Darioush Bayandor

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Darioush Bayandor is a former Iranian diplomat and official who worked for the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Following the Iranian Revolution, he left Iran to work for the United Nations in the 1980s and 1990s before retiring to Switzerland where he writes and consults.[1]

Born in Iran, Bayandor served as a senior diplomat of the Iranian government in New York City and Tehran in the 1960s and 1970s.[2][3] During final years of the 1970s he served as Foreign-Affairs Adviser to prime ministers Amir Abbas Hoveyda, Jamshid Amouzegar and Jafar Sharif-Emami. After the Revolution in 1979, Bayandor briefly served as director of the regional bureau for the Americas in the foreign ministry before joining the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1980 where he led several offices in Asia, Europe and Africa over a twenty year period.[4] His last assignment before retirement in 2000 was the Regional Representative for Central Africa and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator based in Democratic Republic of Congo during the wartime in late 1990s.[5]

Bayandor began his academic career in 2006, publishing an essay about Iran’s iconic fourteenth century poet Hafez, under the title, "Hafez: A Face-Off with Virtue". He contested the perennial orthodox narratives which accord a gnostic sense to the language of love and worldly pleasures by the poet, and project a theosophical interpretation to his outlook.[6]

In 2010 Bayandor published his study on the fall of Iran’s respected nationalist Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, a fall which is widely attributed to the CIA. Titled, Iran and The CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited, Palgrave-Macmillan, (ISBN 978-0-230-57927-9), the book argued that the failure of the Anglo-American coup plot, codenamed TP-Ajax, that brought at its wake the flight of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to Baghdad, unleashed internal dynamics that culminated in a clergy-inspired uprising on 19 August. The event led to the downfall of Mosaddeq’s government after the pro-shah army units joined the fray in the afternoon of that day. Bayandor dismissed as prevarication the claim by the CIA operative in Tehran Kermit Roosevelt to the effect that he had planned events of August 19 two nights earlier in a “Council of War” held at the American Embassy in Tehran.[7]

Bayandor’s narrative stirred controversy in academic circles, reflected in a special edition of Iranian Studies in September 2012.[8] The brunt of criticism was on Bayandor’s affirmation of the role played by the supreme quiescent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Boroujerdi, deemed by others to be above the political fray.[9] Homa Katouzian, a historian and political scientist, dismissed Bayandor's book as "political".[10] Academics Fouad Ajami, Yann Richards, Shahram Chubin and Michael Axworthy praised the book as a valuable contribution to the literature.[11] The book received mixed reviews in the media. The Economist, while pointing to the polemical character of the new narrative, considered the author’s skepticism, “A useful antidote to Roosevelt's self-aggrandizing, which some later writers have mimicked uncritically”.[12] The Washington Times criticized the book stating that "a careful reading of Mr. Bayandor's book, along with the CIA history and Mr. Roosevelt's memoir, shows that there is a very thin element of truth in his revisionist theory".[13] However, when in 2017 the CIA secret files of the episode were released by the US Department of State, several documents bore out Bayandor’s contentions, notably regarding Boroujerdi's active role.[14] Among these documents was a dispatch by Roosevelt to the CIA headquarters on the very morning of Mosaddeq’s overthrow on 19 August which revealed that the CIA Station in Tehran had no knowledge of the events that were about to end Mosaddeq’s rule.[15]

In December 2018, Bayandor published a comprehensive history of the 1979 Revolution titled, The Shah, the Islamic Revolution and the United States, (Palgrave-Macmillan) (ISBN 978-3-319-96118-7). Portrayed as a multifaceted historical paradox, Bayandor delved into the roots of the revolution, highlighting cultural, demographic and historical factors that along with systemic flaws in the Shah authoritarian rule allowed incongruous socio-political forces to coalesce with the radical clergy to end the millennia-old monarchy in Iran.[16] The role played by Carter administration has been examined in several chapters based on Department of State archives including new batches released by Wikileaks in 2017. Brookings Institution described the book. “A very worthy addition to an already copious literature on Iran”.[17] Similarly, the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) praised it as, “An important and honest appraisal that adds to our understanding of how a formidable monarchy came crumbling down in 1979”.[18]

References

  1. ^ "Iran in the 20th century. Fall guy, How a prime minister was brought down". The Economist. 13 May 2010. https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2010/05/13/fall-guy.
  2. ^ Delegations to the General Assembly. 30. United Nations. 1975. p. 140.
  3. ^ Permanent missions to the United Nations. 238–239. United Nations. 1976. pp. 86–87.
  4. ^ UNHCR Representative for Malaysia, 1983-86; UNHCR Coordinator for Cambodian Refugees, 1989-91; UNHCR Representative for Bangladesh , 1991-1993; Representative in France, 1993-1997, see, Darioush Bayandor, “Pour une approche globale du problème des réfugiées” Autres Temps, No 50, été,1996.
  5. ^ Briefing by Humanitarian Coordinator in Kinshasa, UN Department of Public Information , Nov. 04, 1999 , https://reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/briefing-humanitarian-coordinator-kinshasa; International Herald Tribune: Look Away from Kosovo to See Crisis in Central Africa, https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/190/33332.html.
  6. ^ Bayandor, Darioush "Hafez: A Face-Off With Virtue". Journal of Middle Eastern and North African Intellectual and Cultural Studies. Binghamton, New York: Binghamton University. 4 (2) (Fall 2006).
  7. ^ Bayandor, Iran and the CIA, pp.118-122.
  8. ^ Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies, Routledge, ISSN 0021-0862,volume 45, number 45, September 2012.
  9. ^ Iranian Studies, vol. 45, No. 5, pp. 667-8, 67, 706-8 and vol. 46, NO 3, May 2013, pp.477-80.
  10. ^ http://www.radiofarda.com/content/f4_Homayoun_Katouzian_coup_28_mordad/2131844.html.
  11. ^ For praise by professor Ajami see the back cover blurb on the Persian translation of the book by Bijan Dolatabadi ISBN 978-1-59584-361-6, ( Ketab Corp-Los Angeles-2014). For opinion by prof. Yann Richard see, Regard français sur le coup d'état de 1921 en Perse,(Brill-2014) ISBN 978-90-04-28367-1, page 3; for professor Chubin’s comment see, Iran and the CIA, back cover blurb ISBN 978-0-230-57927-9; For Professor Axworthy’s comment see, Revolutionary Iran, ISBN 978-1-846-1429-8 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN., p.442n.
  12. ^ “Fall guy; how a prime minister was brought down". The Economist. 13 May 2010.
  13. ^ Joseph C. Goulden, The Washington Times, August 16, 2010; https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/16/how-the-shah-came-to-power/.
  14. ^ Document 192, dated April 16, 1953, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951-54Iran/d192; Document 193, dated April 117, 1953, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951-54Iran/d193 ; document 273, dated August 17, 1953, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951-54Iran/d273.
  15. ^ Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951–1954 (2017 release) document, 285, August 19, 1953, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951-54Iran/d285.
  16. ^ The 1979 Revolution in Iran: The Multiple Facets of a Historical Paradox, https://www.palgrave.com/gp/why-publish/author-perspectives/bayandor-blog.
  17. ^ “What to read to understand the 1979 Iranian Revolution”, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/01/28/what-to-read-to-understand-the-1979-iranian-revolution/.
  18. ^ Survival, IISS, April–May 2019, pp.219-20

External links

  • Iran Étude Association website, http://iranetudeassociation.com/
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