Gholam Reza Azhari
Gholam Reza Azhari
|44th Prime Minister of Iran|
6 November 1978 – 4 January 1979
|Monarch||Mohammad Reza Shah|
|Preceded by||Jafar Sharif-Emami|
|Succeeded by||Shapour Bakhtiar|
|Born||18 February 1912
|Died||5 November 2001 (aged 89)
McLean, Virginia, United States
|Alma mater||National War College|
|Branch/service||Imperial Iranian Army|
|Years of service||1935–1979|
|Commands||Commander-in-Chiefs of the Iranian Armed Forces|
Early life and education
Azhari worked at the CENTO. He was appointed chief of staff of Iran's armed forces in 1971 and his tenure lasted until 1978. He served as interim prime minister of a military government until a civilian government could be chosen. He served as prime minister from 6 November 1978 to 31 December 1978. He formed the first military government in Iran since 1953.
On 21 December 1978, Azhari, then the prime minister, told U.S. Ambassador to Iran William Sullivan that, "You must know this and you must tell it to your government. This country is lost because the Shah cannot make up his mind." Azhari had a heart attack in January 1979 and resigned on 2 January. Then he was succeeded by Abbas Gharabaghi as the chief of the army staff. Shapour Bakhtiar succeeded Azhari as prime minister. On 18 February 1979 Azhari was retired from the army in absentia.
His cabinet was composed of eight members (five military men and three civilians):
- General Gholam Ali Oveissi, Military Governor of Tehran (Labour and Social Affairs),
- Lieutenant General Nasser Moghaddam, head of the Security Police (Energy),
- General Abbas Gharabaghi (Interior),
- Lieutenant General Abdol Hassan Sa'adatmand (Housing and Development),
- General Gholam-Reza Azhari (War)
- Amir Khosrow Afshar (Foreign Affairs),
- Mohammad Reza Amin (Industry),
- Karim Motamedi (Posts and Telecommunications)
However, it is also reported that the government was of eleven men and six of them were military officers.
Later years and death
Azhari suffered a heart attack while serving as prime minister. After leaving office he went to the US in January 1979 for heart surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital. After surgery he did not return to Iran and settled in McLean, Virginia. In the immediate aftermath of the revolution, Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, a religious judge and then chairman of the Revolutionary Court, informed the press that the death sentence was passed on the members of the Pahlavi family and former Shah officials, including Azhari.
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