My beloved father General Ali Neshat Comander of Emortal Guard of The Shahanshah Aryamehr.
By: Shirin Neshat
My father, the late General Ali Neshat was born in Tehran in 1923. He was the grandson of Safi Ali Shah and Motamed'od Dowleh Neshat Esfahani. He was the first one in his family to enter the Imperial Army. His career began after he graduated from Dabirestane Nezam and the Military College (Daneshgah Nezam). Because of his dedication to his King and Country he was quickly promoted from Captain to Major. Soon he was in charge of the Javidan Brigage, an elite unit of the Imperial Guard.
The Imperial Guard was different than other army units because its chief role was to protect the Shah and the Royal Family. Officers were drawn from the best families and had to pass a tough physical and mental test. They had to be tall and good-looking. The Javidan Brigade, which my father expanded, was modeled after King Darius's Immortals and numbered between 8,000 to 12,000 men. Every member was expected to swear an oath of allegiance to God, Shah and Country.
Over the years my father was to serve in places like Behbahan, Tabriz, Chahbahar, Kermanshah and other cities. His training took him to the War College, CENTO and the United Kingdom. Fluent in English and French he was also an accomplished athlete winning many trophies in fencing, high jump, shooting, riding and swimming. When Elizabeth, the Queen of England, made her first state visit to Iran, my father was sent to greet Her Majesty at the airport in English. It did not take long before my father was noticed by His Majesty and promoted to General.
My father had his own office, staff, driver and secretaries. In his office were giant photos of the Shahanshah, the Shahbanou and the Crown Prince. My father was a Moslem and believed in the Prophet Mohammed and Imam Ali. Under the glass on his desk were some written things from the Nahjol balagheh. He loved his country and the Shah. In fact, my father had an office every where His Majesty and the Royal family resided especially at the Saadabad and Niavaran palaces.
After 30 years in the Imperial Army, my father used to say that his best memories were "all of the seconds" he had spent with His Majesty. He was very happy when the Shah got married to his third wife, the beautiful Empress Farah Diba and was even more joyous when the Crown Prince was born on October 31, 1960. His Majesty loved and trusted my father very much. My father received many medals and citations which he showed me with great pride: Neshan Liaghat, Taghdir Nameh Eftekhar Javidan, Neshan Sepas, Neshan Taj, Neshan Homayoun, Medale Tajgozari, Neshan 25 Sal Saltanat, Neshan Khetmat, Medale Pahlavi and etc... . I remember my father telling me how much he loved the Shah and how kind and nice he was. My father often accompanied His Majesty during his inspection tours of the country. His Majesty was always keen to see the developments and would often point out the deficiencies he saw. Few people were aware that His Majesty would help people financially without them really knowing who was behind it.
I was 22 and working in Empress Farah's Bureau as a special secretary when the revolution broke out. During those final days there were many demonstrations throughout Iran, especially in Tehran. His Imperial Majesty, the Shahanshah kept issuing orders to the Imperial Army to stay away from the people and refrain from shooting.
The capital was full of demonstrators, with crowds carrying empty coffins or fake corpses wrapped in white sheets. They would put a show on for the cameras, even painting their shirts with red paint to say they had been wounded. All these were lies.
My beloved father was a real soldier. He was doing everything to defend his country and the Royal family. I remember only one Nowrooz which I spent with my father around the haft-seen. He was always at work. He was very strong and brave. He was very strict. He never swore or showed disrespect to any one and he was very kind. Whatever he wanted for his children he also wanted for his officers. He used to say that they have parents and they are very dear to their families and they are like his children. He was very honest and he never ever lied to any body.
Usually my father did not talk about his job and I don't remember my mother asking him any questions about his duties and work. She was always saying that he was doing his duty because of his loyalty to His Majesty, the Royal Family and our country.
My mother was always crying and praying for my father and His Majesty during revolution. My father was very busy. He would leave our house in Saadabad Palace early in the morning and not come home until very late. My mother and I would sit around at night talking about the latest news, and wait for him. Sometimes my father would be away for two days and when he finally came home it was to get some much needed rest.
I remember a few days before the Shah's departure my father came home. It was one or two in the afternoon. He looked very tired but the phones in our house did not stop ringing. Everybody wanted to talk to my father. That day, my father asked my mother and I to answer the phones. We were to take down any messages. In the event of an emergency we were to wake him up at once otherwise we were to let him sleep for 2 hours before he took his shower, changed his uniform and returned to his office.
We had three phones at home: a public and an internal phone one and a third one for emergencies. As his family we were allowed to answer the first two but never the third one.
