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Arteshbod Gholam-Ali Oveissi was an Iranian general and the Chief Commander of the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He was the last general to head the Imperial Army of Iran. He is regarded as one of the most powerful and adept military generals in Iran’s modern history.[2][3][full citation needed]

Gholam-Ali Oveissi
Gen Oveissi main pic.jpg
General Gholam-Ali Oveissi
Nickname(s)Butcher of Tehran[1]
Born(1918-04-16)16 April 1918
Qom, Iran
Died7 February 1984(1984-02-07) (aged 65)
Paris, France
Service/branchImperial Iranian Army
Years of service1934–1979
Commands heldCommander of the Iranian Imperial Army
Awardssee Medals


Early lifeEdit

General Oveissi was born in 1918 in the city of Qhom.[citation needed] He came from a large prominent family with a long military and political history.[citation needed] His brothers and sisters served in Government office.[citation needed] Oveissi’s family from his father’s lineage goes back to Shah Qara Yusuf Muhammad, the ruler of the Ghara Ghoyonlu dynasty (Black Seep Turkomans) and descends through Uzun Hassan when he defeated Jahan Shah in a battle near the sanjak of Çapakçur[4][5] in present day eastern Turkey on 30 October[6] (or 11 November[7]), 1467, resulting in a merger of the Ghara Ghoyonlu and the Agh Ghoyunlu dynasty (White Sheep Turkomans). He is a direct descendant of Eskandar Beik Torkaman,the Minister, head of army (Iraq campaign) and personal advisor to Shah Abbas the Great.[citation needed] On his mother's side he was the grandson of Hossein Ali Mirza, the eldest son of Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar.[citation needed] In 1937, Oveissi married Sharafat Baniadam, the daughter of Sharif Doleh Baniadam, and granddaughter of Sharif Doleh Bozorg. They were married until her passing in 1972. The Baniadams were members of the Ghaffari family of Kashan.[citation needed]


Oveissi received his diploma from Iran's Military High School.[citation needed] He attended the Officers Faculty in the same class as Mohammad-Reza Shah continuing his military training in the Military Academy in Tehran where he graduated first in his class.[citation needed] The top graduates of the class were selected by Reza Shah to go straight to the Imperial Guard, an honor given only to the top five graduates.[citation needed] Oveissi sought permission from Reza Shah to be stationed at Khuzestan instead where the government was involved in battle with rebel groups. He attended the Military organization in Fort Myers, Virginia and Fort Leavenworth Kansas in 1959.[citation needed]

From 1938-1939 he was chosen to command the Military Section of the 7th and 13th regiments positioned in Fars Province and replaced the commander of the 6th regiment from 1940-1941. From 1941 – 1943 he replaced the military commander of Fars Province, section 13.[citation needed]

From 1940-1960 he was chief of the military faculty in Tehran. After 1955 his military career progressed rapidly.[citation needed]

On 12 September 1954, he became a full colonel and served with that rank until 1960 when he was promoted to general in the Royal Iranian Army.[citation needed]

From 1958-1960 he participated actively in the military court prosecution of communist officers.[citation needed]

He continued his military studies in the United States periodically from 1960-1965, and became a full commander of the Royal Military division of the Imperial Guards.[citation needed]

Four Star General of the Army. From 1960-1965 he became a four star general of the Army, being the youngest of his peers to achieve the rank of four stars.[citation needed]

In 1965 General Oveissi became the Chief Commander of the security divisions of the Policy Academy.[citation needed]

In 1966 he served in the Committee of Information of the Imperial Iranian Army.[citation needed]

In 1969 he obtained the highest military rank.[citation needed]


General Oveissi received many military medals for his honorable and distinguished services in the Iranian Armed Forces, including:

1) Medals 1,2 and 3 for his aptitude;
2) Medal of Honor 1,2 and 3;
3) He was honored with a medal (level 2) for his exceptional effort in the counter coup d’etat of 1953 (28 Mordad).
4) He received a medal for being a master marksman;
4) He received the medal of (Taj) crown level 3 Medal of Homayoun level 3;
5) Medal of appreciation and acknowledgement levels 1,2, and;
6) Medal for his tireless efforts and highly praised work levels 1,2, and 3;
7) Medal for his services level 3;
8) Medal for his distinguished education.

Oveissi additionally obtained medals from various countries’ military organizations. He received medals from Italian, English, Lebanese, German, and Ethiopian militaries as well.

Classified Top Secret US Embassy Cables to WashingtonEdit

Below are excerpts of reports/cables produced by the American Embassy in Tehran before the revolution and later obtained by the newly installed revolutionary regime. The cables were published by Kayhan, Iran's leading conservative newspaper:

Kayhan publishing of US Embassy top secret cables to Washington on General Oveissi

General Gholam Ali Oveissi: highly secret report

"In November 19, 1972 General Oveissi received the highest military medal. Furthermore, the position of the Chief Commander of the Iranian Police Division was afforded to him. A year before this award he seriously considered retirement. His re-emergence as the Chief Military Commander surprised many. He worked tirelessly to fulfill his duties and his principal aim was to modernize the gendarmerie of Iran. Oveissi is without a doubt an ardent and sincere soldier. He is determined to orgaznize the infantry of the Iranian Forces. He used the same determination and effectiveness to organize the Police divisions as he did to the Armed Forces.

Oveissi is the trusted officer and confidant of the Shah. He is treated rather like a personal friend. The United States Military considers Oveissi a most trustworthy and very disciplined organized officer. They consider him law-abiding, with a great deal of integrity of character.

