24 ISSUE 5 Independent World report
A briefing on the security-intelligence complex of Iran.
By Houshang AsadiBRIEF
he Islamic Republic of Iran hasone of the most complex securitymachinery of our time, which isoperated by brutal thugs. The ideologythat fuels this system has no restraints,when it comes to the crushing of any kindof opposition. In fact, the current securityand intelligence apparatus of Iran isremnant of the system deployed by theinfamous Shah and his cronies.In 1956, Iran established the secondlarge-scale intelligence apparatus in theIslamic world, after Turkey. Initially,the intelligence bureaucracy was run by
military ofﬁcers who were co-conspirators
in the US-British orchestrated coup of 1953. That coup, which changed thecourse of history in Iran, overthrew thenationalist government of MohammadMosaddegh, and centralised all powerin the hands of the last Shah of Iran,Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.At that point of time, the State Securityand Intelligence Organisation, commonlyknown by its Persian acronym
, wasput under the direct supervision of theShah. In addition to
, the militaryand law enforcement forces had theirown special security agencies which wereall ultimately under the command of theShah, through the military hierarchy.In 1971, when the insurgentmovement in Iran heightened, all thesecurity agencies in the country were putunder a single command known as the
Komite Moshtarak Mobareze ba Kharabkari(Joint committee to combat sabotage)
. Theheadquarters of this committee was in anotorious prison in the centre of Tehran.
In 1979, the ofﬁces of the
werestormed and taken over by the public.But a year later, the newly createdIntelligence Centre of the Islamic
Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) began usingthe complex for its own purposes andturned it into one of the most horrendousprisons in the world.In my recently released book,
A satellite view of Evin Prison in Tehran: