The Abadan File
The cataclysmic arson in Abadan in August 1978 that killed more than 400 people is examined in all its aspects. The crime was part of the strategy of destabilization plotted by a pro-Khomeini cell in Abadan in liaison with the society of Qom seminary teachers. The perpetrators managed to throw the onus of the crime onto the Shah, who failed to rise to the occasion to change the revolutionary tide. The bulk of opinion in Iran as well as abroad fell for a cover-up scheme hatched by radical clerics. Moderate Qom ulama wished to keep the image of the clergy immaculate, hence not keen to encourage indepth inquests. The overriding factor in the conduct of the Shah and his new prime minister was to avoid alienating the top Qom ulama presumed able to help the regime out of the wider crisis.