The Army Press, 1941): 7-24. 21 A. Khwajeh Nuri, SepahbodAAmfrAhmadf(General Amir Ahmadi) (Tehran: Nikkhu, 1945): 32-44, 130-170. 22 Amir Ahmadi, Asnad-e Noxosttn Sepahbod-e Iran, Mo'assese-ye paiuheii va motale'at-e farhangT, 1994.  sources objectively treat the nature of the military operations in Luristan, rather, they deliberately distort the reality of these tragic events. For instance, none of them mentions the fact that the military victory was impossible without the support of some of the khans and tribesmen who took side with the army and fought against their fellow Lurs or persuaded them to give up fighting against the army. Nor do these sources mention the numerous treacheries committed by the army, which prolonged fightings and bloodshed, and the defeat of the army on numerous fronts. Instead they exaggerate the mnilitary achievements of the government troops, and praise the generals. Finally, there is no mention of the army atrocities, while the Lurs are denounced as as.rar (wicked), and yrF(outlaws). In any event, the scarcity of the historical materials and the unreliability of the available documents practically make it difficult, if not impossible, to reconstruct a full picture of the military operations in Luristan. The following brief account is based on the written sources as well as information gathered, during the past twenty-five years, from the informants who witnessed the war, including the khans, the tribesmen, and the government officials. In the spring of 1922, Reza Khan dispatched an army under the command of Major-General Ahmadi to Luristan. In the meantime, he appointed Mirza Ali Mohammad Khan Sherif u- Dowleh as the governor-general of Luristan. As the army and the governor-general reached Borujerd the war began in late spring 1922. The first confrontation took place between the army and the Bairanvand who had occupied part of the Silakhur valley adjacent to Borujerd during the xodsari period. The Bairanvand, a Laki- speaking23 tribe who arrived in Luristan at some point in the early eighteenth century, were the most troublesome in the region. The Bairanvand were the only tribe who were actually engaged in fighting against the army. Overall, the tribes of Luristan were not unified, and nor there was a pan-tribal organisation or a dominant leader similar to the Vali of Poshtkuh, to mobilise a large force against the government forces. In general, the condition of Luristan was as follows: 1) the inhabitants of Borujerd and Khorramabad, who had suffered from the tribal domination, were 23 Laki is a north-western Iranian dialect very close to Luri. It shares also some common features with Kurdish, particularly in its lexical system.  anxious to see the establishment of a powerful state to deal with the tribes; 2) the tribes of Tarhan were under the control of Nazar Ali Khan Amir Ashraf; 3) the Selsela (Salsalah) were under the leadership of Mehr Ali Khan Amir Monazam; 4) the Sagvand were divided into two branches of Ali Khani and Rahim Khani, whose khans had a common origin, but who were competing against each other; 5) the Bairanvand, the most troublesome, were ruled by several khans mainly from the four sublineages: Asad Khani, Haidar Khani, Ali Mohammadi and Morad Khani; 6) the tribes of Bala Gariva, including the Baharvand, Judaki, Mir, Qalavand and Papi, were ruled by their khans, each from a ruling lineage; 7) the Chagani were ruled by the khans also from a ruling lineage; 8) the Mir of Saimara were affiliated with the Vali of Poshtkuh, and the khans were also competing against each other. Within the tribes there were factions too. For instance, there was a feud between the Asad Khani and the Haidar Khani branches of the Bairanvand; therefore, when General Ahmadi and the governor-general arrived, Mansur Khan from the Haidar Khani sublineage joined the army to fight against the Asad Khani. In the meantime, Sher Makhu (Shir Mohammad Khan) of the Ali Khani sublineage of the Sagvand allied himself with the army in order to take revenge on the Rahim Khani sublineage. Thus, some of the influential tribal khans joined the army right away. In the meantime, the Vali ruler of Poshtkuh refused to take part in the war against the army, on the grounds that he was officially representing the state, and it was inappropriate for him to attack the soldiers of the state. However, the Vali ruler never intended to submit to the rule of Reza Khan, whom he viewed as a debased Cossack. The hostility between the tribes, and between the khans of each tribe, provided the opportunity for the army to practice the policy of "divide and rule." Thus, when the war began near Borujerd in late spring 1922, of the Bairanvand branches only the Asad Khani were fighting the army, while the Haidar Khani supported the army. However, the Bairanvand occupied several military positions, including Kaivara.24 The army recaptured these positions two weeks later when new forces arrived. In December 1923 the army, including three regiments, one squadron and artillery, under the command of Major-General Ahmadi, left Borujerd and headed toward Khorramabad. 24 A. Razmara, op. cit.: 11.  According to Mojezi,25 General Ahmadi made two costly mistakes. First, he turned down the advice of the governor-general to use the services of the numerous khans from different tribes who had come to Borujerd and offered help. Apparently, the entire army consisted of some 2,500 persons, which was relatively small. Second, on its way to Khorramabad, the army captured several kadxodas (kadkhodas, the heads of tribal sections) from the Yar Ahmadi section of the Bairanvand and took them along. The Yar Ahmadi thought that the army was planning to execute their leaders after reaching Khorramabad. So they moved fast and captured the strategic passage of Tang-i Zahad Shir, located a few miles east of Khorramabad, and waited for the army to come. When the first column of the army, under the command of Brigadier-General Mohammad Khan Shah Bakhti, reached Zahad Shir, it came under heavy attack from several directions. The fight lasted the whole day, and most of the column was wiped out and their arms and ammunition were looted. As General Ahmadi arrived with two columns, it was almost sunset, but he managed to break the siege and get to Khorramabad. The Khorramabadis welcomed the army, and even offered them shelter. Khorramabad