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New Left Review I/47, January-February 1968


M. Raheen

A Letter from Iran

For many months now, the dominant subject of discussion in Iranian Government circles and in the Government-controlled mass media has been the Shah’s coronation, which took place on October 26th Huge sums of money, reaching tens of millions of pounds, have been spent to decorate the cities, and the Ministry of Information has brought all its weight upon creating the image of a happy and prosperous nation whose ‘revolutionary’ Emperor has solved all her problems for her and which is praying for the health of His Imperial Majesty every minute of the day. In circumstances such as these, however, the truth usually lies at the other end of the scale, and the question that many observers of the Iranian scene are asking is whether Iran is a Vietnam in the making. For, as we shall see below, 14 years of firm rule by the Shah have not improved the average Iranian’s ill fortunes, with his income of less than £30 per year. Furthermore, the extreme corruption of the Civil Service, soaring cost of living, staggering numbers of the unemployed, brutal suppression of political opponents, and many other factors have robbed the majority of the people of the slightest hope for a better future under the present régime.

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