Stormy Days: Memoirs of an Iranian-Armenian Businessman

Stormy Days: Memoirs of an Iranian-Armenian Businessman

London: Gomidas Institute, 2016,
584 pages,
maps, photos, index
ISBN 978-1-909382-32-9, paperback,
Price: UK£40.00 / US$40.00

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Stormy Days are the memoirs of Levon Aharonian, a successful Iranian-Armenian businessman and philanthropist. Born in 1930, his life has straddled the most momentous periods in modern Iranian and Armenian history, including the rise and fall of Reza Shah, the overthrow of Prime Minister Mosaddeq (1953), the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979), and the independence of Armenia (1991). These developments are covered in the first person, as the author was a keen observer and watched them unfold around him.
  Aharonian was also active in Armenian community affairs and was elected as a member – and chairman – of the diocesan council of Tehran (1980). His memoirs thus give us intimate insights into the challenges this community faced as it ran schools and cultural organizations, and came under pressure from different quarters. With the independence of Armenia, the author also played an important role in the establishment of political and trade relations between Armenia and Iran – to the benefit of both countries.
  Aharonian has had a happy family life, built up a major transport company, and enjoys a wide circle of friends. He still leads an active life in Iran.
  Stormy Days is an engaging work and an invaluable source for those interested in the social and political history of Iran and its Armenian community. The work was originally published in Persian (2008) and Armenian (2010). The English translation is abridged.

     Map  10
1.  My Ancestral Roots and Early Childhood  11
2.  The Second World War Comes to Iran  33
3.  The Struggle to Nationalize the Oil  51
4.  Young Manhood  59
5.  Starting at Sati  71
6.  Doing Business with the Soviet Union  81
7.  Before the Revolution  93
8.  The Coming of the Revolution  113
9.  Consequences of the Iranian Islamic Revolution  127
10.  The Islamic Government and the Hostage Crisis  141
11.  The Struggle over the Schools, 1980–81  155
12.  The Iran-Iraq War and Civil Society  179
13.  Social and Political Turmoil  195
14.  The Struggle Over the Schools, 1981–82  206
15.  The Struggle Over the Schools, 1982–83  219
16.  The Struggle Over the Schools, 1983–84  234
17.  Armenian Members of Parliament  242
18.  The Structure and Functions of the Diocesan Council  249
19.  Ecclesiastical Affairs  257
20.  Life-Changing Events  264
21.  Extortion by Obscure Government Agents  273
22.  Imprisoned, Interrogated and Exonerated  285
23.  The André and Almast Aharonian Kindergarten  293
24.  Moscow and Armenia  297
25.  The First Diaspora Business Conference in the Last Days of Soviet Armenia 309
26. Post Conference Developments 319
27.  President Ter-Petrosyan Visits Iran  327
28.  The ARF and Community Business in Tehran  340
29.  The Armenian Business Forum  350
30.  Diplomatic Overtures and Contretemps  366
31.  An Unexpected Request  379
32.  Dual Mission to Armenia  387
33.  A Series of Historic Meetings  395
34.  Reflections on Politics and Diplomacy  410
35.  Business and Philanthropy in Armenia  415
36.  The 1700th Anniversary of Armenian Christianity  426
37.  Louys, Houys, and the Diocesan Assembly Elections  433
38.  Sati’s Fiftieth Anniversary  451
39.  Three Deaths in the Family  455
40.  The Iran-Armenia Friendship Society  465
41.  The Establishment of the "Hay Dbrotz” (Armenian School) Foundation  466
42. The Role of Iranian Armenian Organizations After the Islamic Revolution    474
Index of Personal and Place Names    497

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