was easily occupied because the tribes were in their winter territories in distant areas. The Execution of the Khans The governor-general, under the instruction of General Ahmadi, appointed Rahim Khan Moein al-Saltaneh as the governor (Hakem) of Khorramabad. He was from Khorramabad and was the governor of the city under the late Qajars. In the meantime, Nazar Ali Khan Amir Ashraf, the most powerful man in Luristan, was recognised as the governor of Tarhan. This was a wise decision, because the army avoided confrontation with this powerful autocrat. Furthermore, Shir Mohammad Khan, the ilkhani of Sagvand, from the Ali Khan faction was invited to act as the adviser to the governor and the army.26 Moein al-Saltaneh and Shir Mohammad Khan were closely allied and the two had served as the governor and pishkar respectively, prior to Reza Khan's domination. Through their broad political and kinship ties with the tribes of Bala Gariva, particularly Husayn Khan, the 25 M. Mojezi, Sa&6rhi-ve Rezf Shah be Lorestan (Reza Shah's Trips to Luristan) (Khorramabad: Edare-ye Koll-e Farhang va Honar-e Lorestan), 1977. 26 M. Mo'jezi, op. cit.: 39.
influential khan of Baharvand, these men worked hard to prevent confrontation between the army and the most of the tribes. However, General Ahmadi and his successor, General Khaza'i, acted according to the traditional Qajar treacheries and unjust executions; hence their policies resulted in bloodshed and the contnuation of hostilities between the tribes and the army. For instance, the khans of Bairanvand, including Sheikh Ali Khan and Husayn Khan from the Haidar Khani, whose life was guaranteed under Qur'anic oath by General Ahmadi, were captured while in Khorramabad and eventually put to death. In the same manner, Mehr Ali Khan Amir Monazam, the khan of the Selsela, who was actually accompanying the army in attacking the Bairanvand, was suddenly captured and hanged along with nine others in Khorramabad on the same day that the Bairanvand khans were hanged. Ahmadi's treacherous action caused distrust among the Lurs and made it clear that the army was unreliable. Consequently, the majority of the Bairanvand, who had given up fighting, rebelled again, although the other tribes still avoided confrontation with the army. General Ahmadi was the commander of the western division, whose headquarters were located in Hamadan. He returned to Hamadan, and Brigadier- General Mohammad Khan Zakareya (Shah Bakhti) became the commander of the army in Luristan. Tribal Unification and the Defeat of the Army The misconduct of a sergeant resulted in a revolt and unification of the tribes against the army.27 A sergeant (army officer) accompanied by several soldiers had a mission among the Romanis, a small tribe located west of Khorramabad. Not acquainted with the Lurs' culture, the sergeant shamelessly approached a newly married girl, in which case she immediately informed her husband about the sergeant's intention. The young man, who was extremely angry at this unexpected and outrageous behaviour, shot the sergeant dead. The news reached Brigadier- General Shah Bakhti, who, without investigating the event, dispatched some two thousand soldiers under the command of Colonel Fuladi to punish the Romanis. However, the Romanis were joined by the Chagani, who had been mistreated by the army and now took the opportunity to take 27Ibid: 54-57.  revenge. The two tribes fought fiercely and they defeated and looted the army. The news outraged General Shah Bakhti, who was competing with Ahmadi for glorification of victories and subsequent rewards and promotions. General Shah Bakhti took the field personally against the Chagani and Romani, and sought support from Nazar Ali Khan Amir Ashraf, who immediately sent his force headed by Ali Mohammad Khan, his elder son. However, the Chagani prevented Nazar Ali Khan from reaching the battleground. General Shah Bakhti was severely beaten; he retreated to Khorramabad with heavy casualties, including 120 dead and numerous wounded. A great part of his arms fell into the hand of the tribesmen. The news of the sergeant's misconduct and the defeat of the army reached the Bairanvand and the tribes of Bala Gariva. The Bairanvand khans of Asad Khani headed by Gholam Ali Khan (known as Khola) visited Husayn Khan of Baharvand in Dareh Nasab and asked for his support in unifying the tribes of Bala Gariva to attack the army. Husayn Khan tried to convince the Bairanvand that fighting would be ineffectual because r daulat bo nara ("there is no end to this government"). However, finally he agreed to support the Bairanvand and sent his eldest son to the khans of Papi and asked them to join the Baharvand and Bairanvand against the army. The Papi responded positively, but the Vali ruler of Poshtkuh, who was also invited to send support, declined to do so. Thus, several tribes, including the Baharvand, Papi, half of Judaki, the Chagani and most of the Bairanvand, collectively attacked the army positions in the vicinity of Khorramabad in the last week of May 1924. The tribes practically occupied all military positions adjacent to Khorramabad and drove the army into the fortresses of the city. Again, the casualties were too high, and the tribesmen captured a lot of arms and ammunition from the army. The tribes laid siege to Khorramabad for some 38 days.28 General Shah Bakhti, the commander of the army, who was frustrated at not receiving help from Reza Khan, decided to retreat to Borujerd. He asked Reza Khan's permission to retreat, in which case the permission was granted.29 However, the Moein al-Saltaneh and Shir Mohammad Khan Sagvand persuaded him not to move, as the army would be completely wiped out. Furthermore, they told him that the tribesmen could not continue fighting for too long, because of the 28 A. Razmara, op. cit.: 14. 29 M. Mo'jezi, op. cit.: 59.  