The Open Mind

Photo essay: In memory of Masoud Barzin

by Saeed Barzin
Masoud Barzin was a journalist and public-relations expert during the rule of Pahlavi II. His last official position was head of National Iranian Radio and Television under Prime Minister Bakhtiar. Born in Tehran in October 1920, Masoud Barzin died in August 2010 and was buried in Behesht Zahra cemetery. Photos with captions:

homo sacer

ELSE is where we are now. Needs mentioning?

by homo sacer on

Dear FR,

I inexcusably offered the whole laundry list, a la carte. I am delighted that you only chose the “beneficiary”. I would have picked that and the “collaborator”, as dessert. The rest we can both do without. Amen!

Thanks for the welcome. Mine is more of a torpor, than a true hibernation.


Farah Rusta

Sorry for an early end to a winter hibernation!

by Farah Rusta on

Welcome back homo jaan!

Your comments whether pro or against are always a most welcome contribution. You, so cleverly, have adorned me with so many accolades and attributes in a single comment that it will take me five or six separate comments to acknowledge them: revisionist, carrier of self-guilt, melancholic utterer, hopelessly retrospective, member of "IF ..THEN" club (what happened to ELSE?),exorbitant re-incarnate r of monarchy in addition to the traditional ones like a beneficiary of the old regime and of course a one time collaborator! Phew! I am tickled pink!Thank you for such generosity.


My only problem with accepting all these honours is that I must humbly confess that I don't deserve them all as I did not earn them. So if you don't mind I choose only one of them and leave the rest for more deserving candidates: I was a systems' beneficiary - Guilty as Charged :)  



Farah Rusta

Hoshang jaan I agree with you 100%

by Farah Rusta on


"if we haven't learnt anything from all that, what's stopping us from repeating the same mistakes, over and over and over ...."

Your words are music to my ears. Your point is precisely what I am trying to put across here. We cannot disown our past and until and unless we can come to terms with the past we can't hope for a stable future. This is how the Germans did it and this is how the Chileans are doing it (although in both cases the past is not - and must not be - forgotten).

I do remember all the cases that you have pointed out. I have never condoned any abuse of human rights under the Shah or under the Sheikh and I have no doubts that the excesses of SAVAK  (as well as some of the stories built around them) had their significant share of the public dissent that eventually led to the revolt of '79. But please remember that the opposition groups to the Pahlavi II were not entirley waving olive branches to their adversary either. Again, by no means am I justifying those excesses but I am trying to put things in context. Violence begets violence. I equally condemn the adherence to armed struggle by the opposition forces.

As I mentioned Chile let me expand a little on the case of Chile.l cannot equate the scale and heavy-handed treatment of the Chilean opposition by the Pinochet  system to those of their counterparts under the Shah. And yet, the Chileans did not resort to a bloody revolution to remove Pinochet. Also we had enough of the Chicago Boys and Berkeley Mafia  in our midst to have carried us forward. Perhaps there is a lesson for us to learn. Thank you for your comment.




Hoshang Targol

My apologies to Mr. Barzin

by Hoshang Targol on

My apologies to Mr. Barzin for my unwarranted intrusion into his post, and my condolences for the loss of his father, a distinguished journalist.

homo sacer

Dear FR,

by homo sacer on

Thank you very much for aborting my hibernation. Once again I witness the conflation of finger pointing and mea culpa being used to present a revisionist view of the Revolution that at once soothes one’s (or others’) sense of guilt and passes the buck, in order to counter what JJ correctly recognized as water under the bridge.

The fact that, “[a]lmost every week, if not every day, contributors take us back to the days of yore” is not an indication that “the saga is still very much alive”, but that theirs is the melancholic utterance of those who still live in the past.

All that one needs to do is to ask where these lifetime members of “IF…, THEN…”club live, and why? Then, it will be easy to realize that this endless retrospective is merely an expression of hopelessness, not a testimonial for a “saga” to be continued.

