مركز وثائق الثورة الإسلامية

News ID: 75
part 1
In January 1952, engineering advisors from the US who had come to Tehran were less than ten in number. But their number suddenly hiked after PM Mosaddeq fell from power following the 1953 coup. In October 1953, the number of US advisors reached 133 and the growing trend continued, so much so that in 1970, the number of American advisors in Iran was a little below 8 thousand; and in 1978 it had reached 50 thousand. Ervand Abrahamian (born 1940, a historian of Middle Eastern and particularly Iranian history) wrote: Their number, under 10 thousand in the Iranian year 1345 increased to 60 thousand in the year 1356.
Publish Date : 08:57 - 2019 December 30

IRDC.IR: In January 1952, engineering advisors from the US who had come to Tehran were less than ten in number. But their number suddenly hiked after PM Mosaddeq fell from power following the 1953 coup. In October 1953, the number of US advisors reached 133 and the growing trend continued, so much so that in 1970, the number of American advisors in Iran was a little below 8 thousand; and in 1978 it had reached 50 thousand.

In his book "Iran Between Two Revolutions” (1982), Ervand Abrahamian (born 1940, a historian of Middle Eastern and particularly Iranian history) wrote: Their number, under 10 thousand in the Iranian year 1345 increased to 60 thousand in the year 1356.

According to Sullivan, in 1977, 35 thousand Americans used to live in Iran, all but some 2 thousand belonged to private companies and institutes of the United States. Parsons also cites the number of English people living in Iran in 1975 something between 15 and 20 thousand, and they had formed various contracting companies in various fields, including construction, power plants, military, maritime, facilities, etc. This is while Robert Ernest Huyser has said the number of US advisors in Iran by early October 1978 was 58 thousand people. 

Robert Ernest Huyser was a four-star general in the United States Air Force who served as Deputy Commander in Chief, United States European Command (DCINCEUR) from 1975 to 1979; and as Commander in Chief, Military Airlift Command (CINCMAC) from 1979 to 1981.

In January 1979, while still EUCOM deputy, President Jimmy Carter sent Huyser to Iran. Sources disagree on the nature of his mission. According to Carter, Huyser, and American sources, he attempted to stabilize Iran during the turbulent early stages of the Islamic revolution. Charles Kurzman describes him as having been assigned by Carter "to rally Iranian Military commanders and help them prepare for a last-resort coup d'etat," unaware that the massive scale of the uprising left the Iranian military powerless to prevent the Shah's overthrow.

In his book "Iran, the Illusion of Power”, Robert Graham writes of the growing presence of US advisors in Iran in the 1970s thus: By authorizing the sale of sophisticated weapons to Iran in unprecedented numbers, the US obliged itself to use these weapons. This meant the conspicuous presence of the US in Iran by sending large numbers of civilian, military, and advisory people in order to recompense the severe shortage of educated human force to use these weapons. In the year 1976, it was evident that most of the 24 thousand US advisors who lived in Iran were in the army or related bodies. It was expected that due to Iran’s purchase of weapons from Iran the number would reach 50 to 60 thousand by 1980. Things being so, Iran’s military might has come at the cost of the country’s independence. 

John D Stempel counts their number up to July 1978 at 54 thousand. In this Second Edition of Inside the Iranian Revolution, first published in 1981, author John Stempel describes his experience and insight as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in Tehran from 1975-1979. He then continues with an updated chapters to describe what we can draw from the experiences of three decades ago and apply to the current diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Iran. "John Stempel is a Foreign Service officer who was stationed in Tehran through the early stages of the Iranian revolution; he left four months before the hostages were taken. Mr. Stempel explains the strength and weaknesses that accumulated through the Shah's reign. Among the latter, he says, was the Shah's alternating between attempts to build genuine political support for his regime and reliance on the repressive tactics of his secret police.  On the American side, Mr. Stempel points out the slowness to develop intelligence sources among opposition groups and the contradictory signals sent to the Shah.

Ken Follett writes in "On Wings of Eagles” that in 1979 the number of the advisors was something between 40 and 50 thousand. On Wings of Eagles is a 1983 thriller novel written by British author Ken Follett. Set against the background of the Iranian revolution, it tells the story of the rescue of Paul Chiapparone and Bill Gaylord from prison in Tehran by a team of Electronic Data Systems executives led by retired Col. Arthur D. Simons.

According to US Senate research, the number of US advisors in Iran soared from 16 thousand in 1971 to 24 thousand in 1976 and to 50 thousand in 1978. The Senate report said that the number of the advisors should reach 60 thousand by 1980 through the purchase of US weapons by Iran. That meant a growth by 10 thousand people per year.

Imam Khomeini also pointed to the number in one of his speeches. On Aban 27, 1357 (Iranian calendar) he said "When we look at the army it is an army under the command of American advisors. Do we have an army? An army that is not independent, cannot do anything by itself, is not dependent in what is doing, 60 thousand idle Americans have come under the title of advisors _ now what they do I do not know_ but the army is strictly under their command. So we don’t have an army either. What do we have? What does Iran have?”

All in all, if we grant the number of military American advisors in Iran at 30 thousand, having in mind the total number of forces employed in the Iranian Army toward the end of the Pahlavi regime, we can say that at that time there existed one American advisor for every six Iranian army members. Thus, it becomes clear that the US advisors’ act in maintaining full presence, and even wearing their outfit in the same form and color of the host has not been meaningless, but done with some intention, intention to keep a close eye on the country and lead things from the shadow.

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