shortage of ammunition, the lack of provisions, and the nature of their subsistence pattern, which involved their absence for long periods from the camp. While Shah Bakhti was desperately waiting for help from Tehran, the Khorramabadis supported him endlessly. Eventually, Reza Khan dispatched General Ahmadi with two regiments and three warplanes to Luristan at the beginning of June 1924. Ahmadi's forces reached Khorramabad and became engaged in fighting. The waxplanes bombarded the tribal camps but overall without much result. Ahmadi had clearly realised the importance of diplomacy, and for that matter he approached Husayn Khan Baharvand and several other khans through Moein al-Saltaneh's and Shir Mohammad Khan, who played a significant role in Reza Khan's victory in Luristan. They mediated between the army and the khans, and they succeeded in convincing their allied khans to give up fighting and submit to the army. Thus, while Khorramabad was under siege, a dispute over a captured cannon and other matters caused the Baharvand to withdraw from the battlefield. As the Baharvand withdrew, other tribes, including the Papi, Judaki and Chagani, withdrew too; hence the Bairanvand were left alone and eventually had to retreat. Upon the withdrawal of the Baharvand, Moein al- Saltaneh invited Husayn Khan Baharvand to meet General Ahmadi in Khorramabad. Husayn Khan accepted the invitation, but he demanded a hostage in order to guarantee his safety. Ahmadi sent one of his officers to Husayn Khan's residence in Dareh Nasab, where he was held for a month or two. Husayn Khan met Ahmadi in Khorramabad, and he was well treated. Husayn Khan was the first to establish a relatonship with the army after the executions of the khans by Ahmadi in 1923. In any event, Ahmadi asked him to mediate between the khans and the army, and he guaranteed the safety of those who would submit to the army through him. Husayn Khan mediated between Ahmadi and the khans, and managed to bring in many of the khans to Khorramabad, and some of them even joined the army in chasing the Bairanvand and others who still resisted the army. Thus, though the efforts of Moein al-Saltaneh, Shir Mohammad Khan and Husayn Khan, most of the khans, including those of the Mir, Judaki, Papi, Baharvand, Chagani, Sagvand and some of the Bairanvand, gave up fighting. In the meantime, Nazar Ali Khan Amir Ashraf, the autocratic khan of Tarhan and Delfan, who was recognised as the governor of Tarhan, had continued his co- operation with the army since 1923. Overall, General Ahmadi did not conquer Luristan by force; rather, it was the support and dedication of some of the Lur leaders that enabled him to restore peace in Luristan. Reza Khan, the commander-in-chief of the army, visited Luristan in the summer of 1924 while he was planning to attack Sheikh Khaza'l, the autocratic ruler of Khuzistan. Reza Khan planned to despatch the Southern Division (las'gar-e]onab) from Fars, and the Western Division (lasAgar-e yarb) via Luristan. The Lurs played an active role in supporting the army against Khaza'l. Surprisingly, none of the sources dealing with the campaign against Khaza'l mention the Lurs' contribution (those of Luristan, Kuh Gilu and Boir Ahmad) to the defeat of Khaza'l. Prior to the attack, General Ahmadi asked Husayn Khan Baharvand to visit Sheikh Khaza'l and find out his intentions. Husayn Khan knew Sheikh Khaza'l through the Sagvand khans of Rahim Khani, who resided in northern Khuzistan. He visited Khaza'l, and the sheikh was disappointed that the Lurs had stopped fighting against the army. Husayn Khan returned and informed Ahmadi about the situation and encouraged him to march to Khuzistan. Thus the army, along with Moein al-Saltaneh. Husayn Khan and many other khans, moved from Khorramabad to Dizful. When they reached Khuzistan, the Sagvand of Rahim Khani, headed by Mohammad Husayn Khan, along with many of the Arab tribal sheikhs, joined them and they entered Dizful without any incident. Moein al-Saltaneh and Husayn Khan and other khans remained in Dizful and helped the army to take control of Khuzistan. The Southern Division too was supported and accompanied by the Lurs of Kuh Gilu and Boir Ahmad. In any event, Khaza'l was defeated and was eventually captured and sent to Tehran via Khorramabad. The Execution ofMAoein al-Saltaneh and the Khans In 1925, Sheikh Khaza'l replaced General Ahmadi. Luristan was calm when Khaza'l arrived, but his treacherous act caused many disturbances and uprising among the tribes. Khaza'l had sworn on the Qur'an and guaranteed the safety of eleven khans of Bairanvand, including Gholam Ali Khan, Valialah Khan, Mirza Khan, and so on. However, when they submitted to the army, they were captured and were imprisoned in Borujerd. Then, Khaza'l invited Moein al-Saltaneh and Shir Mlohammad Khan  Sagvand to Borujerd for a friendly visit and also captured them upon their arrival, and they were hanged along with the khans of Bairanvand. Khaza'l left Luristan immediately, but his treachery resulted in distrust and rebellion, and hence the prolongation of war and much unnecessary bloodshed. It is not clear whether Khaza'l personally initiated the execution or whether he carried out the order from General Ahmadi and Reza Khan. No matter who made the decision, it was certainly unwise, unjust and untimely. Perhaps some of those khans deserved severe punishment, but certainly not Moein al-Saltaneh and Shir Mohammad Khan, whose invaluable services enhanced the establishment of peace in Luristan. Khaza'l served in Luristan for a year only and was replaced by General Shah Bakhti in 1926. However, he caused a great deal of damage to peace and he left behind much trouble for his successors as well as for the peoples of Luristan. General Shah Bakhti established warm relations with most of the khans except some of the Bairanvand, who had rebelled because of the treacherous execution of their kinfolk by Khaza'l. One of the major confrontations between the army and the Lurs took place in Tarhan in 1926, during Shah Bakhti's mission in Luristan. Ali Mohammad Khan Amir A'zam, who had replaced his father Nazar Ali Khan, the autocratic leader of the Tarhan tribes, was somehow offended by some of the officers who were in Tarhan, west Luristan. Ali Mohammad Khan disarmed the officers and their soldiers, and in the meantime he was joined by some of the khans from the Mir of Saimara and Judaki. General Shah Bakhti took the field personally against Ali Mohammad Khan and his allies, but the Lurs besieged him for three weeks. Had the tribes of Bala Gariva joined the tribes of Tarhan, the army would have been demolished, and the conquest of Luristan would have been jeopardised. Had the Vali of Poshtkuh joined the tribes of Luristan, Reza Khan's forces would have never been able to march through Luristan. In any event, the army exploited and even enhanced the