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Title: The SAVAK and the Cold War : counter-intelligence and foreign intelligence (1957-1968)
Author: Kaveh Moravej, Kaveh
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 9862
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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This research investigates Iran’s geopolitical importance in the context of the Cold War in the years 1957-1968 that made it a key target for Soviet intelligence and a crucial intelligence battleground with all states that held an interest in Iran. For Iran and the non-Soviet Bloc powers, Iran’s newly established intelligence and national security organisation (SAVAK) had become an entity whose counter-intelligence capabilities were crucial in curtailing the activities of Soviet and Soviet-aligned intelligence officers within Iran. The intelligence agencies of the Soviet Union, the KGB and GRU, were highly active within Iran in both seeking to gather intelligence and to undermine the Pahlavi regime and it was left to the SAVAK’s counter-intelligence directorate to pursue the difficult task of combating these efforts. This Cold War battle extended to Iraq where Iraqi governments were viewed by the SAVAK as being proxies for Soviet interests. As a result of such concerns the SAVAK’s foreign intelligence structure sought not only to gather intelligence but also to directly influence events within Iraq. Iran's counter-intelligence and foreign-intelligence structures therefore played a critical national security role during the Cold War years 1957-1968. This research will firstly explore how the SAVAK’s foreign intelligence activities ultimately led to the establishment and expansion of Iranian intelligence collection and analysis capabilities in its regional sphere of interest. Intelligence theory is also used to examine the SAVAK's counter-intelligence and foreign intelligence structures and operations during the stated period of investigation, together with the influence of Cold War thinking on its activities. The main strands of inquiry in this research will at the outset involve the question of why Iran felt it necessary to establish professional foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities. The structure and operational methods of these capabilities will then be examined along with the reasons for why the USSR and Iraq were targeted by Iranian foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence. The important relationship between intelligence and policy formulation and execution will also be analysed in this specific period of the Cold War.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: iran ; savak ; middle east ; intelligence ; security ; politics ; international relations