chapter  8
20 Pages

The Iranian revolution and the legacy of the guerrilla movement


During the early 1970s, the National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT) began broadcasting a new American TV series named “The Guerrillas.” The series was a not-too-well-produced story about Allied commando operations behind Nazi lines during the Second World War in Europe. It was dubbed in Persian, but then the name of the series was translated as “gurilha,” which in Persian can only mean “gorillas.” What possible relation there might be between commando operations and the mighty ape was left to the imagination of poor Iranian viewers. Such was the sensitivity of the imperial regime of Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi to the term “guerrilla” (“cherik” in Persian) that the NIRT had to resort to such ridiculous innovation. The sensitivity of the imperial regime was accompanied by a touch of respect for the guerrillas. In 1976, the shah went on record praising the guerrillas by saying: “The determination with which they fight is quite unbelievable.”1