animosity among the tribes in order to take control of Luristan. Ali Mohammad Khan and his allies were eventually defeated, and Amanolah Khan, a distant cousin and a rival, who supported the army and was rewarded by Reza Shah during his visit to Luristan in 1928, replaced him. The fight between Ali Mohammad Khan and the army was the last major confrontation in Luristan. Nevertheless, some of the khans and kadkhodas from Bairanvand continued their resistance. In the meantime the army was assisted by most of the khans of Bala Gariva and some of the khans of Bairanvand in pursuit of those who were fighting against the army. General Ahmadi returned to Luristan and replaced Shah Bakhti in 1928. One of the major events in Luristan was the assassination of General Abdollah Tahmasebi, the minister for transport in early 1928. General Tahmasebi was a close ally of Reza Shah, and he played a significant role in terminating the Qajar dynasty. He was killed in Luristan while he was on his way to Khorramabad. It is not clear who was behind this tragedy, but General Ahmadi had been suspected of being connected with it. NI. Mojezi has indicated that it was believed that General Ahmadi could have saved Tahmasebi's life, but the physician whom he brought from Borujerd to cure the wounded general was not serious in saving his patient.30 As a matter of fact, there are numerous cases in which Ahmadi and his colleagues took the life of some of the khans (as well as other opponents) with the help of physicians, who injected air into the victim's body. Ahmadi viewed General Tahmasebi as a rival, and moreover, several of my informants maintain that General Tahmasebi had informed Reza Shah that Ahmadi and his close entourage were responsible for the prolongation of the war in order to magnify their military achievements. General Tahmasebi was sympathetic towards the Lurs, and his assassination was a great loss to Luristan. In 1928, the Luristan-Khuzistan paved road was completed, and Reza Shah, along with the entire cabinet and the national dignitaries, including several Bakhtiyari khans, Qavam al-Molk Shirazi, members of the clergy, the khans and personalities from the western provinces, participated in a big ceremony held in Luristan. Thus, with exception of some of the Bairanvand khans who were still at war, the tribes of Luristan had abandoned fighting in 1928, and the army was in control. Policy Measures Implanted by the Army in 1929 In 1929, General Ahmadi was the commander of the western and southwestern forces. Although at that time practically all khans of Bairanvand had given up fighting, some of the kadkhodas, particularly Dustmorad from the Zaidalli section, still 30 M. MIo'jezi, op. cit.: 87-92.  continued fighting in the Kabir Kuh Mountains. However, by late 1929 the army had already gained full control of Luristan. After the final appeasement of Luristan, in order to annihilate the social-political bases of any unexpected political development in the future, the government began to implement the following policies in Luristan. 1. The Exile of the Tribes Some of the tribes, such as the Mir of Samara, a section from the Bairanvand, the Agha Reza'i of Sagvand Rahimi and most of the Sayyeds, were exiled to Khorasan and other regions. 2. The Exile and Execution of the Khans Many of the khans-Ali Mohammad Khan Amir A'zam, Husayn Khan Baharvand and some of the khans of the Bairanvand, Judaki, Mir and Delfan-were exiled to Tehran, in which case some were executed while others remained in jail until Reza Shah's abdication in 1941. General Ahmadi betrayed some of the khans who had helped the army all the way to gain control of Luristan in the belief that the new regime would establish security and justice. Ahmadi, who became the first general under Reza Shah, sacrificed his closest friends and allies, on the pretext that all khans were rebels and the Ahmadi forces had captured them on the battlefield! 3. The Replacement of the Khans by the AMilitary Officers As soon as the army gained power, the tribes came under the military government (Hokumat-e Nezarm). Each tribe came under the supervision of a military officer who resided among the tribe. The military governor replaced the khans, but the kadkhodas (the heads of sectons) were re-established formally as the representatives of the state, albeit without any salary. The military governor maintained law and order with the assistance of the kadkhodas; the khans acted as mediators between the governor and members of the tribe. In short, the army had total power over the life and property of the people of Luristan. There are numerous cases in which the territory of one tribe or group was taken and given to another tribe, group or individual. 4. Forced Sedentarisatdon There is clear evidence that the state desired to settle the tribes of Luristan in the late nineteenth century; however, it was unable to achieve that task, because the tribes were too powerful.31 Yet as soon as the newly established regime gained power, for the first time in the history of Iran, the policy of forced sedentarisation of the tribes, including those of Luristan, was implemented. Reza Shah detested pastoral nomadism and simply viewed it as a savage way of life. Obviously the motivation behind the sedentarisation was political, because once the tribes lost their mobility. It was easier to keep them under tight control. Unfortunately, the sedentarisation took place without planning and without considering its unforeseeable consequences. Therefore, it resulted in the loss of herds, economic devastation for the tribes and subsequent human suffering. 5. Disarmament of the Tuibes As pointed out, the disarmament of the tribes of Luristan started in 1924. However, from 1928 onwards, the army demanded complete disarmament, which considerably reduced further the power of the tribes. 6. Imposed Dress Codes In 1929, the National Assembly of Iran (the Afajles) under the direct order of Reza Shah outlawed the traditional clothes and obliged the adult males to wear "Pahlavi caps" (kolah-e Pahiam). In Luristan this law was never enforced fully. The Lurs refused to change their traditional clothes, and only an insignificant numiber of males, particularly those who were dealing with the government, adopted the "Pahlavi cap" while visiting officials. The women's clothes remained totally unchanged.


