A Brief Biography of Dr. Forood Manouchehri Fouladvand, The Founder of Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran, (API):
Dr. Forood Fouladvand was born in the Iranian province of Lorestan in 1941. During his childhood, he began studying Arabic and the Quran. His family eventually settled in Tehran, where he swiftly gained proficiency in English and became a translator in his teens. It was in Tehran where he also pursued interests in art and broadcast media. At seventeen, Fouladvand began working at the Air Force radio station overseeing its transmissions, and, before long, his talents were also being used to dub foreign films. From there, he began writing plays and screenplays and directing plays and films. In 1958, he was given the honor of covering the televised coronation ceremony of “2500 Years Celebration of The Persian Empire”.
In the winter of 1979, while shooting The Lion of Sinai in Egypt, Fouladvand returned to Iran alarmed by the events precipitating the Iranian Revolution. He quickly recognized the alliance between leftist political groups and Islamists. He believed a mixture of religion and populist communism had clouded the senses of many Iranians. With the help of his Navy-deputy friend, Prince Shahryar Shafiq, Fouladvand offered his analysis of the Quran to military officers—emphasizing how the Quran was being used to support questionable ideologies. But the political riots had already developed momentum, and it became increasingly clear that Iran was headed toward anarchy and disintegration. Fouladvand traveled to the southern port of Bandar Abbas to join Prince Shahryar Shafiq and his group who were organizing to combat the impending Islamic regime. Prince Shahryar Shafiq, however, disappeared.
This violent loss led Fouladvand to return to Egypt. His film, The Lion of Sinai, went on to garner some international film awards.
During the next fourteen years, Fouladvand remained in Egypt where he participated in artistic-political activities and continued to oppose the Islamic government in Iran. Then he moved to Turkey and formed an organization with other Iranian dissidents, a group taking on the name “Give-Waregan,” the predecessor to Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran (API). Give-Waregan, consisting of eleven individuals, hoped to enthrone the eldest son of the late Shah. But the group came to realize that Reza Pahlavi was not interested in overthrowing the Islamic government and also supported red-block restitution. Confronted with these realizations, the group redefined their mission and thus established API as it is currently recognized. The eleven founders renewed their commitment to liberate Iran from the Islamic government, to ensure the fair election of an Iranian state leader, and to abstain from taking future state positions in Iran. Given his experience in broadcast media and cultural affairs, and his familiarity with Arabic and English, Fouladvand was elected API spokesman. In this role, he produced a weekly newspaper, Ettelaat-e London, to educate Iranians about their ancient, pre-Islamic culture. Through his writings, he sought to expose historical and contemporary distortions and perversions of Islam for political purposes. In August, 1999, Fouladvand was appointed chief editor of the Persian-English journal Rahe Niakan (“The Forbearers’ Way”).
In 2001, the API sought to reach a wider audience by broadcasting via the Norwegian Hotbird satellite, but this did not last long. After eighteen days, suspicious technical errors began to disrupt broadcasts to the target audience in Iran. Investigations aroused suspicions that the British government was involved in hindering broadcasts featuring Fouladvand, and other satellite companies of the European Union seemed to support the British government’s actions. Given the circumstances, API turned to internet TV to broadcast political and cultural programs until 2003, when, given a more hospitable European political climate, the satellite broadcasts were able to resume. In 2005, during the time Dr. Fouladvand was expressing criticism of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before his first presidential term in Iran, the API TV station within Fouladvand’s apartment was raided by British police. Fouladvandwas shot, his documents were confiscated, and he was imprisoned for several weeks. Fouladvand’s programming continued to stream via satellite until January 17, 2007. Two of the most popular programs at the time featured Dr. Fouladvand’s perspectives on the Quran and Iran’s Islamic history. He exposed lesser-known historical events using the texts of Arab historians that had never been translated into Persian (Farsi). He aimed to provide Iranians with an alternative historical view to the one canonized by the Islamic fundamentalists who gained political leadership of Iran in the 1970s.
Fouladvandand the other founders of API drafted a proposed Iranian Constitution in 1999 that they called “Aaiin-e Risheii” (The Original Rules), which has yet to be translated into English. The draft was inspired by Persian culture from ancient times and advocates human rights, minority rights, equality among men and women, and collaboration among nations. The draft also called for circumstantial revision as well as cyclic revision every twenty years. On January 17, 2007, Dr. Fouladvandwas seen for the last time as he returned to Iran. No one is certain how he disappeared. The Islamic government, however, has strategically fanned rumors that Fouladvandwas captured, tortured, and executed in order to discourage others from exhibiting the same level of political challenge. The API, however, remains undaunted and continues to support the causes advocated by Dr. Fouladvand. The organization continues political activities in the hopes that Iran will have a new government supporting the ideals set forth in Aaiin-e Risheii.
Long Live Iran, Long Live Tondar to establish Aaiin-e Risheii,
Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran (API), Tondar