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SAVAK

SAVAK (Sazeman-i Ettelaat va Amniyat-i Keshvar, National Organization for Intelligence and Security) was the domestic security and intelligence service of Iran from 1957-1979.

It was founded in 1957 with the assistance of the CIA. Its mission was to protect the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, and control opposition. Its first director was General Teymur Bakhtiar[?], who was replaced by General Hosain Pakravan[?] in 1961 and later assassinated. Pakravan was replaced in 1966 by General Nematollah Nassiri[?], a close friend of the Shah, and the service was reorganized and became increasingly active in the face of rising Islamic militancy and political unrest. SAVAK was part of the Office of the Prime Minister and had strong ties with the military.

The service had almost unlimited powers of arrest and detention, it operated its own holding centres, Komiteh and Evin. It is almost universally accepted that SAVAK routinely subjected detainees to extreme physical torture. As well as domestic security the service extended its remit to include the surveillance of Iranians abroad, notably in the United States.

Following the escape of the Shah in January 1979, SAVAK's 15,000 strong staff were targeted for reprisals, many of the senior officials were executed, and the organization was closed down by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he took power in February.

SAVAK was replaced by the theologically inspired SAVAMA, later renamed VEVAK[?].



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