As Lean experienced Khomeini's Arrival
I'm not ready to see Teheran
By Tove Enevoldsen, NORDJYSKE Medier
Radio Denmark, DR
The world is full of stories of coups, wars and revolutions. And there is always a Dane nearby.
In 2013 Lean Waage Beck (born May 25, 1940) starred in the TV series "My world history", where she told about her experiences as a sister-in-law to Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, the Iranian Revolution's first Foreign Minister.
Ghotbzadeh was a close aide of Ayatollah Khomeini during his 1978 exile in France, and foreign minister in Khomeini's first government (30 November 1979–August 1980) during the Iran hostage crisis following the Iranian Revolution.
Lean Waage Beck: - I'm not ready to see Tehran.
Stock Photo: Kim Dahl Hansen
In 1963, Lean Waage Beck worked as a young blonde danish hairdresser in the United States. There she meets two Iranian brothers - she marries one of them and moves to Iran with him and experiences the revolution in 1979 closely. Her husbond's brother becomes foreign minister in Khomeini's first government in 1979.
DR2 has shown another section in the series "My world history". This time with Lean Waage Beck, who today resides in Aalbæk.
In the program series "My world history", Danes travel back to the places where they have experienced world historical events. We are part of Ceausescu's fall in Romania, hearing about Amin's terror regime in Uganda or about Russian tanks rolling into Prague.
In the broadcast Lean Waage Beck tells about her personal experiences in connection with the Iranian Revolution, which is also described in her book "Teheran Round-Trip".
- I was in Paris that week in 1979 when an Air France plane flew from Paris to Tehran. On board was Khomeini, but also my brother-in-law Sadegh Ghotbzadeh - besides several journalists, including Danish Jan Stage, says Lean Waage Beck.
Lean together with Ghotbzadeh's sister
Brother-in-law was Foreign Minister
Lean Waage Beck's brother-in-law was Foreign Minister during the hostage affair at the US Embassy in Tehran. He opposed the fundamentalist forces in Iran, and shortly after the hostage deal he was deposed by Khomeini and executed.
Lean Waage Beck's husband (Fred Ghotbzadeh) died a few months before his brother (1982) under mysterious circumstances in Sweden, probably liquidated. It's never cleared up. Although not politically active, he had probably helped his brother with certain foreign contacts. Lean Waage Beck does not know the circumstances.
In 1987, Canadian journalist and Ghotbzadeh's girlfriend Carole Jerome published a book, The man in the mirror: A story of love, revolution and treachery in Iran, about him, giving her personal account of events.
In his 1991 book, Inside the KGB: Myth and Reality, Vladimir Kuzichkin claimed that Ghotbzadeh had been an agent of the Soviet military intelligence service during his studies in the United States, adding that he had later detached himself from it.
The book also alleged that the KGB had fabricated and placed a false CIA cable to an unnamed American agent in Iran in his residence, which was used as evidence to arrest and try him.
Ghotbzadeh's great niece, Sanaz Ghajarrahimi, wrote and directed a play, named Red Wednesday, which was presented at the New Ohio Theatre in New York from 26 July to 3 August 2013. It was inspired by Ghotbzadeh's controversial life...
Ghotbzadeh together with his brother (Lean's husbond)
Of course, Lean Waage Beck was also asked if she would like to go back to Tehran.
- But I had to say no thanks. I don't feel like I'm ready to see Iran where I lived for ten years, she explains.
That is why the recordings for the TV show took place in Aalbæk.
She has lived in Iran from 1969 to 1979.
From Skagen to Tehran
She was born and raised in Skagen as Lean Saxberg. In the mid-'60s, she worked as a hairdresser at the Elizabeth Arden firm in Washington, and among the clients were all well-known, both actresses and presidential wives.
On one occasion, she met the two Iranian brothers Ghotbzadeh. She married one and moved to Tehran until she and her two children had to flee from the theocracy of the Islamic Republic.
Ghotbzadeh was a supporter of the National Front of Iran. In addition he was one of the senior members of the Freedom Movement of Iran led by Mehdi Bazargan in the 1960s.
Sadegh Ghotbzadeh with Khomeini in Paris
In Skagen and Aalbæk, Lean Waage Beck, who is now 74 years old and has married this third surname, has utilized his linguistic and cultural knowledge as an interpreter, conflict mediator and commitment to working with refugees.
There are still several manuscripts in the desk drawer. Specifically, she is working on a successor to "Teheran Round-Trip". Because there are so many loose ends ...
(Translation from danish by OFH)