Diplomatically and politely stopping short of calling me a nutcase, he provides a balanced look into this. No harm, no foul.
To add focus to the story, something I left out as superfluous and private, my original source for the information I provided came from an old man, an Iranian, who worked with Khomeini's father Haj Abdollah Williamson. At the time he was a young man starting his career within the oil industry.
I have left out his name for his own peace, though we have long lost touch with each other and sadly, based on age, he may no longer be with us.
Chisholm, who was Haji Wiliamson;s boss, did go on record and the hard copy of the news article exists where he said "Haji went native but if he is Khomeini's father I couldn't say". That is a pure "no comment" response since if there not truth in it, the response would have been a scoffing one of something like "what nonsense! Not the Haji I knew. He worked for me so I would know."
Just as in the Carter illegally pressuring the Shah article, I left out that the man walking beside the Volkswagen van with the cleric on top regulating the speed of the demonstrators marching on the U.S. Embassy, was an employee (former by that time) of mine, so the conversation reported to me was accurate and well sourced.
Anyway, the article by Melik deserves a read and attention.
Incidentally, converted Jew, Elias Eliasi, built an extension of the notorious Evin prison shortly after the revolution and nearly ended inside it as an inmate when his work was disapproved by the head of the prison who had handed him the sweetheart project. Or perhaps Elias failed to pay the bribe money to him in full.
As you can see AntiMullah has considerable insider information but does not post all we know unless it comes up for good reason.
Was Khomeini's Father A Brit?
Melik Kaylan, 10.09.09
The claim that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born into a Jewish family appeared in the Daily Telegraph last week. His identity card, which he had proudly displayed to press cameras during the last election, when closely examined revealed his original family name as "Sabourjian"-- meaning someone in the schmatte trade and usually denoting Jewish roots, because it refers specifically to the weaving of Jewish religious garments.
A number of commentators felt that Ahmadinejad's fierce anti-Israeli sentiments now made sense. His father had converted to Islam in order to marry his Muslim mother and the son grew up with the zeal of a convert.
Will anyone in Iran believe the allegations, and will they care? And even then, can they do anything anyway? Ahmadinejad's unpopularity matters little at his point in a system founded on interlocking power blocs rather than popular consent. If the regime has any pretence to legitimacy left, it derives from the residual authority inherited from the cult of Ayatollah Khomeini.
What of Khomeini's legitimacy? Three years ago some astonishing documents came into my possession regarding that point. I have not been able to verify the allegations contained in them. The Internet bubbles and boils on the subject and fades into conspiracy with no concrete verdict. Quite simply, it needs further hard investigation in Iranian or Middle Eastern archives by qualified impartial researchers. No doubt they wouldn't survive long if they tried. So I offer the information raw, in the hope that others more qualified than myself will look further.
The material reached me in the oddest way. I was attending an old boys reunion weekend at Clifton College, my old boarding school in England. The head of the alumni society handed me an envelope -- he'd been asked by unnamed former pupils to make sure I got them. I didn't get a chance to peer inside until I'd returned to the U.S. The envelope contained two documents: a Xeroxed book review from the long-defunct Illustrated London News dated Nov. 10, 1951, and titled "Arabian Adventurer. The Story of Haji Williamson;" and a May 3, 2006 Xerox of an article entitled "Who Was The Ayatollah Khomeini?" from a publication called Persian Journal.
The book review related the adventure-strewn life of a Victorian Englishman born in 1872, William Richard Williamson, who attended Clifton's preparatory school and found the discipline so distasteful that he ran off to sea as a young teenager.
He sailed around on British merchant ships, hated that too, and roamed around the U.S. as a cowboy, miner, actor and the like, then roamed the world finding odd jobs from the Philippines to the Persian Gulf. In the 1890s, Williamson fetched up in Arabia and settled there.
He went thoroughly native, wore local garb, converted to Islam, (Alan note: as a Arab Sunni not a Shia which Iranians follow) married two wives in the Islamic way and produced 13 offspring. The review quotes the book: "His exploits make him a legendary figure among the Arabs. His career as a desert fighter and camel dealer in Arabia, leader of expeditions in the wilds of Oman, pearler in the Persian Gulf, secret agent of Iraq, and representative of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, is remarkable, judged by any standard."
Williamson undertook the haj to Mecca several times, and Arabs knew him as Haji Abdullah al-Zobair.
Let us leave the Haji there for now and turn to the Persian Journal article entitled "Who Was Ayatollah Khomeini?" by one Alan Peters. I have found a shorter version of it on the Web, and in both versions the material seems highly detailed, deeply probed, well ordered and not at all loony in tone. The gist? That Khomeini was one of Haji Williamson's offspring. But first, who is Peters and what of Persian Journal? The publication still exists, it seems, and appears to be one of those California-based expatriate-Iranian effusions.
The author of the article, Peters, pops up repeatedly on the Web as a stridently anti-Muslim voice "dedicated to the removal of the Islamic regime in Iran." So say his various posts, which gradually turn increasingly odd and even a little unhinged until, alarmingly, one finds the assertion that "Oba-Hussein is doing to America what Khomeini did to Iran"-- at which point one is tempted to cast the entire nest of hornets aside in disgust.
Yet one shouldn't. Peters, my Iranian friends tell me, is a U.K.-based, elderly, possibly half-Iranian British gent who lived in Iran for many years and is married to an Iranian. They say he has turned into a sensationalist and even fantasist in his later years -- but that he has done good work in the past. One gets the impression of a contradictory gentleman with increasingly showy and exaggerated opinions but with a past talent for dogged research.