This retrograde view and exorbitant attempt at re-incarnating monarchy in any shape or form is no longer working even as a sedative for those who once “benefited from that system” and “collaborated with it too.” If there is a “saga”, it is the one being written every day in Iran by those who fight for a better future free of any form of patriarchy, religious or otherwise.

My apologies to Mr. Barzin for my unwarranted intrusion into his post, and my condolences for the loss of his father, a distinguished journalist. 

Hoshang Targol

Dear Ms. Rusta why is it

by Hoshang Targol on

that you could never remember SAVAK's collaberation with Hojatieh?

Could never remember Hezbe Rastakhiz?

Could bever remember Shah's speech on Iranian national television saying in plain understable Persian: " man sedaey enghelab shoma ra shenidam", " I heard the cry of your revolution".

After 31 years, do you think perhaps some of these historical facts might have been a contributing factor to the insurrection against monarchy? 

Gozasht o tamom shod. Yes. Correct, but if we haven't learnt anything from all that, what's stopping us from repeating the same mistakes, over and over and over ....

Farah Rusta

Gozasht, tamoom shod!!

by Farah Rusta on

Dear JJ


I didn't need to wait too long for my point to be verified.  Our dear Ghormeh Sabzi did it for me. The Sanjabi video appearing less than 24 hours after my previous comment on this thread is a clear display of how past has formed the present and why it cannot, and as you see, it will not be allowed to be consigned to the past. 

I don't blame you or others of your age for a second for supporting the revolution.But I do blame our fathers' generation for missing the most obvious and supporting the calamity of revolution (if they did). They were the ones who had seen the fickle nature of our so-called politicians, from before  1953 to after 1978, and yet they closed their eyes to their self-serving alliances. They knew what the Tudeh party stood for and who they and where they were coming from. They had been part and parcel of Pahlavi system's drive towards modernity and not only had they benefited from that system but they had collaborated with it too.

Yes it is easy for us to wisen up after the event but it was easier for our fathers to be wise at the time of the event because they were part and parcel of that event. We didn't need a revolution to change the system. Yet our fathers, some blindly and some willingly ,gave in to their adventurism and thought to do an experiment. The consequences of that experiment are still with us.



Farah Rusta

Thank you gentlemen

by Farah Rusta on

Your sincere answers to my question is deeply appreciated.  I just wished to add a couple footnotes to your comments if I may?

JJ Jaan, like you I wihsed I could say with the same certainty that all those events of the past are now past. Your own very site, however, bears witness to the fact that the past is not being left to sleep. Almost every week, if not every day, cotributors take us back to the days of yore and remind us that the saga is still very much alive.

And do you know why we revoloutionzed our country, in the way we did it? Because in the words of our dear Comrade, we did not care to justify it (these commies make for great rules!) And why didn't we justify it? Because we had forgotten our past.

Comrade Jaan, your trust in me is well founded and acknowledged.



Guru Rusta

by comrade on

Please allow me to assure you that I felt nothing but ascension when I made my humble comment on JJ's reply to my initial remark. However, I am not surprised that from your eagle-eye point of view, we folks down here are all descending.

The only point that I try to make now is that:

A revolution will not take place unless it is devoid of the need for justification. Our Great Revolution of 1979 was no exception to that commie-made rule!

I have not even an iota of doubt that you agree with anyone who says no to foreign dominance, and no to dictatorship. 

Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.


Jahanshah Javid

Today & Tomrrow

by Jahanshah Javid on

What secret Farah?

I thought I was pretty clear in expressing frustration that the revolution did us no good, whatever and however just and noble the stated goals may or may not have been.

Now, it's easy to say the revolution was a disaster. We can all see the aftermath. But 1979 was in 1979! Can't turn back the clock. Can't go back and make the Majles change its mind and approve the establishment of a republic with Reza Khan as a president. Can't bring Mossadegh back. Can't even reinstall the Shah. Gozasht, tamoom shod.

