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From Atash/Fire, Journal of Communist Party of Iran Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (

The Shah and the Supreme Leader:
Twelve Reactionary Things They Have in Common

December 30, 2022

Editors’ Note: Volunteers for take responsibility for this translation from original Farsi to English. Brackets indicate translators’ additions. The Farsi version is available at The title of the original article used the phrase "the Shah and the Sheikh." We have changed the term "Sheikh" to "Supreme Leader" here to make clear to an English-speaking audience that "Sheikh" refers to the top mullah, or Islamic religious leader, in Iran.

Combined portraits of oppressors: Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran; and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, former Shah of Iran.


Combined portraits of oppressors: Ayatollah Khamenei, current Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran (left); and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, former Shah (king) of Iran (right).   

In the present situation, when alternatives are offered in response to the people's uprising, it's necessary to discuss the similarities between the Islamic Republic and the Pahlavi Dynasty regime and what they have in common. Not only to set the record straight about the massive amounts of unreal and even fictional propaganda about the living conditions of the [Iranian] people and society during the two Shahs of the Pahlavi Dynasty (which are constantly lied about in cyberspace and on satellite dish networks), but also to make clear that they have a lot in common, and share many of the same characteristics.

There's no doubt that many features of the Pahlavi Dynasty differ from those of the Islamic Republic: their ideologies, the eras they were/are in power, and [what else was going on] when they emerged on the international scene. These are different, and their regimes’ contradictions and accomplishments differ. But they share one thing in common: both are dictatorial governments of the oppressor classes.

Above all, both were, and are, tools for the exploiting and oppressive big landowners and capitalists to impose their will on the majority of the Iranian people. Despite differences in [their regimes’] political and ideological superstructure and methods of governing, [and in] the character of their respective economic infrastructures, it is the exploitation of the fruits of the labor of oppressed classes that provides the basis for each of them to remain in power.

Although both of them strut and boast about political autonomy, about being independent of "foreigners," and about [Iran’s] role as a regional superpower, the economic structure of the Iranian society is in fact tied to the global system of imperialist capitalism and subject to the system’s international political and economic vicissitudes and upheavals. Because of this, it was and is affected in various ways by the political will of the imperialists, whether it is the U.S. or Britain or the European Union, today's Russia or China.

And since both represent precisely the class dictatorship of capitalists and big landowners—though with differences in what they look like and in their superstructures—they are both compelled to impose all shapes and sizes of oppression, discrimination, injustice and crimes, on the shoulders and lives of majority of people in Iran and sometimes in the region, because they are inseparably part and parcel of the capitalist system.

Therefore, what is posted with the hashtag #Reactionary_Shah_&_Sheikh are simply the images and documentary representations of the pain and suffering imposed by the two regimes—Pahlavi and Islamist—on people as a consequence of their class nature, no matter whether inflicted willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, compassionately or wickedly. Undoubtedly, the similarities of the crimes committed against the people by these two regimes are not limited to these examples.

The people, the majority of the people in our society—the workers and toiling masses in the city and in the countryside, the impoverished and the marginalized people, the youth, the intellectuals and the artists, the women and non-Persian nationalities in Iran, teachers and nurses and the retired people—none are doomed to choosing one or the other of these two reactionaries. It is not the inevitable destiny of our people to be condemned to life under either the despotic torture of combat boots or the [mullah’s] sandals, [to be ruled by] crown or turban, Sharia law or hereditary monarchy.

What we’re talking about is a fundamentally different and qualitatively better type of state, one that is the opposite of these two historically outmoded and disgraced corruptions, the opposite of these two ways of being exploited, oppressed, discriminated against, the opposite of any form and expressions of the dictatorship of the capitalist class; [we're talking about] the revolutionary dictatorship and democracy of the proletariat that must be established, about the "New Socialist Republic of Iran." This is a different path, society and world [that will be brought into being] after a communist revolution, and accomplished with the participation and the determination of tens of millions of masses of people.

Our Party has set forth, for everyone to view and discuss, the features of such a society in the "Constitution of the New Socialist Republic of Iran (Proposed Draft)." In order to implement such a possible and desirable goal, we ask all freedom lovers, justice seekers, all the oppressed and destitute people, all those who talk in whispers about a world free of every kind, form and expression of exploitation, oppression and discrimination, to come forward in order to achieve such a goal through a widespread and all-around revolutionary and communist struggle.

Title of this series, #Reactionary_Shah_&_Sheikh, is at the upper right of each poster, on the diagonal in black, with yellow background.

The title of each poster is on the diagonal in yellow (with black background).

Click on poster to enlarge.

CPIMLM Poster1


Poster #1 National oppression, and the suppression of non-Persian nationalities
Captions, left to right:
1. Qazi Mohammad, the Chairman [the Head] of Kurdistan Autonomous Republic [with its capital in the city of Mahabad], was hanged in April 1947.
2. Fereidoon Ebrahimi, Attorney General of Autonomous Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan [with its capital in the city of Tabriz], was hanged on May 23, 1947.
3. Yaghoob Mehr-nahad, weblogger and Baluchi cultural activist, was executed in August 2008.
4. Hadi Rashedi, teacher and cultural Arab activist, was executed in winter of 2013.   

