1978: Martial Law

Radio announcement day before "Black Friday"

Radio Iran reads announcement declaring martial law on September 8, 1978. A day later scores of demonstrators were killed by soldiers at Tehran's Jaleh Square. It became known as "Black Friday" and "Bloody Friday".

Wikipedia: "Black Friday is the name given to September 8, 1978 (17 Shahrivar 1357 AP) and the shooting of protestors by security forces in Zhaleh (or Jaleh) Square in Tehran, Iran. The deaths and the reaction to them has been described as a pivotal event in the Iranian Revolution when any "hope for compromise" between the protest movement and the Shah's regime was extinguished."

Thanks to Milad Esfandiari for sending this audio clip. And thanks to Robert for making the video.


Recently by Jahanshah JavidCommentsDate
Hooman Samani: The Kissinger
Aug 31, 2012
Eric Bakhtiari: San Francisco 49er
Aug 26, 2012
You can help
Aug 23, 2012
more from Jahanshah Javid

Good question

by Fair on


"Why didn't Iranians vote for a democratic republic like the U.S.A. with the social freedoms of Amsterdam?"

They chose instead to have a religious leader who could overrule the people in case they wanted something unislamic. And we see the results today. The next generation was ruined as a result. Good job!

"That being said, it was correct to evict the monarchy. "

Sure, but only if you had something better in mind.

The majority didn't, they screwed up.

A small minority did, and they got ridiculed.

So I would say, even more idiot than the shah was his opposition, at least the mainstream one that the majority supported.

In other countries, when they got rid of their dictator, they replaced him with something better. Not us.

And the generation of children and youth of today pay. Big time. Nice going.



American Dream

Fair, you are absolutely right

by American Dream on

"he (THE SHAH) was completely clueless about the degree of domestic discontent"

What a complete idot, 30 million Iranians passed the Niavaran palace, where the Shah was living and they were chanting, "Death to the Shah".

The Shah must have been the biggest idiot of all time.

Yes, it was the Iranians who evicted the Shah and Bakhtiar from Iran in 1979.

That being said, it was correct to evict the monarchy.

Why didn't Iranians vote for a democratic republic like the U.S.A. with the social freedoms of Amsterdam?





At least Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

by Fair on

had the decency to leave power when it was clear that he was not popular.

What are the chances that Khamenei or Khomeini would ever do such a thing?

Like DK said, the Shah did not even have an anti riot capability, he was completely clueless about the degree of domestic discontent.

The IRI is not nearly as naive, and they have been preparing for this showdown for decades. And they have shown they will stop at NOTHING to stay in power.

Thank you to all those IRANIANS who came in the streets and demanded an Islamic Republic as the means for reaching independence and freedom, and laughed a man like Shahpour Bakhtiar out of the country and openly welcomed another man- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini- someone who commands respect still today in Iran 20 years after his death. A man whose only contribution to Iran was destruction and backwardness and descent into deeper and deeper ignorance.

I hope you are happy now..

I hope you will take responsibility for your actions, and stop blaming BBC and General Huyser and the PLO for something that IRANIANS drove and IRANIANS took the lead in doing. For the sake of your children, whom you have SCREWED.




Stop name calling and slandering each other...Remember the goal!

by aliash on

What I see here is a lot of name calling, and slandering of people who are irrelevant to today’s crisis. I am sorry to say that PLO has nothing to do with us now,and what shah did is not important unless there is a direct learning point that helps the people of Iran to fight the current tyrannical regime.
I believe there is one fact that we all need to remember, and that is the fact that the people of Iran have been struggling to get to a free and democratic rule for over 100 years. The goal should be how can freedom be achieved and how can we install a government in Iran which respects all of the Iranian people regardless of ethnicity or religion!

Darius Kadivar

Speaking of Blind Violence ... Does Cinema REX Ring a Bell ? ...

by Darius Kadivar on

On August 20, 1978, in the Cinema Rex fire, the Cinema Rex in Abadan, Iran, was set ablaze, killing approximately 500 individuals. Blamed on the SAVAK initially it is now believed that this crime was intentionally commited by Islamic Fundamentalists in an attempt to discredit the Shah's regime.



Shah had no balls

by XerXes on

Or he would stick to power. He thought that the US would take him/return him and was waiting for orders.
What a shame.



by anonymous111.2 on

You bring up a very good point.  The tactic of calling those who belong to the opposition foreigners or forgien agents is deeply engrained in our culture.  You even see it routinely on this site.   Don't forget that even the Shah used to use this tactic.  When Khomeini first surfaced in 1978 Shah claimed that it was an Egyptian officer that was in contact with him, and was behind this whole Khomeini phenomenon. 

