Amir Abbas Hoveyda is the son of my aunt Afsar-el-Molouk (Qajar) and the great grandson of Ezzat Dowleh, the sister of Nasser-al-Din Shah. She was the widow of Amir Kabir, a celebrated Prime Minister of the 1840's. Strangely, like his illustrious precursor, he worked under an authoritarian ruler and was finally abandoned to the enemies of progress. But unlike Amir Kabir, Hoveyda and a team of technocrats striving to bring Iran out of backwardness, succeeded in 14 years to build up a solid economic infrastructure. Moreover, the decline of modern Iran coincided in 1977 with his ouster and the departure of most of the better members of his team.
Among other things, the late Shah of Iran, H.I.M. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in a book "Answer to History" published a few weeks before his death, expressed regrets about his 1977 change. Whether one likes it or not, the truth of the matter is that without the efforts accomplished by Hoveyda and a whole generation of educated Iranians in the 60's and 70's, Iran would have collapsed in the war imposed by Iraq in 1980. Moreover, the present regime whose shortcomings are numerous, is surviving on the remnants of the infrastructure built by Hoveyda and Iranians who were martyred, dismissed or exiled during the revolution.
Amir Abbas Hoveyda was open, candid and helpful to all. I once accompanied him on an official visit to France and here is the English translation of what he said at a Paris press conference:
"It is I believe a Western media tycoon who loved to say to his reporters that if a single European is in difficulty, that makes news. In order to draw a similar interest concerning others, you need a hundred Russians, a thousand Persians or a hundred thousand Chinamen. Fortunately times have now changed and there is a sort of reversal of fortune. I see now that one single Iranian generates the friendly curiosity of the media. Another change too, in ancient times they used to famish lions before offering them a victim - today, on the contrary, you have given us an excellent lunch which we shared in friendship before the arena opens.
As a matter of fact, I would like to make a confidence: I awaited with great pleasure this encounter with the press and I hope my answers will satisfy you. I know by experience that your questions will be of great value to me for they indicate HOW WE ARE SEEN. They also reveal the issues interesting you and what are the concerns of public opinion.
In short, I will learn as much from your questions, as you upon quizzing me. Then Ladies and Gentlemen, proceed for I am at your entire disposal.
Above is a picture of
my Aunt Afsar-el-Molouk, the Mother of Amir Abbas Hoveyda
with my wife Angela circa 1954.
Heartbroken, my dear aunt passed away soon after the exucution of her son.
Photos © 1996 - Farhad Sepahbody, Exam International, Sedona AZ
86341 - USA. BACK O INDEX