BIOGRAPHY OF AMIR ABBAS HOVEYDA
From "Current Biography, 1971"
A constitutional monarchy with a population of some 30,000,000, Iran has recently been making rapid strides toward modernization without abandoning its rich cultural heritage that dates back to the founding of the Persian Empire some 2500 years ago. Dedicated and progressive, Hoveyda, a former diplomat and executive of Irans largest business enterprise, the National Iranian Oil Company, who became involved in the Shahs reform program while serving as Minister of
Finances in the Cabinet in 1964-65. He succeeded to the premiership following the assassination of his predecessor, Hassan Ali Mansur. Although the ultimate power in Iran resides in Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Premier Hoveyda wields considerable authority in administering the nations domestic and foreign policies. He is determined to bring his country up to a social and economic level approaching that of Western nations.
A.A. Hoveyda was born in Teheran on February 18,1919, one of the two sons of Habibollah Hoveyda and Fatemeh (Afsar-ol-Molouk) Hoveyda (Sardari). After completing his early schooling in Iran, Hoveyda obtained his secondary education at the Lycée Français in Beirut, Lebanon. He then studied at the Université Libre at Brussels, Belgium,where he earned a masters degree in political science and economics, and at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he received a doctorate in history.
In 1942,Hoveyda began his public service career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,with which he remained about sixteen years. He became an attaché with the Iranian Embassy in Paris in 1945 and was appointed second secretary with Irans mission to West Germany two years later. He returned to Teheran in 1951 to serve as deputy director of one of the departments of the Foreign Affairs
Ministry. From 1952 to 1956, he served in Geneva as director of the liaison department of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1957 he became counselor at the Iranian Embassy in Ankara.
From 1958 to 1964 Hoveyda was a member of the board of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).During that period he served successively as assistant to its board chairman, as its general
managing director and as head of its administration and organization. The NIOC had been founded after the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry in 1951
In the early 1960s the Shah conceived a thoroughgoing reform program,known as the White Revolution, to be aimed at modernizing virtually all aspects of Iranian life and undercutting the forces of the revolutionary left, represented by the outlawed Tudeh (Communist) party. For its formulation the Shah enlisted the aid of the Progressive Center, a coalition of relatively young middle-class technocrats drawn from the civil service, business and the professions. As one of its leading members, Hoveyda was closely associated with the Shahs reforms. Approved by an overwhelming vote in a national referendum in january 1963, the reform included provisions for extensive land
redistribution;nationalization of forests; sale of government-owned industries as backing for land reform;electoral reforms, including the granting of equal rights to women;profit-sharing for factory
workers; and creation of a literacy corps to teach rural Iranians reading and writing skills. Other provisions,which were added later,included the formation of a health corps and an agricultural
development corps and reforms in the judiciary and the administrative and academic fields.
In 1963 the Shah allowed the national Parliament, which had been temporarily suspended during a period of crisis, to be reopened. To help the Shah carry out his reform program, Hassan Ali Mansur, a close confidant of the monarch and a boyhood friend of Hoveyda, created a political party (Iran-e-Novin or New Iran), from the Progressive Center.The party was officially established on december 15,1963 with Mansur as secretary-general and Hoveyda as deputy secretary-
general. When Mansur was appointed Premier in march 1964, he named Hoveyda Minister of Finance.
On january 21,1965, while on his way to the Parliament,Mansur was wounded by an assassins bullet and five days later he died. Four members of the Fedayin-e-Islam, a reactionary Muslim group opposed to the Shahs reforms, were arrested for the murder and later executed. Determined that the reform program be continued, the Shah named Hoveyda to succeed the slain Premier on january 27,1965. On taking office, Hoveyda pledged that Irans domestic and foreign policies would remain the same. Except the sad absence of Mansur, nothing is changed he declared. The same men will carry out the same programs Along with the Premiership, Hoveyda at first retained the the portfolio of Finance, but he later appointed Jamshid Amuzegar to succeed him in the latter position. He also relinquished the secretary generalship of the Iran-e-Novin party which had fallen to him after Mansurs death, because he felt that the Premiership and the top party post should not be occupied by the same man.
Although Hoveyda received an overwhelming vote of confidence inthe Parliament four days after he took office, he soon faced serious problems.The problem of internal security, dramatized by Mansurs assassination, was further aggravated when in April 1965 a member of the Palace guard allegededly as a part of a leftist plot made an unsuccessful attack on the Shah. Despite increasing oil revenues and the relative success of industrialization under Irans third economic development plan (1962-67), the country was plagued with a shortage of funds needed for further economic progress.
The shortage was the result of a sharp reduction in aid from the United States government, which maintained that in view of its seeming prosperity,Iran was no longer in dire need.Furthermore the rapid pace of the land reform placed enormous pressure on the countrys rural credit system. To remedy Irans fiscal problems, Hoveyda introduced a stricter income tax law and in presenting the national budget for 1965-66,announced steps to stimulate investment,create more employment, stabilize prices and improve the balance of foreign exchange. The government also negociated new development loans with the World Bank and the Export-Import Bank.
