December 7 (Azar 16)
December 7 – A date that lives in infamy.
You may know that today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the event that killed over 2400 Americans in 1941 and brought the United States into World War II.
But December 7 is also a memorial in other parts of the world.
In Iran, December 7 is Students Day. It marks the day in 1953 that three students were killed by Iranian police while protesting the arrival of U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon.
Four months earlier a U.S.-backed coup overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Mossadegh had nationalized Iran’s oil industry, much to the dismay of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now British Petroleum). The coup is believed to have been led by the CIA and MI6, and it gave power to General Zahedi and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, aka the Shah, who would rule Iran until 1979.
In December of 1953…
“Iran and the United Kingdom agreed to resume diplomatic relations. The British prevailed on the Americans and the Americans on the shah and Zahedi to move forward on the resumption. The announcement made on 5 December caused a protest at Tehran University…prompting martial law forces to intervene. Ordered to contain the demonstrators, the soldiers fired on the crowd on 7 December (16 Azar), leaving three students dead and several wounded.”
The Shah was deposed in the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
Each year students remember those killed and wounded in the student protests of 1953.
What goes around comes around… In 2009, students in Tehran gathered on Students Day to protest the leadership under President Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah. (Iran Student Protests Bring Out Tens of Thousands)
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Today is also a holiday in Côte d’Ivoire. December 7 marks the anniversary of the death of Côte d’Ivoire’s first President, Félix Houphouët-Boigny in 1993. Houphouët-Boigny was president of the small West African nation from 1960 until his death in December 1993. Houphouët-Boigny was instrumental in the fight for independence from France in the late 1950’s.