After half an hour while my father was sleeping the third phone (emergency one) started ringing and my father got up and answered it. We could hear that he was very angry and giving some orders and said he would call him back. I don't remember who was on the other line but my father called my mother and said he wanted to make an important call and asked us all to be quite. I could see and read in his face that something bad had happened but he was not saying anything. His face was turning red and he looked very angry. He made the phone call to the Palace.
After a few seconds he started talking very formally. I heard him say: "Your Majesty I have been informed that the people are pulling down your statue. May I have your permission to stop them?"
Then all of a sudden my father went quiet. After a brief pause he said: "His Majesty's orders will be obeyed!" When he hung up I could see that there were tears in his eyes. He was furious. He called the person who had called him earlier and said: "His Majesty has ordered me to leave the people to do whatever they want."
According to my father, His Majesty had told him bluntly: "Let them do what ever they want but for God's sake don't shoot any one! You will see that one day the same people will put up my statue back and this time they will make it from gold."
When I asked my father what we should do if something happened to him he said: "Don't worry His Majesty will take care of my family." But we saw what happened. After all that has happened to us and other families, I think my father was too good. I feel very angry. As a mother I don't want my son to go to the army at all.
At the Palace, my father could see that His Majesty was very tired and that he had lost a lot of weight. He was not eating anymore and had no appetite. And when the staff urged His Majesty to eat it was always alone and by himself. He worked day and night, trying to contact Washington and seeking a way to end the crisis. He was thinking about leaving Iran as a last resort but to those around him he tried to behave in his normal way. He still walked with authority and went to his office every day.
My father said that one day at the Palace he and a few generals fell on his Majesty's feet and begged him not to leave the country. The Shah was visibly touched and answered that: "We are leaving but coming back soon and I appreciate your loyalty."
His Majesty was very sad. During those final days, the Shah had fewer audiences than before. There were hardly any files to read and fewer orders to issue. His Majesty was very lonely and spent most of the time reading the international newspapers.
Meanwhile, the Empress had sent her children abroad and was busy packing her belongings (personal jewelry, some art pieces, books, albums, etc). His Majesty didn't care for any material things. He was worried for some sensitive documents which he entrusted in the care of my father. Some were sent to the United States and others to Switzerland. Some people told me that my father burned the documents before he was arrested. I don't have any idea what kind of documents they were.
Once the date of their departure had been fixed, Her Majesty decided to throw a party. I don't know where but it was outside Tehran (at a royal hunting lodge). She wanted to gather some of her friends to say goodbye to them. His Majesty, the Shahanshah, agreed but insisted that the Imperial Guard provide security. The party was a sad one. My father and most of the Imperial Guards were very upset with Prime Minister Bakhtiar whom they suspected was negotiating with Khomeini.
If I am right, on January 15th or 16th, His Majesty the Shah went to his office and met with a few people and signed few documents. He was silent. My father said that everybody was so sad and crying. They were so afraid. They didn't know what to do. There was not much activity at the Palace and it was rather quiet but all the staff and officers were there. They couldn't believe His Majesty was leaving.
Until the last minute all the people who were working at the Palace were at their posts. All the servants, gardeners, Imperial Guard officers were there and crying and asking Their Majesties not to leave. The Imperial Guards escorted Their Majesties and their entourage towards the two helicopters stationed in the palace grounds.
The helicopters flew to Mehrabad International Airport where my father was waiting. It was there that His Majesty broke down crying. After Their Majesties departure, my father got so sick that he could not utter a word or eat. We tried to contact him from home but one of his aides said that he was unable to come to the phone.
That night my mother and I as the oldest child of the family sat waiting for my father. He arrived home around 2a.m. He was crying and we started to cry with him. I couldn't get close to my father. I was so afraid. A few days later my father came home happy. He said that he had spoken to His Majesty. My mother asked what he had said to him. My father replied: "His Majesty said they are coming back!"
About a week after they had left Iran, the Shahbanou and Mrs. Diba (the Empress's mother) called my father asking him about the situation and asking him to send them some of their belongings which they had left behind, especially those things which they hadn't had time to pack.
Until the end, my father's main duties remained basically the same. He took care of Their Majesties belongings while his men guarded the palaces. In those days my father who was Commander of the Imperial Guard organized a pro-Shah demo. I still have the film. My father wanted to show the power of the Imperial Guard.
The Palaces fell on February 12, 1979 after the heads of the armed forces capitulated. The tomb of Reza Shah the Great was captured by revolutionaries and later demolished by a vengeful cleric named Khalkhali. My father went to see Admiral Madani, Bazargan's Defense Minister in the Provisional Government, and he proposed to him a post as Commander of the National Guard (Guard Melli).