In foreign affairs, Hoveyda reaffirmed Irans adherence to the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in which it is linked with Turkey, Pakistan, Great Britain and the US. In september 1965, he visited Rawalpindi to pledge Irans support for Pakistan in its dispute with India over Kashmir and to discuss means by which a peaceful settlement of that conflict might be attained. The reduced flow of funds from the US- which ended its aid program of grants and low-interest loans in june
1966 on the groound that Iran was now a developed nation-steered the Hoveyda government in the direction of more cordial relations with the Soviet Union, towards which Iran had been hostile only a few years earlier. In january 1966 Hoveyda negociated an agreement with the Soviet Union for aid in the construction of a steel mill, a machine-tool plant and a natural gas pipeline,as well as in exploiting iron and coal mines. Under an additional agreement, Hoveyda announced in february 1967 that the Soviet Union would furnish Iran with 110,000,000 worth of military equipment to be paid for with Iranian natural gas and manufactured goods.
Irans relations with its Arab neighbors were sometimes tense during Hoveydas early years as Premier. In the mid- and late 1960s Iran was engaged in an occasionally violent conflict with Iraq over the boundary between the two nations in the Kurdistan region and navigation rights on the Shatt-al-Arab river. In view of Great Britains announced plans to withdraw from the Persian Gulf region scheduled for late 1971, the Hoveyda government in the late 1960s pressed its long-standing claims to the islands comprising the Sheikdom of Bahrein, arousing some misgivings among neighboring Arab states, notably Saudi Arabia, which considered the area part of its sphere of influence.
Irans generally good relations with Israel, to which it had accorded defacto recognition in 1960, have brought considerable criticism on the Iranian government from such militant Arab states as Syria, Iraq and Egypt. After the six-days war of june 1967 the Hoveyda government supported a UN General Assembly resolution demanding Israeli withdrawal from Arab occupied territory,but it refused to condemn Israel as an agressor. Trade between the two countries has continued undimished.
The Hoveyda governments successful reform policies received a popular mandate in the national election of august 1967, in which the Iran-e-Novin party won 183 of the 219 seats in the Majlis, while the two legal opposition parties, the Mardom (People) and the Pan-Iranist party received twenty eight and five seats respectively. Meanwhile the land reform program had been virtually completed and continued prosperity had enabled the Hoveyda government to exceed some of its
>economic development goals. The coronation of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi took place with colorful festivities on october 26,1967. Although the Shah had occupied the throne since 1941,he had postponed his coronation until he was convinced that he had achieved enough social and economic progress to vindicate his position as Irans sovereign ruler.
That vindication was realized in the progressive regime of Premier Amir Abbas Hoveyda who fulfilled the Shahs expectation of leadership. In march 1968 Hoveyda introduced Irans fourth economic development plan aimed at increasing the gross national product by 9% annually over a five-year period and projecting public and private investments of about $ 10.8 billion,much of it from increased oil revenues. The program included among its goals improvements in agriculture, industry, mining and communications;a 50 % increase in per capita income; and the virtual elimination of
unemployment. Strengthening Irans ties with the Soviet Union and the United States, in april of 1968 he received visiting Soviet Premier Alexis N.Kosygin in Tehran, and in december he made his first state visit to the United States, where he discussed with President Lyndon B. Johnson Irans defense needs and the prospects for peace in the Middle East among other topics.
In 1969, Hoveyda introduced measures to deal with the threat of inflation and tried to persuade the members of the international consortium that exploited Irans oil toincrease the volume of its
production of oil, so that more funds could be made available for Irans economic development. Irans need for a strong military defense establishment in view of Great Britains impending withdrawal from the Persian gulf was emphasized by Hoveyda in his february 1970 budget message to the Majlis.Also during1970 the Hoveyda government introduced policy guidelines for fostering industrial growth during the second half of the fourth development plan and shifted the emphasis in its agrarian program from land reform to the encouragement of more efficient methods of agricultural production. On recommendation of the UN Security Council the government of Iran in may 1970 relinquished its claim to Bahrein, recognizing its right to become an independent nation. Although Irans conflict with Iraq continued to flare up anew,diplomatic relations between Iran and Egypt suspended since 1960,were restored in 1970.In august 1971 Iran recognized the Chinese communist government as the sole legal government of China.
Among reforms introduced by the Hoveyda government in 1971 was a measure curbing the powers of the Civil Service Commission and giving government agencies more control over their own personnel, in the interest of greater efficiency;and a government decentralization plan giving greater authority to provincial and local officils, thereby transferring the affairs of the people to the people. In february 1971 after months of negociations,representatives of six Middle Eastern oil-producing countries, led by Iran, signed an agreement with major Western oil companies, substantially increasing oil revenues paid by the companies to the governments. In his budget message to the Majlis in march 1971, Hoveyda voiced optimism for his countrya future and concluded that Iran was creating its own history in a manner fitting for a nation that would soon celebrate the 2500th anniversary of its existence as an independent monarchy. We are moving towards an increasing elevation of our countrys international status he declared, as quoted by Kayhan Intenational (march 6,1971).We have no doubt that in the very near future weshall be a strong country on a global scale.
Hoveyda was married in 1966 to Leila Emami. They were divorced in 1971 and have no children. The Premier stands five feet eight inches tall, weighs 172 pounds and has brown eyes and a fringe of brown hair. He maintains a fifteen-hour-a-day work schedule. Frowning on paperwork, he has given orders that all reports submitted to him be confined to two pages. "Anything longer than that he told an interviewer from Life (january 14 1966) is almost always loaded with baloney. Hoveyda speaks English, French, German and Arabic and has written articles for various Persian publications. His favorite recreations include golf, tennis, reading and cultivating roses... Among
the honors that he has received are Irans highest civilian award, the order of the Taj, first class, and the rank of Commander of the French Légion dHonneur, as well as decorations from many Western, Asian and Middle East countries. Like most of his countrymen, the Premier is of
the Muslim religion. (Current Biography 1971, pages 200-202)
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