Let us leave "Alan Peters" out of it for now. The hypothesis must stand or fall on its own merits. The story begins with Haji Williamson's Kashmiri wife. The official story goes that Khomeini's mother was said to be a Muslim of Indian descent. Of his father the official details are foggy but indicate a Persian Muslim living in Kashmir -- where Williamson often stayed. (Alan note: regularly vacationed to get away from the Persian Gulf heat).
Williamson was a devout Muslim and educated his kids in religious Shiite schools under top ayatollahs. (Alan note: Iraq's religious schools were the best and closest to him and happened to be Shia. Haji, himself, was a pure Sunni convert. Unlike his brothers, Khomeini failed the high level teaching standards in Iraq and was then sent to the Iranian city of Qom which had lower standards).
"Two of them," says the article, "Hindizadeh (meaning Indian born) and Passandieh (meaning pleasing or approved) studied well and eventually became ayatollahs in their own right. The third boy, a troublesome young man, failed to make his mark in Najaf and went to the holy city of Qom and studied under Ayatollah Boroujerdi. When family names became a requirement by law under the rule of Reza Shah (the Shah's father) the young man chose the city of his residence (Qom or Khom) and took on the name of Khomeini." (Alan note: there is the tthe more widespread opinion that he lived in the Iranian town of Khomein and this became the origin of his name)
Williamson lived in Iran on and off between the World Wars and eventually got ejected by Reza Shah for working too closely with British oil interests. The article is so well-written and well-informed on the intricate regional history of the decades when the British ruled the Middle East and parts of Iran that--well, that it's hard to square such erudition with some of the views that the author, Alan Peters, seems to hold now. A detailed chronicle of Khomeini's early years follows, ending with his return to Iran after the Shah is unseated. Under the Shah, Khomeini was sentenced to death for his anti-monarchical views and given the title of ayatollah by clerics who wished to protect him from execution -- ayatollahs were exempt from the death sentence--who also abetted his escape from Iran.
(Alan note: as someone who knew General Pakravan , head of SAVAK - internal security - cross between the FBI AND CIA and his children on a personal level, the real story is that Ayatollah Shariatmadari, a strong supporter of the Shah, was worried that executing Khomeini would create a martyr and become a problem for the monarchy. General Pakravan came up with the idea to elevate the low level cleric to an ayatollah status and Shariatmadari helped with making this happen on the clerical level, He did not escape the country, he was formally exiled by Iranian courts).
Upon his return, Khomeini pointedly moved to kill off leading figures with knowledge of his past, indeed who helped him escape execution, including an Iranian senator (Alan note: who used his influence to obtain Iranian citizenship documents since Khomeini had no Iranian origin, nor Iranian blood in his veins - neither paternal nor maternal) and the Grand Ayatollah Shariatmadari. The senator had closely befriended Haji Williamson during his years in Iran. The Grand Ayatollah survived the hit but was placed under house arrest for many years. Documents pertaining to Khomeini's antecedents, according to the article, quickly disappeared or got changed during this time -- something I had heard mentioned over the years by other sources.
(Alan note: as did his lunatic religious writings - such as sexual instructions on bestial and pedophilian sex - scrubbed inside Iran where possessing Khomeini's early, written sayings now receives a death sentence!)
The article brings up other flimsier -- but cumulatively suggestive - - details such as Khomeini's dodgy Farsi accent and the testimony of a veteran British Petroleum operative (many such officials were also British intelligence agents) who had known Williamson well and refused to comment on Khomeini's parentage.
Documentation of births and deaths, generally, remained very iffy in many parts of the Islamic world well into the 1950s as empires crumbled into nation states, borders hardened, tribes were forcibly sedentarized, and new family names got adopted, so a theory like this is very easy to cook up -- but it is also just as likely to be true. My Iranian sources tell me that Khomeini's own grandson, Hossein Khomeini, who visited the U.S. once in 2003, feels that his grandfather's antecedents are distinctly foggy.*
What to make of it all? Why does it matter, if true? Here's why: Iranians struggle with a number of contradictory claims on their sense of identity: nationalism, Shiism, ethnic and tribal affiliations, wider Persian and farsophone continuums reaching into, say, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
The mullahs (taazis) have tried to emphasize the Shiite and nationalist senses of identity but the two are not always in synch: many (Alan note: liberal, secularly inclined) Iranians, for example, have continued to revere (Alan: but not worship) various irreligious Persian poets of past millennia and picnic at their tombs. From the earliest Muslim-Persian era in the first millennium onwards, Persians have harbored a resentment of the Arabization of their ancient culture.
Iranians remember that soon after the 1979 Khomeini revolution, many of the security personnel at prisons and police stations were Arabs and other foreigners who'd been mysteriously imported to do the dirty work--from Lebanon and elsewhere. (Alan: currently Supreme Ruler Khamenei has imported over 5,000 felons from Palestinian prisons to kill and maim demonstrators). Similarly, we all know what Iranians think of British meddling in their history. So Khomeini's international antecedents touch on highly sensitive fault lines in the Iranian psyche.
The same goes for Ahmadinejad. Iranian Jews belong to one of the world's oldest Jewish communities. Most educated Iranians consider them so indigenous as to be native. But many ethnic nationalists or anti-Zionists don't.
Ironically, they are just the types who would make up the bulk of Ahmadinejad's followers. (I'm told that an aunt of Ahmadinejad lives in Haifa and has recently popped up in an Israeli newspaper outlining her family lineage.) According to my Iranian sources, two of the regime's scariest characters -- Elias Asgaroladi-Islami and Elias Eliasi -- are converted Jews who run the Motalefeh, a political party/goon squad with very bloody hands as shadowy paramilitary enforcers.