My father was outraged, so much so that he tore up the papers in front of him and threw it back in his face, shouting: "I am a soldier and I have sworn to the Flag, Koran and the Shahanshah! I rather be shot than to work for those mullahs!"
Shortly afterwards, my father was arrested and taken to the Madresseh Faizieh in Qom and then after 2-3 weeks transferred back to Tehran and imprisoned at Qasr.
I have many sad memories of those days especially when I think of what he must have been going through during his trial, sitting in front of those bloody mullahs and the people who had come to watch. I am so sorry for him because it must have been painful listening to his judges insult the Shah. After a mock trial he was executed at 2am on 10th April (22 Farvardin) 1979. He died a proud soldier and a patriot loyal to the end to his King and Country. That makes me very proud.
My father could have saved his life and escaped but he never did. He kept saying to us that "His Majesty needs me to stay in Iran" and that he had nothing to do out of Iran. "I am a soldier and I don't know anything about business. If I leave the country I will have to become a taxi driver or something like that!" He was right!
One year after he was executed a memorial was held in Tehran. It was announced over the radio. Some 3000 people attended the service. There were lots of people and we couldn't move. I remember asking my mom, "What is going on? Have you invited all these people?" She said: "No. I couldn't invite any officers." But many people came that day to honor the General. It was a huge memorial.
After the revolution many of the officers and soldiers of the Javidan Brigade were sent to fight in the Iran-Iraq war, some resigned and others were reassigned to other units. I am still in touch with some. My mother and I fled Iran about a year later.
As a father, General Ali Neshat, was one of the best fathers in the world. He was an honest gentleman, kind, handsome, educated, a family man and one of a kind. He did every thing for us and he was our role model. I really don't know what to say there is no word that can describe him. He was the greatest. He never lied. My father was so much in love with my mother. My mother loved my father too.
Before Mother passed away this year she kept telling me that she was praying to go to him in Heaven. She told me that after he was killed she felt "dead" inside and that life had little meaning. Since my child hood my father used to tell me and my mother that he was a soldier and that any second he might be killed. He said that if something happened to him we should be very proud of him because he was a soldier defending his country, the Shahanshah Aryamehr and the Pahlavi dynasty.
But since Father's death I have often wondered if our Royal Family that he swore to defend ever thinks about us or the other families of the unsung heroes who sacrificed so much.
ا;ين تار نما را به ياد پدرم، تيمسار سرلشکر علی نشاط، و ساير قهرمانان نيروهای مسلح شاهنشاهی ايران و جانباختگان راه آزادی پيش کش نمودم
This site is dedicated to my father General Ali Neshat commander of Imperial Iranian Guards, and to all of the other unsung heroes of the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces who fell in the name of Iran.
اين تارنما هديه ای است به جانباختگان نيرو های سه گانه
صدای شما وقتی شنيده می شود که بلند و رسا باشد
Shirin Neshat of Sarbazan to America: The Terrorist Islamic Republic in Iran Regime Will Terrorize America
Shirin Neshat on Islamic Republic in Iran Terror
"In the name of the Persian people and the 2,500 year old Monarchy of the Persian Empire, I wish to tell the American government and the American people that there can be no compromise with the violence and evil perpetrated by the terrorist Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI) regime.
"Not only the United States and its people, but all civilized people and nations of the entire world, are endangered by this regime and the murderous tyrants who lead it. This is a war between good and evil. There can be no compromise between the two.
"And the great danger for the people of America, Europe, and the world is this: that the war that is coming is with an enemy--the Islamic Republic in Iran regime--that is capable of any atrocity, any crime, any outrage that it believes serves its own purposes. These outrages will occur not simply on the streets of Tehran, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, and Tel Aviv, but in the cities and states of an America that has never known such a war before---within its borders and on its shores---with an enemy who will stop at nothing.
"And so, as a loyal Persian-American, loyal to the history of the Persian Monarchy and the American Constitutional history of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin as well, I call--and the blood of the martyrs of the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces calls--upon our President Bush and the American Congress, to rid the American homeland of the presence of the agents of this terrorist Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI) regime from our nation. I (we) call upon President Bush and the American Congress to protect the people of the United States from the terror and the tragedy perpetrated in the nation of Iran in the last 26 years of history. And finally, I (we) call upon President Bush, the Congress of the United States, and the good and godly people of America to give Persian patriots the resources and support necessary to reclaim our land and to restore our 2,500 year old Persian Monarchy---not simply for the patriots of Iran, but for the peace and security of the Middle East and the entire planet in which we are all members of the human family created by the good and great God of history."
"Payandeh Iran "
Los Angeles, California