Shah's Words on Rastakhiz Party

Shah's Words on Rastakhiz Party
by Masoud Kazemzadeh

In March 1975, Mohammad Reza Shah abolished his sham two-party system and replaced it with his one-party system. In a chilling speech, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ordered all Iranians from the 9th grade up to register to become a member of the Rastakhiz Party. The Shah declared:

"Those who believe in the Iranian Constitution, the Monarchical regime, and the principles of the White Revolution, must join the new party. Those who do not believe in these principles are traitors who must either go to prison or leave the country."


Misagh Parsa, Social Origins of the Iranian Revolution, p. 183.


more from Masoud Kazemzadeh

Masoud Jaan

by R2-D2 on

Thank you so much for your response -

Please let me share with you a thought that I believe is perhaps obvious to everyone:

The alternative to this Islamic regime is only a "Secular Democracy" - By that I mean either a Parliamentary System, as in Britain, etc., or indeed a Federal System -

Based on the historical aspects of our beloved Iran, a Parliamentary Democracy would perhaps be more suited (I know that our Kurdish brothers and sisters, and other significant minorities, have been promoting a Federal System) -

Having said that, I believe that in our Parliamentary Democracy, the Political Power (I want to emphasize that: The Political Power) should and must reside in the Parliament, the Cabinet, and the office of the Prime Minister -

The Prime Minister is indeed the Head Of Government - As the Head of State, which is indeed a Ceremonial Role, we can have either an elected President (as in Germany, etc.), or a Constitutional Monarch (as in Great Britain, Spain, etc.) -

To be honest with you, in my thinking, this Head Of State thing is really a secondary issue - The set up of the Political Power as I have described above is truly the Primary thing -

Now, if our beloved brothers and sisters in Iran want to have an elected President as their Head of State, that's indeed fine with me - Similarly, if they want to have a Constitutional Monarch, and have the Pahlavi family come back to Iran, that's fine with me also -

As you can see, our choices are very clear, concise, and to the point - What I'm trying to say is this: We Don't Have to Re-invent The Wheel All Over Again :)

I believe that all of us Iranians in diaspora should help our brothers and sisters in Iran totally, completely, and fully to dislodge and eviscertae this dastardly Islamic regime - As I have said earlier, Religion and Politics have never, and will never, properly mix together - Whether it was in Europe hundreds of years ago, or in our beloved Iran today -

Again, thank you so much for all of your wonderful efforts in bringing about an intelligent discussion on this vital subject -  


Please Take Care,





Masoud Kazemzadeh


by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear R2-D2,

I think our difference is the angle from which you and I look at events. The way I look at events comes from either a political scientist or from a political activist. Our friend Ali P expressed doubt that the Shah had ever said such things about people had to join the Rastakhiz Party or go to jail or exile. This blog at a minimum provides an actual historical lesson.

Moreover, unfortunately, our monarchists are becoming more and more dictatorial, extremist, and say things that have little connection to reality. This blog shows why the democratic Iranians opposed the Shah.

Yes our priority is the struggle against the VF regime. Unfortunately, the weird attacks by monarchists have made it necessary to respond to them. Monarchists do not concentrate on attacking the VF regime. The constantly attack us. We could not remain silent. We need to teach them a lesson.





Ali jaan,

I think you were too young for this. The regime did that in 1975. If you were born between 1960 and 1957 and were in high school, you had to join the Rastakhiz Party. This policy of forced joining of Rastakhiz Party was for those who were cohorts of Reza Pahlavi and older. If you are younger than Reza Pahlavi, you were too young to be forced to join. In other words, if you are born after October 1960, then you are too young to have been forced into joining the Rastakhiz Party. The next year in 1976, the regime did not do that, and then there were the Carter presidency and the revolution.





Anahid jaan,

I think you were too young then. I think you are a few years younger than me. The regime policy began with those in the first group that began the new system of Rahnamae and Nazari, which is the cohort of Reza Pahlavi (those born in 1960). My guess is that you were born between 1961 and 1964, so you were too young for the forced membership of Rastakhiz Party.