The modern state established in Iran by Reza Shah was significantly different from the traditional state under the Qajars. 3' S. Arnanolahi, op. cit.:41.

It was characterised by the following features: 1) The existence of a relatively modern army equipped with modern weapons, which functioned as the main pillar of the state; 2) the usage of a modern bureaucracy, including full-time government personnel divided into various ministries and agencies; 3) the establishment of a modern court system replacing the traditional judicial system dominated by the clergy; 4) the concentration of power in the capital in the hands of a single powerful dictator; 5) the unprecedented influence in individual life through various administrative apparatus and agencies; 6) the unprecedented involvement in public-oriented developmental programmes, such as public education, sanitation and transportation; 7) the unprecedented demand for total ethnic and regional integration into a unified centralised national policy; 8) the usage of modern Persian (Farsi) as the state language. While the army was gaining control, the state apparatus, including the office of governor-general, municipality, gendarmerie, police, justice, agriculture, registration, finance, post office and telegraph, and roads were gradually established in Khorramabad, the capital of Luristan. The domination of the modern state in Luristan resulted in a variety of changes, including the following. 1. Political Decline One of the major consequences of the establishment of a modern state under Reza Khan was the decline of political power among the Lurs. The Lurs had established their local dynasty of Atabakan-i Luristan (the Atabegs of Luristan) during the Seljuk rule in 1184 AD, which was replaced by another Luri dynasty known as the Vali dynasty (1597-1928 AD). These two dynasties had maintained a semi-independent status in Luristan for nearly 744 years. Furthermore, they had guarded the territorial integrity of Luristan and defended the southwest boundaries of Iran against the Ottoman Empire for centuries. The domination of the modern state resulted in the abolition of the Vali dynasty, the termination of the semi-independent status of Luristan and the subjugation of the tribes in that region. Thus, Luristan was nationally integrated, albeit without any role in the decision-making process. Practically all-vital decisions affecting the life of the people of Luristan were made in Tehran without the real participation of the Lurs. 2. Changes in the Boundaries ofLuristan Considering the fact that the Lurs had stood against Reza Shah and fought against him much longer than any other groups, it is no wonder that he tried to take revenge once he had taken control of Luristan. He deliberately changed the name of Poshtkuh of Luristan to Ilam (currently the province of Ilam) after the termination of the local Vali dynasty. He even changed the name of Deh Bala (the summer residence of the Vali) to Ilam too, which is currently the capital of Ilam province. Furthermore, he annexed that territory to the Kermanshah and Khuzistan provinces for several years. Later Luristan and Poshtkuh became two provinces during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah (1941-1979), but with new boundaries. Thus, in contrast to the past, the boundaries of Luristan were determined by the state, which altered the traditional boundaries of that region. 3. Termination of the Tribal Autonomy As pointed out, the tribes defied the state in the late Qajar period, and Luristan became an autonomous territory, albeit one without a governing body. Hence, each tribe had become an autonomous entity. The conquest of Luristan by the modem state, and the replacement of the tribal khans by the military officers, not only ended the tribal autonomy, but also affected the traditional socio-political organisation of the tribes. The presence of the state reduced the power of the tribal khans over their tribesmen, and therefore affected the traditional patterns of authority, which were basic for the tribal integrity and the continuation of the tribe as a political entity. 4. The Domination of Urbanists over the Tribes Prior to the establishment of the modern state, the tribes dominated the urbanists (ahrnesmTan) and even occupied most of the farmland owned by the Khorramabadis and Borujerdis. Furthermore, the tribes also controlled the trade routes, which affected the activities of the merchants. However, once the state had taken control, Khorramabad, the capital of Luristan, became the centre of power. The urbanists established close ties with the state officials and often registered in their own names some of the  lands and pastures of the tribes who were weakened by the state. Often the urbanists mediated between the state officials and tribes, and hence raised their own prestige. In short, the sedentary community gained superiority over the nomadic pastoralist tribes for the first time in the history of Iran. 5. Land Registration During the xodsari period, the ownership of land was practically determined by force: that is, the tribes took land by force from each other or from Khorramabad. So the land title hardly proved anything. The new regime changed that pattern by a land registration act. Yet the new regime committed much injustice too. 6. Legal Changes The tribes, and the people of Luristan in general, settled their disputes according to the Luri tradition, which was based on Islamic and pre-Islamic regulations. The European-based judicial system of the modern state was not in accord with the traditional rules and regulations. In addition, prior to the domination of the modem state, the Lurs had settled their dispqtes internally. However, once dominated by the state, the disputes had to be settled in court, in which state personnel made the final decision. In any event, the contradiction between the two legal systems complicated the dispute settlement. 7. Changes in Subsistence Patterns As pointed out, the Qajars' rule resulted in the expansion of pastoral nomadism and the decline of agriculture and the sedentary way of life in Luristan. In contrast, the new regime forcefully sedentarised the pastoral nomads, and subsequently their subsistence from herding, only supplemented by farming, switched to farming-herding activities. The former pastoral nomads gradually became engaged in agricultural activities, and as the process of modernisation speeded up several decades later, the occupational diversities of the population increased rapidly.  Changes in the Socio-political Organisation of the Tribes The appearance of the modern state not only changed the traditional state-tribes relation, but also affected the socio-political organisation of the tribes. Traditionally, it was based on a patrilinear system, in which the social status of individuals was determined by their affiliation with the patrilinear descent groups. In other words, the individual position within the society was almost circumscribed. These circumstances gradually changed under the new state, mainly due to new opportunities and occupational diversification, which took place in connection with the forces of modernisation. Thus, the new state initiated changes, which subsequently led to alteration of the traditional status, despite the presence of the patrilinear system of descent. The imposed identity cards by the state provided the opportunity to adopt new family names instead of the names of patrilinear groups. Previously the Lurs were identified by the names of their patrilinear groups, tribes and tribal sections. However, under the new regime, the individual chose a family name rather than the name of his patrilinear group. Conclusion During Qajar rule Luristan was in fact an autonomous territory. However, the absence of any powerful dominant khan or any socio-political entity, on the one hand, and the nature of tribal political kin organisation and the competition for leadership within the tribes, on the other, prevented the unification of the tribes and the appearance of any form of pan-tribalism or supra-tribal political entity: hence the constant anarchy and turmoil in Luristan, especially during the late Qajar period. The appearance of a modern state under Reza Shah, which was characterised by centralisation of power and unified Iran under the leadership of a powerful dictator, led to military confrontation between the state and the tribes of Luristan. Reza Shah succeeded in conquering Luristan after a decade of military campaign and numerous casualties. The conquest of Luristan took place mainly due to the pursuit of the policy of "divide and rule," rather than the military superiority of the army. The domination of the state under Reza Shah terminated the Vali dynasty of Poshtkuh of Luristan, the longest local dynasty of Iran. Tribal autonomy and as the autonomy of Luristan were also terminated. Thus, the state took full control of Luristan (Poshtkuh and Pishkuh) after centuries of semi-independent existence. The conquest of Luristan by the newly established state changed the traditional relationships between the state and tribes, and the urban population and tribes. The nomadic pastoralist tribes lost their traditional political importance, while the state and the settled communities gained superiority over them. Furthermore, the state interference along with the developmental programmes set in motion forces of modernisation, which gradually affected the tribal way of life, including the traditional socio-political organisation and the patterns of authority, the subsistence pattern, worldview, and material culture. In short, the Lurs became nationally integrated, but without effective participation in national affairs. Reza Shah hardly paid attention to the educational programmes in Luristan, which were the most important means for social mobility and participation in national affairs in a developing society such as Iran. However, in the post-Reza Shah period, particularly during the past four decades, the educational facilities, particularly the elementary and secondary school were expanded. Consequently, a significant number of the younger generation have found their way to higher education in different- fields. This new trend is reviving the socio-political importance of Luristan, which declined under the Qajar and the Pahlavi dynasties.

