“A two-bit mayor” in the Midwest
Who would have guessed a two-bit mayor of a little town in the American Midwest could wind up going into the exile-creation business? Twenty-six Iranian students were involved in a disorderly protest against the regime of the Shah of Iran earlier this month at a Methodist Church in Jefferson City, Mo. They were arrested and appeared before the local police court on disturbance charges. Fair enough, and that should have been the end of it.
But no. Jefferson City Mayor Robert L. Hyder, former chief counsel of the Missouri Highway Department, took it upon himself to send the names and photographs of the kids to the Shah.
In Iran, it’s not a matter of a police court but of a police state, where opposition to His Imperial Majesty Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is punishable by anything and everything that strikes the fancy of the Shahanshah or his agents, with no niceties about venue or statue of limitations to protect the students — when and if they return.
Granted, the state bureaucracy is not much of a place to learn about how things like torture work elsewhere, but that’s hardly an excuse for Hyder; he chose to ignore explanations and pleas made before his mailing.
— From “We hope he sleeps well at night,” a FOCUS/Midwest editorial published in the Nov.-Dec. 1974 edition. The Shah was overthrown in 1979; Hyder died in 2001.