CPIMLM Poster 2


Poster #2  Oppression of Women
Captions, left to right:
1. Sex trade in Shahr-e-No [New City] district of Tehran, 1970s
2. Sex trade on streets of Tehran, 2017   

CPIMLM Poster3


Poster #3: Censorship, arrest and murder of intellectuals and artists
Captions, left to right:
1. Mohammad Reza Kordestani (aka Mirzadeh Eshghi), poet, journalist, [writer, newspaper publisher, pioneer in stage theater and opera] was assassinated by security agents of Reza Shah on July 3, 1924.
2. Khosrow Golsorkhi, [Marxist] poet and literary critic, was executed on February 18, 1974.
3. Saeed Soltanpour, [Marxist] poet and screenwriter, was executed on June 21, 1981.
4. Mohammad Mokhtari, [leftist] poet and literary critic, was assassinated by the agents of the Information [Intelligence] Ministry on December 3, 1998.   

CPIMLM Poster 4


Poster #4: Massacre of political prisoners
Captions, left to right:
1. Nationwide massacre of political prisoners who were already serving sentences, summer of 1988.
2. Group massacre of political prisoners, who were already serving sentences, on the outdoor hills of Evin Prison, April 19, 1975.   

CPIMLM Poster 5


Poster #5: Promotion of a Culture of Slavishness
Captions, left to right:
1. Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Shah. [The longest serving Shah's Prime Minister kissing the Shah’s hand]
2. Reza Pahlavi and his supporters in Canada. [Reza, also referred to as “Prince,” is the son of the last Shah.]
3. Abolhassan Banisadr [the first president under Islamic Republic] and Ayatollah Khomeini
4. [Former] President Hassan Rouhani & his supporters    

CPIMLM Poster 6


Poster #6:  Suppression of the Student Movement!
Captions, left to right:
1. [Tehran University engineering students, who were murdered as a warning to the students not to protest the next day during vice president Nixon's visit shortly after the CIA coup to receive an honorary law degree at Tehran University.] Pictured from L to R: Shariat-Razavi [Marxist, age turning 21], Bozorg-nia (Marxist, age 19), Ghandchi (Dr. Mossadegh's National Front, age 20), martyred on December 7, 1953.
2. Mehdi Alavi Shooshtari was arrested during [the Islamic] Cultural Counter-Revolution in April 1980, and martyred on June 27, 1980.
3. Ezzat Ebrahim-nejad, arrested at Tehran University dormitory, and martyred on July 9, 1999.   

CPIMLM Poster 7


Poster #7: Torture and Prisons
Captions, left to right:
1. Joint Counter-Sabotage Committee of Secret Service & the Police, Horrifying Torture Chamber of the Shah's Savak!
2. Gonabadi Mystic Dervishes [religious minority] were brutalized and tortured, on Golestan Haftom Street, by security agents!   

CPIMLM Poster 8


Poster #8: Executions
Captions, left to right:
1. The mass execution of the communist military officers, following the CIA coup in Iran, on August 19, 1953
2. Execution of communist activists at Sanandaj Airport [Kurdistan province], September 1979.   

CPIMLM Poster 9


Poster #9:  Poverty, Unemployment and Privation
Captions, left to right:
1. Shanty town in the city of Mashhad in 2018!
2. Squatters in the heart of Tehran during 1970 decade!   

CPIMLM Poster 10


Poster #10: Interfering and Making War in the Region
Captions, left to right:
1. The Shah defends his imperial army's criminal presence in the country of Oman [to help Sultan Qabus crush and massacre the liberation movement in Dhofar region of Oman]! Daily Kayhan newspaper clip reads: "The Shah said: Without our intervention, [the liberation movement in] Dhofar would have turned into an Angola!"
2. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei defends the criminal presence of the Revolutionary Guards [IRGC] in Syria! Daily Kayhan Newspaper reads: "The Supreme Leader reported that soon the congregational prayer will be held in the Holy Land [Jerusalem]"   

CPIMLM Poster 11


Poster #11: Interfering and Making War in the Region
Captions, left to right:
1. Khamenei meets Bashar Assad, the butcher of the Syrian people!
2. The Shah visits Sultan Qabus, the butcher of people in Dhofar   

CPIMLM Poster 12


Poster #12: Club-wielding Vigilantes!
Captions: left to right
1. Perseverance Forces — Club wielding supporters of the Shah in 1970's!
2. Shaban "the Brainless" Jafari and his club-wielding gang [hired and financed by CIA], during the CIA coup in Iran, on August 19, 1953
3. Club wielding gang of Hezbollah and Islamic Republic Party during spring 1981 coup!
4. Ayatollah Khomeini's club-wielding hoodlums   

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