Latest row started as India became 'roadblock' to China's plans: Experts


By Indrani Bagchi, TNN | Updated: Jun 29, 2017, 08.01 AM IST

Sherathang at Nathula main road , about 14200 feets height and just 7 kms from Nathu la pass.

NEW DELHI: China's aggressive road building exercise into Chumbi valley in the strategically located tri-junction betweenIndia, Bhutan and China, the source of the current stand-off between the two neighbours, is part of Beijing's plans to gain strategic advantage in the region, say experts. 

India stopped China's road building, which was followed by Chinese troops destroying Indian bunkers and stopping pilgrims from travelling to Kailash Mansarovar through theNathu La route. 

Ashok Kantha, former envoy to China said, "While both sides broadly agree on the alignment of the boundary in the Sikkim Sector, there are differences on the tri-junction point, which involves India, Bhutan and China. There are also differences between India and China on interpretation of the watershed boundary in this sector. 

What is a matter of concern is that instead of dealing with the situation that has arisen as in Chumar and Demchok in 2014 or Depsang in 2013, China is expanding the differences by suspending the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La, which has a wider resonance at the popular level in India. This is an unfortunate escalation by China." 

China has been taking advantage of Bhutan's inability to counter them by repeatedly making incursions and widening Chumbi Valley, which is a concern to India. Bhutan looks to India to be its security guarantor. India is currently in a strategically advantageous position in the Chumbi Valley, but the Chinese want to change that on the ground, hence the repeated jostling. But this is the first time, the Chinese government has taken diplomatic counter measures. 

"India should not allow Chinese roads to be built to Chumbi valley. This is part of China's expansionist designs which would compromise Bhutanese and Indian security," said an expert who didn't wish to be identified. 

It was over a decade ago that the then Bhutanese King refused to accede to Chinese pressure to give up a key ridge in the area to Chinese control. That was done with Indian help as both countries realised the danger of allowing China to build roads in this area. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wednesday, "India wants to raise an issue with this part. I should say it doesn't belong to Bhutan, nor does it belong to India. So we have complete legal basis for this. Chinese construction of the road project is legitimate and normal action on its territory. No other country has the right to interfere." 

Mohan Malik, China expert at the Asia-pacific Centre for Security Studies pointed out the essential discrepancy in the Chinese position since Beijing refuses to accept the 1914 agreement on the McMahon line on the grounds that it was done with an imperial power. Bhutan is a universally recognised sovereign country. "Hope countries can respect the sovereignty of the country. The China-Bhutan boundary is not delineated, no third party should interfere in this matter and make irresponsible remarks or actions," he said.

(This article was originally published in The Times of India

Indian Railways: Tickets in regional language

Today, (28th June 2017)in our Passenger Amenities Committee Meeting of Indian Railways, I proposed a new policy initiative.  If you book a railway ticket, you will only see the details of journey either in Devnagiri or English.  I proposed that the regional languages should also be made available on the ticket.  There was a huge resistance from the officers.  They said it is not feasible.  I asked them "if a passenger does not know Devanagiri or English, and knows only his mother tongue, how will he know whether the Booking Clerk has issued the right ticket or wrong ticket?" 

Then the Railway Board officers said that the software has to be rewritten; and it is not possible by railway team.  I said "in this Digital India era, if Indian Railways can not rewrite a software, then I will get it written by software engineers and donate it to my former employer".  After an hour of arguments and counter-arguments, they AGREED that they will rewrite the software. 

After six months, example if you take a ticket at a counter somewhere in Punjab, you will see the details in Gurmukhi also in addition to Devnagiri (Hindi ) and English. 

If you take ticket somewhere in Odisha, you will find the travel details in Odiya also. Like this, you will find the details of travel in one of the regional languages given in the Constitution besides Devnagiri & English.

A great achievement indeed on its completion.  You know, nobody in my Committee supported me.  They were mere spectators; and I all alone argued with my own former colleagues.

However, as Dr. Subramanian Swamy's disciple, I feel proud that I could do something worthy as Member of PAC, for which I was nominated by him.

- *Asheervatham Achary*
Gen Sec,
Virat Hindustan Sangam(VHS) www.vhsindia.org

Q&A: Confront and Conceal author David Sanger

“There’s nothing ‘childish’ about raising issues of great public import”

By Paul Starobin

JULY 2, 20121853 WORDS

Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power | By David E. Sanger | Crown | 476 pages, $28.00

Every White House keeps secrets, especially when it comes to national security. It’s the job of the press to learn those secrets and reveal them, unless—and it’s a big unless—the press is convinced that doing so will harm the country. In his new book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, David E. Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, navigates this tricky terrain in an effort to tell the public as much as he possibly can without jeopardizing active U.S. operations or the lives of those people involved in them.

Confront and Conceal, parts of which were excerpted in the Times, is rich in revelations: a detailed account of “Olympic Games,” a US-Israeli initiative to use a cyber-weapon to disrupt and delay Iran’s nuclear program; a look at American attempts to locate Osama bin Laden through a “highly classified” technique involving “traceable” digital cameras; the nugget that the National Security Agency “routinely taps” the cell phones of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence. Sanger’s reporting is based, in part, on conversations with Obama administration policymakers and intelligence officials.

Sanger, who has reported on White Houses going back to the Clinton administration, has been applauded for his tenacity—and taken to task for spilling too many beans. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan decried a climate of indiscretion in which she depicted Sanger as too willing a participant. “Why is this happening? In part because at our highest level in politics, government and journalism, Americans continue to act as if we are talking only to ourselves,” Noonan wrote. “There is something childish in it: Knowing secrets is cool, and telling them is cooler.” Meanwhile, the Justice Department, under fire from Capitol Hill, has appointed two prosecutors to trace the leaks that inform the Sanger book. Sanger himself conceivably could be called to testify.

From his vacation home in the Vermont mountains, Sanger spoke with me over the phone about the uproar over his book, his reporting methods, and the broader themes that illuminate Confront and Conceal, which stands out as the most comprehensive and penetrating account available anywhere of Obama’s national-security policies.

Paul Starobin: The central theme of the book is that President Obama has established a new “light footprint” strategy as a means of asserting American power around the world—a strategy that can be called “confront and conceal,” with a reliance on covert techniques of warfare, such as cyber-weapons, drones, and special-operations forces. This is opposed to a strategy of putting large numbers of boots on the ground in hotspots or not intervening at all. In what sense do you mean that President Obama’s use of American power is “surprising,” as is said in the book’s subtitle?

David Sanger: Before Obama’s election, the right referred to him as a “community organizer,” which was phraseology or a code word for “not qualified to be commander in chief” and “not tough enough.” And the left referred to him as someone who would rely almost entirely on engagement. The national-security policy that has emerged from the first three years of President Obama’s time in office has surprised both his critics and his supporters. This book is about the surprises.

PS: Did you feel surprised?

DS: This is a very pragmatic, tell-me-what-we-need-to-do-to-get-it-done crowd. It may be the least ideological administration I’ve covered. In the degree [of the relative absence of ideology] it surprised me.

PS: It’s clear that in this book you’re harvesting the fruit of a longtime cultivation of sources. These people are part of permanent Washington, and so are you. With a source like [national security advisor] Tom Donilon, did you have an agreement with him at the outset of the book—that he was going to be a kind of sounding board? How does it work with someone like that?

DS: There were no agreements with anyone who is quoted in the book.

PS: Did Donilon or other sources get to read a draft of what you were preparing?

DS: No.