I went to 25 Shahrivar High School. They came in and put a form on front of. We all had to join the Rastakhiz Party. One of my classmates refused. They took him out and SAVAK beat him up for about 4 or 5 hours. By around 3:00 p.m. he returned to class, he was badly beaten up. He had signed the membership of the Rastakhiz Party.





Roozbeh jaan,

You are welcomed.





Afshin azad,

The Iranian people have been fighting for freedom and democracy at least since 1905 from the Constitutional revolution to the Mossadegh movement in the 1940s-onward. We oppose both the dictatorships of Pahlavi and VF regime. We believe that the Iranian people deserve azadi and democracy.




Dariush jaan,

Between 1953 and 1975, it was a fake 2-party system. The regime was a brutal dictatorship. There was no freedom of speech, press, parties, elections. But the regime did not force us to join one of the fake parties. In 1975 the Shah ordered the people to join the Rastakhiz Party. In 1975 it went from bad to worse. In 1975, I was about 14.5 years old and I was forced to join the Rastakhiz Party under the observable threat of being tortured (or go to prison or go to exile).






BOTH monarchy dictatorship and VF dictatorship are horrible brutal tyrannies. We want freedom, democracy, and human rights. In political struggles there are defeats and there are victories. In 1953, we were defeated by the monarchists (with help from the CIA, MI6, Islamic fundamentalists), and again in 1961-63 we were defeated by the monarchists. In 1977-1979, the monarchists were defeated.

In 1979-1981, we were defeated by Islamic fundamentalists. We have been fighting against the fundamentalists since 1979. Hopefully, we will defeat vf regime soon. If we win, then there will be freedom, democracy, and human rights in Iran.

YOU are a monarchists and therefore oppose democracy, freedom, and human rights in Iran as your history clearly shows.



Anahid Hojjati

Thanks Faramarz.

by Anahid Hojjati on

It is good that I have a twin sister because many times if I  can't remember something, I run it by her and if it is something that happened before I was 24, chances are that she knew about it. It works vice versa too.


Anahid, Fish Oil!

by Faramarz on

Fish oil boosts memory.


خوب که چی‌؟


۳۲ سال پیش انقلاب شکوهمندتون پیروز شد و اون بیچاره را انداختید بیرون و حزب رستاخیز رو هم از بین بردید.  از اون موقع تا حالا چه گلی‌ به سرمون زده اید؟

شماها مشکلتون اینه که هنوزم که هنوزه نمیخواهید قبول کنید که اشتباه کردید.  هنوز با بد و بیراه گفتن به شاه میخواهید انقلاب مخّرب و ابلهانه خودتون رو توجیه کنید.  واقعأ تأسف آوره.     

Darius Kadivar

Two-Party System? ... Hmm ... ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Should we then conclude that we were actually a Parliamentary democracy between 1953 and 1975 prior to the Creation of Rastakhiz then ? ...

Political Pluralism and Freedom of Press in Pahlavi Iran

I always thought you folks were complaining about how we had turned into a brutal dictatorship after the so called Coup of '53:

THE PAST IS AFOREIGN COUNTRY: How Would You Evaluate Iran's Democracy Index in 1953 ?

So what difference did it make if we had a Two Party or One Party System ? ... 

How Genuinely Democratic and Representative was the Parliament in Pahlavi Iran ?

I'm all for your assessments about Learning from the Past but are you asking yourselves the  right questions ? ... 

Explaining the Concept of a Constitutional Monarchy to a Staunch Republican    


Anahid Hojjati

Cannot remember this slogan Faramarz

by Anahid Hojjati on



ناراضی های شوروی!



از  شعار های با حال اون وقت ها! 


حزب شما حزب مچل

رهبرتون لنین کچل



Two-Party System?

by incognito on

History is not there for you to pick and choose. History is there for you to learn, so that you move forward, without repeating past mistakes. Reza Shah, the Shah, and Khomeini et al., are all products of our homeland, whether you like it, or not. They are not figments of your imagination. You cannot change who they were in order to suit your agenda. At best, you can legitimately hope to change the future, certainly not the past.

