Whether "garden parties" were a social venue for business people to meet and make commercial arrangements during the time of the Shah; who organized them; whether political figures attended them [IRN35151.E]

The following information was provided during a 7 September 2000 telephone interview with a retired academic who travels to Iran twice a year. He has taught Economics of the Middle East, Energy Economics, and Middle East Geography at Harvard University, the Diplomatische Akademie in Vienna, and at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has been a consultant to the United States Federal Trade Commission, the International Energy Agency (Paris), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). He is currently writing an article on the industrial transformation of Iran.

He stated that there were a great many parties held during the time of the Shah and that a great deal of business was conducted at them. He said he believed that it is a little bit of a misnomer to call these events "garden parties," since most homes have a garden attached to them and many business people had villas in the country-side where there were large gardens. Often, with weather permitting, when parties were held those attending would spill out into the gardens. Parties were social occasions and were organized by all kinds of people, including business people and were attended by a wide variety of people, including those involved in politics. As social occasions, the persons who attended would engage in conversation and often these "side-bar" conversations would involve business dealings. The retired academic added that parties such as these continue in present day Iran.

In partial corroboration of the above, the UK Co-ordinator of the National Movement of Iranian Resistance (NAMIR) - an organization founded by Dr. Shapur Bakhtiar wrote that while he was unsure whether something "specific" was meant by "garden parties" he was "sure businessmen and lots of other people held garden parties from time to time" (9 Sept. 2000). With regard to who may have attended such parties the UK Co-ordinator wrote: "Of the members of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Jannati is believed to have been quite involved in some lucrative business deals and also extremely reluctant to take part in the revolution against the Shah" (ibid.). The Research Directorate was unable to corroborate this information within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


National Movement of Iranian Resistance (NAMIR), London. 9 September 2000. Correspondence from the UK Co-ordinator.

School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 7 September 2000. Telephone interview with professor emeritus.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International. Iran: Violations of Human Rights 1987-1990.

Hunter, Shireen T. Iran After Khomeini. 1992.

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. The Justice System of the Islamic Republic of Iran. May 1993.

The Middle East and North Africa 1989. 1988.

Three non-documentary sources contacted could not provide information on the requested subject.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact four non-documentary sources