PS: But as you’ve said, there were parts of the manuscript that the government asked you to withdraw or omit certain details.

DS: That was almost entirely limited to the Olympic Games and Iran portions of the book. [In a footnote in the book, Sanger acknowledges that “some details” on the “traceable” digital cameras program were omitted “at the request of government officials.”]

PS: How did the government know what the details in the manuscript might be?

DS: I went to them, to the government—I am not going to be any more specific about who in the government—and I said, this is what I have. This is very standard New York Times practice. Exactly what we did when we handled the Wikileaks material in 2010. If there are concerns about ongoing operations, lives that would be endangered, or future operations, we tell them, ‘let’s talk about that now before it’s published.’

PS: I actually hate this amorphous term, “the government.”

DS: I discussed the issues with officials whom I thought would be knowledgeable on the subject. I suspected that there could be some sensitivities. Almost all of their concerns were of a technical nature.

PS: What’s your response to Peggy Noonan—her column saying that there was something “childish” about your disclosures of national-security secrets in the book?

DS: I saw that. I profoundly disagreed with it. There is nothing ‘childish’ about raising issues of great public import, and how we conduct ourselves in overt and covert wars is a central question in any democracy. At the same time, I don’t think that there are any people more aware than reporters covering national security for The Timesand elsewhere that whatever is published these days is published around the world. And I was acutely aware that I was writing this book for an international audience.

Let me reinforce a point that I didn’t see in her column. Let’s go to the key disclosure that has people so intently interested, which is Olympic Games. How was it that the Iranians learn that the Natanz enrichment center was under cyber-attack? Did they learn it from David Sanger’s articles? I don’t think so. They learned it in 2010 when the [computer] worm escaped from the Natanz enrichment center and thanks to an error in programming ended up being replicated around the world. At that moment, the whole world knew Iran was the target of a cyber-attack. And the Iranians publicly attributed the attack to the US and to Israel.

PS: The overriding concern of Noonan and others is that Obama administration officials massively leaked to you for this book. I’d like to read you something that C.L. Sulzberger, a former chief foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times, once wrote on this very topic. “Rule A for a newspaperman,” Sulzberger said, “is that ‘leaks’ are the food of the trade; and over the years I have found that, as with the best drinks, the leak always fizzes from the top. The desire for indiscretion at the upper level seems compelling.” That’s about right, don’t you think?

DS: It was certainly not my experience in this book. This whole story developed from the bottom up. I don’t like the phrase “leaks,” because it conveys, in some sense, that you’re sitting on your back porch sipping an iced tea and someone calls you up and says, “Do you want to meet in a garage? I have this file for you on this highly classified program.” In 30 years at The New York Times, that has never happened to me. It happens in the movies, and I guess it happened to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, but it never happened to me.

The best way to report these [stories], I find, is from the very ground level up, so that by the time you end up going to the government, you basically have the entire story, and my experience in the past is that if government officials contribute it is usually to try to deduct things from the story rather than to add to them.

PS: Still, it’s clear that many senior administration officials talked to you. Why?

DS: I think it is pretty self-evident that they are making the argument that the president acted decisively and in their view rightly. I would not say that that is a unique characteristic of the Obama administration. Throughout the Bush administration, how many tick-tocks did you read about decisions to invade Afghanistan, to invade Iraq? It was exactly the same thing.

PS: So it’s basically a sophisticated form of public relations and image building?

DS: Yes, I think it’s a sophisticated form of trying to portray whoever the president is, Democrat or Republican, as a strong leader. If you’re a sophisticated correspondent, and have been doing this for a while, you recognize that for what it is. That isn’t to say that the facts you gather along the way are wrong.

PS: You’re based in Washington, and I have the impression, from reading the book, of a reporter who is extremely well plugged into the highest levels of Washington policymaking. Yet we know there is this phenomenon of groupthink in places like Washington. How can you avoid groupthink? How can you escape the collective wisdom of the community from washing over you and influencing your own judgments, whether consciously or not?

DS: It’s a constant challenge. There is a huge amount of groupthink in Washington. You have to guard against it all the time. The only thing that I’ve found that works is getting out and traveling a fair bit so that you’re getting an entirely different view.

I’ll give you an example. From Washington there is a view that President Obama reacted very quickly to the Tahrir Square uprising. By Washington standards, he decided to abandon a longtime ally in Mubarak and back the uprising at record speed, just in a matter of weeks. I sort of went along with that assumption. Then I got to Egypt for reporting on the book, and went out one night with a number of twenty-somethings who had been out in Tahrir Square. And their view was entirely the opposite—that Obama had taken far too long, that he had dithered. And they felt somewhat permanently alienated from him.

So the only way I know to combat the groupthink of Washington is to go out and have these conversations.

PS: Are you feeling at any legal risk because of the leaks investigations?

DS: I think most of the investigations don’t appear to be focused on journalists.

PS: Have you hired a lawyer?

DS: The Times has people who handle all of this, as does Random House [publisher of Confront and Conceal].

PS: This book is a follow-on to your first volume, The Inheritance, on Obama’s national-security decision making. Is there a third volume on the way?

DS: [Laughing.] I haven’t given it a moment’s thought.

Click here for a complete Page Views archive.

China #Pakistan and #Iran's dirty game in the region.

By: Waris Baloch

China #Pakistan and #Iran's dirty game in the region.

Iran and Pakistan both are on same page when it comes the issue of occupied Balochistan because both have invaded Baloch land.

During the regime of Zulfiqar Ali Bhuttu, in 1973's liberation struggle of Balochistan was on its peak, lead by Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and Babu Shero Marri and fellow Baloch guerrilla fighters, Iranian Air force and its army provided fighter jets to Pakistan army which mercilessly killed thousands of Baloch civilians, a huge number of cattle were killed and confiscated. Baloch villages were bombed to ashes. Children, women and entire families were wiped out from the surface of land.

Baloch freedom fighters fought 15 day uninterrupted battle with Pakistan army on the mountains of Kohistan Marri. Pakistan army was supposed to declare its defeat but Iranian jets come to rescue the Pakistani ground troops on the mountains of Kujjul and surrounding areas of Kohlu.

It was #Iran who backed Pakistan militarily and weekend the Baloch resistance by bombing their civilians. Baloch freedom fighters due to lake of ammunition and ration lost the war and were made arrested in a large number where they were kept in concentration camps in Kohlu, Sibi, Zhob, Loralai and Quetta army cantonments. The exact number of abducted and martyred Baloch civilians and armed fighters have never be known but  Baloch locals says approximately 50000 Baloch along with their families were apprehended and 15000 were martyred whereas 10000 Pakistan army personnel were also killed during the face to face battle with Baloch freedom fighters.

