By Morteza Saheb Fosoul Managing Director of Tehran Times (1994-1998)

Tehran Times: An audible voice of the oppressed people worldwide

May 4, 2020 - 18:52

Fourty-one years ago on May 4, the first edition of the Tehran Times was published in eight pages. Tehran Times was registered as the first paper that managed to gain publication license after the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.   

The founding father, manager-in-charge, chief editor, editorial board's director, head of the public relations and technical department's manager of the newly-established Tehran Time was a young man named Irfan Parviz Ansari Javid.

He was born in the central Indian city of Bhopal. Parviz left his homeland in 1969 to join a number of his relatives who were living in Iran. Parviz began his career in journalism in Tehran as a reporter for the Tehran Journal, one of Iran’s two English language newspapers at that time.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution all English language newspapers were shut down. 

Parviz, in line with the revolution's nature, had come to the conclusion that the nations' independence, the nations' access to the God-gifted resources, cutting the hegemonic world powers' hands from other nations' wealth, the fight against oppression and discrimination, living within the moral-based framework, paving the ground for the entire nations to take giant strides towards growth and glory, liberating the mankind from the jail of fruitlessness, libido and drunkenness, believing in the God as the creator of the mankind and the nature, and obeying the almighty God, all together were capable of enabling the human being to enjoy the entire material and spiritual capacities which would lead the mankind towards utilizing his or her own dignities as well as the surrounding world's privileges.      

Parviz's sense and feelings impacted his family members too. Perhaps, they could not analyze those days' developments in Tehran based on their previous memories, but the character and stances of Late Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, were very interesting for Parviz and his family members. 

Parviz was proud of his son, Aman. He was among the first people who became Imam Khomeini's translator in an interview conducted by the CBS news network in the first weeks of the Imam's stay in Qom city. At the end of the interview, Imam Khomeini had warmly encouraged Aman, had asked his name and had called on Aman to talk about his activities.  

Tehran Times resumed its mission based on the belief that it would reflect Iran's point of views and stances amid the unique situation in the country following the Islamic Revolution's victory. 

Post-revolution viewpoints were clearly differently from before which were tainted with pro-U.S. news outlets. As a result the media was faced with a void which needed to be filled with alternatives to inform the world about the developments in the post-revolutionary Iran.

Those days, the foreign embassies in Tehran were the only sources of transmission of news and developments abroad. The audience overseas was receiving Iran's news via the embassies' translators who had collected news and reports, publishing them via telex.  

The emergence of the Tehran Times was very timely, especially for the English language audience. The newly-established daily found rapidly its own audience across the globe. 

Running the affairs of such an important daily was not an easy task. Responsibilities included managing all the affairs of the daily, including distribution, training of staff and handling of the monetary affairs, etc. were handled by Parviz.

Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, who was one of the main leaders of the Islamic Revolution, came to know that certain people were trying to gain influence in the daily. Martyr Beheshti managed a meeting with Parviz and called on him to resist against the problems and meantime expressed the hope to save Tehran Times from a shutdown and possible deviation.  

Ayatollah Beheshti further called on Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, the then head of the Islamic Development Organization, to provide financial and administrative supports for the Tehran Times. 

In the meantime, Beheshti initiated a weekly meeting with Parviz to set guidelines for the daily’s policy analysis.

Parviz was regularly praising Beheshti's accurate analysis and viewpoints in the mentioned meetings. At first, the meetings were attended only by Parviz but later chief editor of the Islamic Republic daily joined the meetings.

Ayatollah Beheshti knew well that if the newly-established Islamic Republic wanted to stand on its own feet and protect itself against the problems and difficulties posed by the enemies and that it would face long term inefficiencies inherited from the past. He knew that the officials who had been employed by the new government would not be the ultimate representatives of the country's self-sacrificing people. Therefore, the government's officials and representatives would not reflect a complete image of the people's ideals in the media.
That is why, Beheshti underlined, "Tehran Times must manifest the original intentions (of people) on its pages, it should not be turned into the government's noticeboard or advertisement bill.  

"The Tehran Times must not become the government's spokesperson, but it must be the loud voice of the world oppressed people," Beheshti told Parviz in a meeting.

Now, Tehran Times daily should pay required attention to its current and past records as it is turning 41 years old. If Tehran Times has been honest to Beheshti's strategy from the viewpoints of its audience, then it is entitled to be proud of its records. We hope so.

It should be mentioned that Irfan Parviz died at his home in Tehran in May 2015. He was 85.

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