What about today? What about tomorrow? How should tyranny be fought against and dismantled this time around? Are we going to fight for democracy or just trying to get rid of the IRI? Are we going to respect human rights, unconditionally? Will everybody be equal under the law?

Farah Rusta

Excuse me

by Farah Rusta on

I am not sure if I follow you gentlem (JJ and Comrade).  Why should a photo tribute to Mr Barzin descend to justifying the revolution and the alleged removal of the foreign hands in the oil industry and Iran's politics?

Are there secret codes in between the lins that I cannot see?



Saeed Barzin

Honourable gentlemen

by Saeed Barzin on

Jahanshah Javid and Comrade
Please accept my apologies!

The third person in the photo is not "Mr Harris", as stated in the caption under picture 20. He is Peter Avery, the eminent Cambridge University scholar of Persian whose selected works include:
The Cambridge History of Iran (1991)
The Speech of the Birds (1998)
The Collected Lyrics of Hafiz of Shiraz (2007).

Thanks to Farhang Jahanpour (of Oxford University) who knew Avery in those years and brought the fact to my attention.


Of well done and JJ

by comrade on

Link whose exact job title has escaped me was the fellow who ran the show in Ahvaz and Aghajari's field, he was killed by revolutionaries in late 78, or early 79. NIOC was run under the foreign "top" management and SAVAK up to 1979. 

The revolution occurred because the previous dictatorial and foreign -leaning regime was no longer sustainable. Shah who was giving weekly audience to the British and the American ambassadors for God knows what, did not let Dr. Iqbal of NIOC to be present at any of His petro-negotiations. It had become a farcical one-man show which had to go down. And we brought it down very well.

On the subject of dictatorship which followed the revolution: One should not overlook its "national" element. Even, Shiism, the ideological vehicle which carries this dictatorship is more Iranian than what we wish to accept.

I can't leave this space before crying out so loud and clear:

NO TO FOREIGN DOMINANCE. NO TO DICTATORSHIP. (the order of no's is not negotiable)

Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.


Jahanshah Javid

Well done!

by Jahanshah Javid on


-- the NIOC got rid of its foreign management long before the 1979 revolution.

-- the revolution got rid of foreign interference in other areas, yes. But...

-- the revolution did not get rid of dictatorship, but brought about a more terrible one.

-- the revolution did not bring freedom, but severe limits on expression, the press and political participation.

-- the revolution did not reduce political prisoners or executions; they increased astronomically.

etc., etc...

Well done!


Not missing the Brit, not a single bit...

by comrade on

The removal of the foreigner in #20 was one of the the main goals of the Great Revolution in 1979. Job well done.

Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.


Nader Vanaki

یکی دیگر از بزرگان خدمتگذار مملکت - روحش شاد

Nader Vanaki

و یاد و خاطره اش گرامی باد. 

Jahanshah Javid

Great man

by Jahanshah Javid on

I'm glad to see these photos here, on It feels good to give something back to a man who was an inspiration to me just for being himself, for being sincere and deeply committed to serving his country. We don't see that kind of quiet, complete dedication to public service very often, anywhere.

Thank you Saeed.


JJ, you do look like your dad ;-)

by kazem0574 on

Providing the reference is about your dad in pic 20. 

Nice photo's. One day our children's children will see our photos and feel nostolgic.



Interesting life and pictures.

by Anonymouse on

I suggest removing the last picture.  I think death bed pictures, if any, are meant to be private. 

Everything is sacred


Yadeshan Gerami Bad

by foriran on

He was a dedicated and professional reporter, a man with dignity and courage.  He loved his country and his profession. Does he have any Memoir that will be publhished later on? Thank you for doing this.



by O. on


That was informative and emotional.

Life is so strange,

I looked at his face,

when he was a young man,

and then the last photo,

history of a man's life,

what he did and what he left behind.


Thank you so much for sharing.


Wonderful tribute

by Monda on

Thanks for sharing.

Sargord Pirouz

Neat collection. I

by Sargord Pirouz on

Neat collection. I particularly enjoyed the historical military photos. Thanks for posting.