The Dawn of a New Era
The new civilian prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar, whom the Shah appointed from the opposition ranks ahead of his exile in mid-January, became Washington’s best hope to prevent the collapse of the regime. The four-star General Robert Huyser was rushed to Tehran to maintain the cohesion of the armed forces behind the new prime minister. Bakhtiar showed courage and grit but his multifaceted strategy was undercut by Sullivan with the unwitting help of Huyser. Sullivan plotted to shorten the Bakhtiar interlude in favor of Mehdi Bazargan in an upcoming political setting that he likened to the Gandhi–Nehru model of governance in India. The ambassador set out to shift the loyalty of the military leaders to the pro-Khomeini camp. The departure of the Shah on January 16 deepened the rift within the military and paved the way for the eventual success of that strategy.