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An Interview with Ahmad Nafisi, the former mayor of Tehran

Ahmad Nafisi, born in 1919, was one of the former directors of the plan organization and the mayor of Tehran during the premiership of Ali Amini and Asad --lah Alam and one of the major directors of that trouble...

 Plan organization,Tehran's Municipality and role of the elites of second Pahlavi period


By: Morteza Rasouli

 

Ahmad Nafisi, born in 1919, was one of the former directors of the plan organization and the mayor of Tehran during the premiership of Ali Amini and Asad --lah Alam and one of the major directors of that trouble some congress of freemen and freewomen. He was appointed as the mayor ofTehranthrough Shah’s insistence but he was arrested in November 1963 due to difference of opinion between he and Pirasteh – the minister of the interior – as it was stated in political and press circles. Surely it was the outward appearance which was far from the reality to an extent.

 

In this conversation several subjects such as: Nafisi family, plan and Budget organization establishments and it’s deficits, Iran’s foundry company, Tehran’s municipality in the government of Amini and Alam, civil societies, the congress of freemen and freewomen, the dispute of municipality with Khorram, land reformations in Iran, the event of joins, 1963 (Khordad 15), progressive center, assassination of Mansour, the dispute of Pirasteh with Nafisi , and etc were brought up.

 

" … One day Mr. Amini took me the shah's audience at Khayyam park which was located at the northern part of power department in Shohada square. The Shah had decided to come there and saw the preliminaries of “white revolution”. Seeing me there, he said: " how did you come here? I answered that: I was taken to the municipality by Mr. prime minister and I have come here by his order. Shah said: " that is excellent and we have many works with the municipality". When the visit was over, Shah told Amini: "let’s have a visit to the city park. It is not crowded so we can talk easier. You go with the mayor, Rohani and Shoja Malayeri. He (viz. me) would come with me. Shah said: we have plans in our mind and we previously expected to be executed by the former prime ministers and now Mr. Amini has taken the first step for land reformations. We need the young force for executing these plans better and I want them to help for attaining these aims. Then he looked at me and said: you should make an arrangement for more meeting. I would announce the next orders. He said these things and went. I slowly told doctor Amini: I hope that Mr. Nasr would not be annoyed for this meeting. Amini said: that is not important and don’t be worried at all but it was some days that Dr. Nasr was in an angry mood with me.

 

After three or four months working at municipality, (on) one day Ahmad Namdar informed me that shah had told Amini that Nasr had no work in municipality and he should go. You come to the prime ministry's office tomorrow.

 

Next morning I went to the prime ministry. First Amir Azizi, minister of the interior came and said: “the Shah told me three or four months ago that: you should appoint this young man whom you have brought and made the mayor’s under- secretary as the mayor, and I told the shah: “the prime minister stands on ceremony before Nasr but we gave Nafisi all his authorities. Again One month later, the shah told me: ' why you have put someone over him'  and I replied him the same thing again. The other day he called me again and said: ' I don’t want him [Dr. Nasr] be the mayor, you should appoint such a person [Nafisi] as the mayor '. I told this to the prime minister and he also became angry and said: ' now what should I do with Dr. Nasr ' ? I told him that: ' Sir, if you want Dr. Nasr be kept here, you should be retired and if you wish to be the prime minister, so, do not bother shah to this extent '. You who have chosen your ministers like this and did not know most of them, now, why you have insistence on Nasr?"

 

Meanwhile Dr. Amini entered and addressed me: I have lost my easy life because of you. I said: “I wonder that I have been refused from both sides. The title is for another one and the labor is mine, yet I am debtor ". Dr. Amini said: “in fact I am worried for Dr. Nasr ". I told him: " would you let me propose some thing? He said: yes. I said: you, Dr. Nasr and Mr. Ashtari who is the minister without Portfolio are good preachers so that everyone who you talk with, will consider you rightful after bowing down. You also present Dr. Nasr as the minister without portfolio, this office would be easier and better than working in municipality and also he would have an extensive field for talking. Immediately, Amir Azizi stood up and kissed me. Dr. Amini said: “your proposal is excellent” , then quickly took up the phone and asked the court minister to get an appointment with shah for five minutes for an urgent case, and promptly proceeded to the court and immediately returned. Azizi asked him: "what happened "? Amini said: “when I told the shah this proposal, his excellency said: why you didn’t tell me this ten minutes ago that you were here? I replied that this was the proposal of Ahmad Nafisi. Shah said: " why you have not employed this man earlier who is wise enough to make you happy and relieve us from the evil of him "? In short, Dr. Nasr became our minister without portfolio, but Dr. Amini was present yet to introduce me as mayor and told Aamini Azizi: “lead that person for resenting him as the acting minister of municipality.

 

The day, I went to the Saad Abad Palace to the Shah's presence accompanied with Azizi, the minister for the interior was there. He addressed the shah and said: “I should remark to the superiority of your Excellency that by the order of Mr. Prime minister I would present Ahmad Nafisi as the acting minister of municipality. The shah said: why he has not become the mayor again? Azizi said: Your majesty, Mr. Prime minister considers that he is too young for this office. The Shah said: No, he must be Tehran’s mayor …

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