It is a very convenient way of evading responsibility.   That being said, I do have a first hand account of some suspecious stuff that I will post later as I do not have the time to do so now. 

Darius Kadivar

Anonymouse Jaan Well I hope your right ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Well I hope your right ;0)



I want to call it what it was. This regime is "stablilty" too!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.

Darius Kadivar

Anonymouse So What are You Complaining about ?

by Darius Kadivar on

You Got what You Wanted No ? ! ? LOL

Your Revolution was A Success !



So much for Island of Stability! Khomeini ey Imam Khomeni y Imam

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.

Darius Kadivar

ISLAND OF STABILITY: They thought that they did not need it ...

by Darius Kadivar on

The White Revolution ( Enghelabeh Shah va Mardom) had made the Shah dellusional in thinking that he had the trust of the majority of his people and that revolution as such was impossible. In addition that if ever there would be demonstrations they could only be manipulated by outside enemies. Ironically very much like today's arguments used by the clerical regime to discredit the opposition. But I think that in the Shah's case he truly felt that the people in their large majority were on his side.

A Major mistake which made him spend more money on the military in order to be able to defend the country against  a foreign military strike or invasion by the Soviets or aggressive neighbours like Iraq. As A Result they ignored any chances of a aggression from inside the country.

Hence Jimmy Carter's infamous Statement: "Iran under the Shah is an Island of Stability ..."  



Shah's regime didn't have (or did not like) Anti-Riot Equipment?

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.

Darius Kadivar

The Shah's Regime did not have Anti Riot Forces or Equipement

by Darius Kadivar on

Ironically Unlike Today's Islamic Republic, The Shah's Regime did not have Anti Riot Forces or Equipement to deal with such general upheavels or violent demonstrations. This was confirmed by ABBAS the famous Photographer himself:


As for the violent and bloody aftermath that followed the Events in Jaleh Square for which General Oveissi was responsible. The latter faced his deadly fate after being assassinated in a street in Paris by the Islamic Republic's Death Squads.

I truly don't believe that the Army intended to massacre anyone during the clashes however many revolutionaries ( amongst which many radicals and probably armed to the teeth ) did do everything to provoke a bloody confrontation and that was what made the military trigger happy.

A Black Friday was the Pretext Khomeiny needed to avoid any form of compromise with the Shah's regime ( which was open to negotiations unlike the regime today) .

Also I do not see Any comparison between the way peaceful demonstrations were crushed by the IRI today with the Violent nature of the revolutionaries back in 1979.

If the revolutionaries back in 1979 had behaved the same way as they do today, what happened in 1979 would have at worst become a Civil Rights Movement ( an argument reformists today try to make us swallow in order to maintain the regime's institutions).

Compare What is Comparable ...

May the victimes of these tragic events rest in peace nevertheless.

My humble opinion,




I guess it is easier to stick our head in our a$$ and blame

by Bavafa on

Arabs then take and accept responsibility for our own short comings, some times cowardness and lack of accountability.  And when it is not the Arabs, surely is the English or Americans.  Of course we, the great Iranians are never do any thing wrong or ever to be blamed.

 No wonder, it has been so easy to take our country and our people for a ride for the pass few hunderd years.




by benross on

I personally would be more open minded about the conspiracy theory. After all, what they did in cinema Rex is not a theory. But the picture I currently have is that soldiers were doing what soldiers do, containing the protesters, and then one or more high ranking officers shot them all, with heavy machine-guns from a helicopter.


Thank you MRX1 for the info!

by payamshahfari on

Now can you provide us with some proof of the fact that those men shooting from the rooftop were Palestinians? Um lets start with their names then move on to verifying that evidence as well. Then provide some supporting documents that would confirm the info. You see, its not too easy to prove a claim whereas it is much easier to accept the fact that iranians are also capable of killing people, even their own people. It is more reasonable to accept the fact that iranians are also capable of tyranny and injustice rather than trying to point fingers at Arabs all the time. Sure there were some Arabs that were involved in the suppression, but why do you just focus on them rather than your own people who carry out tortures, rapes, and murders. Well, there might be a good reason. Simply that you are a racist and that you find it convenient to blame the Palestinians or Arabs or perhaps Islam as the root of all our problems. 


Jahanshah Javid Khan!

by Fatollah on

what is wrong with you? Are you trying to compare todays atrocities to that of 1978? We all know, 1360's while you were there dreaming! was the darkest decade in Irans recent history!

