Friday, November 26, 2010


The acronym for Sazeman-I Effelaat vaAmniyat-I Keshvae, Iran’s National Organization for Intelligence and Security. Created in 1957 and initially headed by Teimur Bakhtiar, the agency acquired a ruthless reputation as an instrument of repression and was controlled by personal friends of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, although Bakhtiar was himself dismissed in 1962. SAVAK received advice and training from a long-serving Mossad representative in Tehran, Yaacov Nimrodi, as well as from successive CIA station chiefs, although American support waned as SAVAK’s professionalism declined. In 1965 Gen. Ne’matollah Naseri was appointed SAVAK’s chief, but his deputy, Gen. Hussein Fardust, sided with the regime’s opponents in January 1979 when the shah was deposed. A month later, SAVAK was supplanted by SAVAMA, with Fardust in command, but in 1985 he was arrested and accused of being a Soviet spy. He died in 1988 soon after his confession was broadcast on television.