Pakistan and Iran both have been collaborating with each other to crush the Baloch liberation movements in the past because they think that if anyone of them (Iran and Pakistan) loses control over Balochistan regions and Balochistan becomes an independence state then both of them will also have no option but to withdraw its forces from #BalochSoil. That's why Pakistan and Iran both are killing Baloch by using different tactics and names.

Pakistan kills Baloch and label them the agents of India, America, Israel and Afghanistan but Iran publicly hangs Baloch from  pro-freedom school of thoughts and labels them drug traffickers and smugglers to avoid the charges of war crimes. Iran has been plying its cards very cleverly by labeling the resistance and uprising of Arab, Al Ahwazi, Kurds and Balochs as drug smugglers. Iran has been trying to suppress the movement of mentioned nationalities by the barrel of the gun but on the other hand supporting the unrest in #Yemen, #Iraq #Labenan #Syeria, #Bahrin, #Saudi Araibia, #Afghanistan and now in #IndianOccupiedKashmir.

Iran is also located in a very strategic location, #Chahbahar port is belongs to Balochistan which is part of #Gwadar also known as #BalochOcean. China and Pakistan are unlawfully building a naval base in #Gwadar despite the warning and resistance by indigenous liberation movement of Baloch people. Iran shows no objections and concern over the so called #CPEC in #Gwadar which indicates that Pak-Iran have share interests and common goals to plunder the Baloch resources and give a military power on Baloch sea and land. Balochistan is the sources of unity and togetherness of Iran and Pakistan because of Balochistan.

The interests of Iran and Pakistan will never collide because their policy makers think a strong Pakistan is in the favor of Iran and in return Pakistan also provides its nuclear weapons and military guidance to Iran to fight United States to protect Chinese interests in #Balochistan region. China had assured Iran and Pakistan that her presence in Baloch territory will boost Jihad in #Kashmir which will benefit Pakistan, Chinese presence also will accelerate insurgency in Afghanistan which also benefits Pakistan and Iran because an economically feeble and politically unstable #Afghanistan is in the favor of Pak-Iran-China. There are undeniable proofs about Iranian infiltration in #Afghanistan where security officials of Afghanistan have been pointing the ginger on Iran that it pumps money to fighters and giving safe sanctuaries to Taliban and other groups fighting against #NATO and Afghan forces. 

The influence of China in subcontinent particularly and in occupied Balochistan specifically is to create its hegemony in the region. It supporting Pakistan and its proxies in the region to counter India, USA and Afghanistan. We have been seen that she aggressively backing Paksitan at all levels in other words #China is undeclared representative of #Taliban #HakaniNetworks and #ISIS because it always been seen convincing Afghanistan to talk with Taliban. Recently China once again offered to host the talks between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Taliban.

In #UnitedStates China twice used its Veto power to save the #Kashmiri leader #AzharMasoud which is also enough proof her involvement in #Kashmir unrest. 

Now Iran also came openly in support of #KashmirJihad that is a crystal clear proof of Iranian diplomatic support to #KashmirJihad. Iranian supreme leader Ayatullah Khamenei's twitt came after a day when United Sate declared #Sayed Sallaudin the #Kashmiri armed group leader as international terrorist. Iran came in the rescue of #Kashmiri armed group sponsored and funded by Pakistan which is also a prove of Pak-Iran nexus in #Kashmir.

Indian government must re-think its policies regarding #Iran because Iran is also an occupied forces in the eyes of Baloch people. If India, USA and Afghanistan, Gulf countries and rest of the world  really wants a stable world with durable peace then they must diplomatically, morally, politically and militarily support Baloch secular forces and their independence struggle.

The liberation of Balochistan and Kurdistan are the only ray of hope in the region because since decades world has been trying to heal the world's peace by terror sporting countries like Pakistan and Iran.

Word powers committed blunders in the past by giving aid and weaponizing Pakistan who's army sheltered the world's most wanted terrorist #Usama Bin Laden for a decade, gives safe havens to #Taliban #ISI and other religious groups. We hope such blunders will not be repeated this time.

Iran accuses US of 'brazen plan' to change its government, violating UN charter


Published June 28, 2017

Associated Press


Iran is accusing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of "a brazen interventionist plan" to change the current government that violates international law and the U.N. Charter.

Iran's U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Tuesday that Tillerson's comments are also "a flagrant violation" of the 1981 Algiers Accords in which the United States pledged "not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs."

Tillerson said in a June 14 hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the 2018 State Department budget that U.S. policy is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons "and work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government."

"Those elements are there, certainly as we know," he said.

Kohshroo said Iran expects all countries to condemn "such grotesque policy statements and advise the government of the United States to act responsibly and to adhere to the principles of the (U.N.) Charter and international law."

He noted that Tillerson's comments came weeks after President Hassan Rouhani's re-election to another four-year term and local elections in which 71 percent of the Iranian people participated. Rouhani is a political moderate who defeated a hardline opponent.

"The people of Iran have repeatedly proven that they are the ones to decide their own destiny and thus attempts by the United States to interfere in Iranian domestic affairs will be doomed to failure," Kohshroo said. "They have learned how to stand strong and independent, as demonstrated in the Islamic Revolution of 1979."

He said Tillerson's statement also coincided with the released of newly declassified documents that "further clarified how United States agencies were behind the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh, the popular and democratically elected prime minister of Iran on Aug. 19, 1953."

At the June 14 hearing, Tillerson said the Trump administration's Iranian policy is under development.

"But I would tell you that we certainly recognize Iran's continued destabilizing (role) in the region," Tillerson said, citing its payment of foreign fighters, support for Hezbollah extremists, and "their export of militia forces in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen."

U.S. lawmakers have long sought to hit Iran with more sanctions in order to check its ballistic missile program and rebuke Tehran's continued support for terrorist groups, and on June 15 the Senate approved a sweeping sanctions bill..

The bill imposes mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure also would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo. It now goes to the House.

Senators insisted the new Iran sanctions won't undermine or impede enforcement of the landmark nuclear deal that former president Barack Obama and five other key nations reached with Tehran two years ago.

Joe Biden's Blunt Admission About Clinton's 2016 Bid