Now, please take a closer look at the photos: 



Those dead whatever their crimes don't owe you or anybody a damn thing! By the way, they were Iran's Heros, being part of a system that didn't get 700,000 Iranian youth killed in a useless war nor tens of thousand tortured then killed!



Shear Fear, I was there!

by fatemeholfati on

It is like yesterday, but i can say today i was there! or to be precise few street away and could hear the shootings. The whole place from Bahrestan was closed off and soldier in military uniforms was every where and they  were diverting the traffic. I was very frightened for my life and for few seconds i thought i will not be living for long. You saw fire, smoke and sound of gun shots everwhere with heavy military presence. For 24 hours the areas of Jaleh, Niro Havayi towards Afsarieh was one ball of smoke. We were hoping for regime change then, without knowing what will follow ,will be the death Jini out of te bottle, a religious and a monstrous dictatorship. Now I feel deeply sorry for what we did to a light hearted man called Mohamad Reza Pahlavi and most of all to Iran and Iranians. I am sure the youth of Iran today trying hard to undo the mistakes we did in 1979 and the are paying a heavy price for it. Long live Liberté, égalité, fraternité,


For the record

by benross on

I have a vague memory of the details of the event. The soldiers could not shoot civilians. They just couldn't and their superiors couldn't trust them doing it. I also remember the rumors about PLO involvement back then. I couldn't buy it then, and I can't buy it now.

But if you look at this picture carefully, this mass killing can not be the work of the soldiers. People would have dispersed. This is the job of a powerful machine-gun. I remember the story of using a machine-gun from a chopper. But I still think it was the Iranian army.


That's right PLO!

by MRX1 on

The order  that was given to the army was NOT to shoot at any protesters unless life of a soldier was  at risk. Even then the soldiers were supposed to be aiming below the knee which is why islamo facists came to power so easily with hardly any blood shed....

As for PLO, yes they were instrumental in over throwing the regime. They trained  all khomeini's killers in balbak,syria, libya and lebonon. they porvided man power and guns to so called reveloutioneries. They were the ones that started shooting protesters from the roof tops on that day the blame was passed to the army. Of course for their services  IRI gave them large sums of money. It was only after the start of war with iraq and full support of Iraq by PLO terminated that cozy relationship.



lol....good one BenRoss

by Benyamin on

I like your comment.....lol


One black Friday led to a

by benross on

One black Friday led to a whole black and bleak Destiny for the Iranians.

Not really. The game was already over by then. This was a desperate attempt by a desperate government.

There are those who were saying Shah should have dealt with the protesters like in Jaleh and it would have been over. There are some who still think so... notably Ali Khamenei!

American Dream

Dictatorship in Iran

by American Dream on

Dicatorships in Iran have existed for over 3000 years.



Black Destiny

by iroooni on

One black Friday led to a whole black and bleak Destiny for the Iranians.

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Palestinians killed Iranian demonstrators in Jaleh Square? Under the Pahlavi regime? Within the ranks of the Royal Armed Forces?

Why deny the truth? Why not admit that Iranians have killed Iranians? Do you need to blame Arabs to absolve our own sins?

When you deny crimes by your own people, your own compatriots, your own soldiers, your own government, you fool yourself and you let the true criminals get away with murder.


Talk to PLO

by MRX1 on

Ask your PLO boddies how they supplied killers to shoot people right and left and pass the blame to the army.


Who are the killers?

by Benyamin on

Do you remember Hosein e Fardoost?

He worked with bothdictotorial styles(the Kingdom and Islamic). I wonder how both dictatorial styles end up killing their own people? Who taught them? who told them? who gave/give moral permission to kill?

Are people of Iran disposable? Some arabic intellectuls across the arab lands believe Ahmadinejad is Jewish!!! All I know is that you have to be morally, idealogically and  nationalistically foreign to people you kill.

If so then WHO ARE THE KILLERS? in both Kingdom and Islamic of Iran? 


walk in the park

by mahmoudg on

Compared to attrocities committed by Islam, the Great Mohamad Reza shah Pahlavi's legacy has been sealed in history.  We now know that zahak's like Mohamad the Arab and his croonies, the Mullahs, have had the worst dictsatorships in man's recorded history.

میرزا چغندر

ایکاش اسدالله علم زنده بود...

میرزا چغندر

مطمئنم وارثان شاه ‌حالا از ‌آخوندها یادگرفته اند که حکومت نظامی را چه جوری اعلام و اجرا کنند. همانطور که ملا ها به درستی فهمیدند که شتر سواری دولّا دولّای شاهانه باعث دربدریست. باتمام اینها شب درازست و قلندر بیدار.