Neither nostalgic bravado, nor long-distance lamentation will bring about your desired change, however. Holding the Guadeloupe meeting participants responsible for the demise of the Shah only reveals your tendency toward self-pithy and your sense of victimhood. If anything, they only acquiesced to what was then happening inside of Iran, a foregone conclusion.

Anyone who doubts the veracity of MK’s observation that the “Shah abolished his sham two-party system and replaced it with his one-party system”, will be served by reading the daily journals of his court minister - and the founder of Iran’s then minority party, Hezb-e Mardom -, Assadollah A’lam.

[For the sake of full disclosure, I was then way past the 9th grade, and actively seeking a passport to leave, anyway.]


My question is

by afshinazad on

My question is to those who think if they had a political freedom before 1979

do you think commies were interested in political freedom or stalin freedom?

do you think todeh party was a after political freedom?

do you think Islamist were looking for political freedom?

Think again for now and for future as well.

in 1979 what was the word, hezb fagat hezbollah and rahbar rohlah, wow what a change,rastakhiz or hezbeloah.

now which one would of been better for us?

Think again before 1979, how many countries were like ours and what we had and what others had?

we had every thing but political freedom, which we never understood or even today most of the Iranian don't understand the freedom, if we could of understood it or understand it we wouldn't of been in this situation today.

why 1979 every body was united to move shah?

why today no one is united? is it because they love IRI or just our goal was to destroy the country and future?

I will tell you that we are the nation who will never be like american or french or canadians, we are the nation who talk a lot but no action, we don't know what we want and even if we know what we want, but at the end we don't trust eachother.

look at the political groups, who are claiming they want democracy and freedom for us, but they can't even be in one room together, what kind of democracy and freedom they are thinking?

my friends keep blaming M***f shah for next 50 year, because this is what we good at.

Mash Ghasem

You don't get invited, because you're an ungreatful commie @%&!

by Mash Ghasem on

like me. Just how much love were you expecting from that guy, he not  only offered all a FREE party membership, he backed it with a FREE passport, just in case. Waddo ya think he was,  a socialist? He was a national-socialist! 

Az Vanaki ponders, indeed from 1975 Hezb Rastakhiz to 1979 Hezb Ollah, is a rather short distance. Great subject for a study.


P.S. Thou shall consider thyself very fortunate not obliged to attend S.C./LA 'parties.' I escaped from LA in early 80's.


In general, I dont get invited to any Parties!

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

Not as a 5 year old child in Iran under late Shah, not as an adult today in southern california!

But Masoud is raising a very valid point which seems to be ignored by friends commenting here.

The point is the descent - for want of a better word - of Iranian political system from a sham "two party" system to a "one party system".  The point is the complete lack of participation and support from Iranian people for the political system under shah. The point is, we are where we are today precisely due to arrogant despotic attitude displayed by late shah. The point is, lets learn a lesson and move on instead of trying to white wash our past mistakes....

Thank You Masoud for another great blog.

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


In my case

by Parham on

I was also in Iran, my father was asked, and he refused. Then the revolution took place.
Just to straighten things out.
However, I'm sure you do agree that saying such a thing in itself was preposterous.

Anahid Hojjati

I did not have to join either

by Anahid Hojjati on

I was in Iran under Shah in 9th grade and I did not have to join Rastakhiz. However, I do remember that at that time, this becoming one party system was looked upon negatively. But no one asked me to join Rastakhiz.


Ditto Ali P.

by Cost-of-Progress on

I too spent my 9th grade in Iran and was NOT asked to join any party, nor did any members of my family. I was enjoying life as were a lot of other folks while observing my country rising in the region as the power that she had become demanding respect and recognition. Now, I observe as my beloved land has turned into a pariah state with a bunch of thugs at the helm running her to ground.

Always look at things in relative terms, said the wise man. There are no absolutes! 

It's all in the past. I have said it before, but what's amazing is that the big bad shah is still the topic of many discussions 32 years after he was removed from power.

BTW, R2 has a great point about Reza Shah. Alas, though today none of it makes any difference in the lives of ordinary Iranians who want to be able to live a normal life without the sufficating opression that is this anti nationaslit regime.