He prefers to keep a distance from the affairs of the Royal / Court at all times.

He is a very decisive man in organization of the infantry, he makes rather independent decisions in running his affairs of a military nature."

Political Section: General Oveissi [omitted] Top Secret

"During the Sharif Imami Government and [omitted] he decided the installation of [omitted] in Tehran and 11 other cities of Iran. He was designated to be the Chief Commander of [omitted] .

Later on when General Azhari became Prime Minister, a post he himself suggested be given to Oveissi, Oveissi was chosen to take the responsibility for the affairs of the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs. Strangely enough, they refused to give him the title of Minister. At any event on the 11th of November a [omitted] Minister assumed the responsibilities for the Ministry of Work and social affairs and as a consequence Oveissi could bring himself with the problems of security. His capability and his extraordinary zeal as a soldier was highly considered by all sections of the Iranian Army.

As he is an extremely loyal and dedicated soldier of the Army, he preferred to control the officers who served under his surveillance and the affairs of certain regiments. He is extremely adept in running his military affairs. On the whole he is greatly respected by all branches and division of the Army.

Generally speaking, he had a very domestic style in organizing his regiments. He tried not be involved in making political decisions. One can assume he was fully content with his military career and responsibilities.

He is highly regarded and respected by the American Military organizations. He is a very loyal soldier and obtained the respect of all sections of the Iranian military. He is in favor of the West and America. In 1958-1959 he was invited by the military authorities of America to visit. He went further and accepted their method for constructive criticism. He was a very decisive officer in matters of combating urgent problems. Pentagon and many American generals and high officials have high regard for General Oveissi.

Personal Information

Oveissi was a sincere, loyal and hard working officer. Characteristically he was modest, kind, and above all highly disciplined. He often participated in gun shooting meets. His knowledge of English was more than adequate. He speaks French fluently. He fathered two sons and one daughter. His daughter married Fereidoon Amir-Aslani in 1973."

Oveissi Gholam Ali Top Secret Report 11th of February 1975

Ministry of Defense of the United States

"General Oveissi was previously married to Mrs. Sharafat(Deceased), had three offspring, two sons and one daughter.

His eldest son Mohammad Reza attended the University of Terhan. He is thirty years of age. The youngest son, Ali Reza, was educated in the United States, he is twenty years old. His daughter is twenty eight and married to Fereidoon Amir-Aslani. (She was previously married to Khosrow Sadigh, the son of Sadigh-ol-Molk). General Oveissi is a very disciplined, capable and ardent officer. He is an excellent marksman.

Opinions About Him

He is a very responsible soldier in the Royal Iranian Army.

Various Services

He was born in the Holy city of Ghom in 1918. He entered military academy where the Shah of Iran was being educated.

In the decade of 1950 he was involved in the court martial concerning certain officers who were accused of being members of the Communist party. They tried to topple the Shah’s government in 1953.

After this period his military career reached the very top of Iran.

Personal Information

Oveissi has an acute and sharp memory. He is truly respected by all branches of the Army. He observed ethics at all times.

He was a genuine religious man. He prayed at noon in his office. He observed the law of Islam (Sharia). He was an excellent horse rider, indeed horsemanship was his preferred sport. He, along with his son Mohammad Reza, are viewed among the best riders and marksmen in Iran. Oveissi accompanied his wife to America to obtain medical treatment for her leukemia. She died in 1971."

Later years and assassinationEdit

In January 1979, Oveissi was pressured to resign and leave the country. He settled in France just before the Iranian revolution on 11 February.[8] 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 Oveissi.[8]

Oveissi was shot dead, along with his brother, Gholam Hossein, on 7 February 1984 in Paris, Rue de Passy.[8][9][10] Oveissi was at the age of 66.[9] The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the assassination.[9] His death was considered by many as the blow that dealt the most setback to opposition groups poised to overthrow the revolutionary regime in Tehran. Two days before his assassination he was expected to fly back to the border of Iran to lead a counter revolutionary army of officers and men from elite divisions of the late Shah's military that was quartered in 22 makeshift barracks in eight Turkish villages and at five clandestine bases inside Iran. Since Oveissi had strong ties and the support of powerful members of the clergy including Grand Ayatollahs Shariatmadari and Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei his elimination was priority number one for the newly established revolutionary government.


  1. ^ "Lodi News-Sentinel - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  2. ^ Mansur Rafizadeh. Witness: From the Shah to the Secret Arms Deal
  3. ^ National Defense University. Khomeini Incorporation of the Military.Jan 1996
  4. ^ Alexander Mikaberidze (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 907. ISBN 9781598843361. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  5. ^ Peter Jackson, Lawrence Lockhart (1986). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 6. Cambridge University Press. p. 173. ISBN 9780521200943. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  6. ^ Edward Granville Browne (2009). A History of Persian Literature Under Tartar Dominion (A.D, 1265–1502). Cambridge: The University press Publication. p. 89. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  7. ^ Peter Jackson, Lawrence Lockhart (1986). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 6. Cambridge University Press. p. 1120. ISBN 9780521200943. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  8. ^ a b c "No Safe Haven: Iran's Global Assassination Campaign". Iran Human Rights. 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "Two Iranian exiles are assassinated in Paris". Lodi News Sentinel. Paris. UPI. 8 February 1984. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  10. ^

Military offices
Preceded by
Fathollah Minbashian
Commander of the Imperial Iranian Ground Force
Succeeded by
Abdol Ali Badrei