Darius Kadivar

What have the Pahlavis ever done for us ? An ILD Perspective

by Darius Kadivar on

From An Iranian Liberal Democrat Perspective ... 

What have the Pahlavis ever done for us ? monty python



Ali P.

They brought a bus to my school...

by Ali P. on

On the first day of 9th grade, there were two lines: You could join the Rastaakheez party, and go about your business, or they'd put you on the bus, to get you the hell out of Iran!

Masoud jaan:

Good to see you again, and thank you for the reference. I'm going to look it up.

In regards to the enforcement of that statement, they must not have been too serious, because I spent my 9th grade under the Shah, and I sure as hell, was never asked to join no damn political party, and no one in my family did, and I don't recall being asked to leave( I was kidding about the bus in school,of course).

That was my experience. Others may be different.


Ali P.


Masoud Jaan

by R2-D2 on

It's so good to hear from you again - Let me share with you a couple of thoughts that perhaps may be helpful:

I grew up under the Shah in the 1960's and 70's - I remember distinctly that so long as we wouldn't get involved in politics, that we had all types of other "Personal" freedoms -

I need to clarify a couple of things here: I truly admired Reza Shah - There is no question in my mind that had there been no Reza Shah, that present day Iran would probably be a "Molook-ol-Tavayefi" a' la Afghanistan :)

Having said that, I also consider our beloved Dr. Mossadeq as a great Patriot, as you know - Even though, Reza Shah and Dr. Mossadeq never got along, and, as you know, Dr. Mossadeq actually went to a self-imposed exile to Switzerland while Reza Shah was in power -

What I'm trying to say here is this: We should be able to admire both men - Even though, they had huge diifferences of opinion -

Regarding Mohammad Reza Shah:

There is no question in my mind that his political suppression of various political groups essentially led to Khomeini and the Islamic Republic coming in to power -

Many of us who were in our early 20's back at the time of the revolution, remember very well, that when the Shah left, because of all the political suppression prior to that, there were no other "Viable" political groups but the Mullahs to fill that vacuum -

I guess what I'm trying to say here is this: The older that I get, the more I realize that, unlike the way we thought in our youth, that indeed there are no distinct and clear black and white's -

Shah did his very best to modernize Iran - I still believe that back in 1978, during the Guadalupe conference, the Westsern leaders (Callahan, Giscard, Helmut Schmidt, and Jimmy Crter) essentially sealed the Shah's fate -

As you can see on various videos on YouTube, the Shah was saying some very megalo-maniacal things to the Western reporters (Oriana Fallaci, Mike Wallace, Barbara Walters, and Others) -

As I have expressed to you before, the Western Powers felt that they could not rely on the Shah to stand up to Communism as before (remember the Soviet Union), and essentially, they made Khomeini the alternative -

As we have debated this before, I remember very well how Khomeini was brought to Neuphle Chateu in Paris, and on a daily basis, gave interviews to the World Press with Ghotbzadeh on his side - I was a student in England, and I saw the interviews on BBC on a daily basis -

What I am trying to get across not only to you, but to our other fellow Iranians, is this: The Shah, his father, and Dr. Mossadeq "All" did good things for our beloved Iran - As human beings, they all had their frailties and shortcomings, as we all know -

We all need to focus our energies and thoughts on removing these Mullahs and the IRI - There is no question in my mind that the coming about of IRI, and its rule over our beloved Iran for the past thirty (30) years, has been nothing but a very dark cloud hovering over our beloved Iran -

The Europeans learnt several centuries ago that "Politics" and "Religion" do not mix - Unfortunately, we are painfully learning that lesson now  -

I sincerely hope that We All get our priorities right - Let's focus our energies and thoughts on things that truly matter - That's indeed the total and complete removal of IRI from our beloved Iran - And not on such frivolous stuff as here in this blog -

Again, I want to thank you for your wonderful contributiosn to IC - As I have said before, and as you very well know, I always enjoy your blogs, and learn something from them -


Wishing you the very best,





Nader Vanaki

Fast Forward 4 years later...

by Nader Vanaki on

و حالا شد "حزب فقط حزب اله" رهبر فقط روح اله..