On the morning of January 15th, 1979, I was sitting in my office at NIRT (National Iranian Radio and Television) on Jam-e-Jam street reviewing the news when I first heard the rumor that the Shah was planning to leave the country.
The phone rang. I picked up the receiver. Someone on the other side of the line who refused to give me his name started to shout in an emotional voice: "The Shahanshah is planning to leave the country but a few friends of mine and I have gathered in front of the palace to prevent the King's departure."
This man was insisting that we run this story so that the people would rush to the palace and prevent him from leaving. Of course, we could not do this without being sure of the news.
At 5 pm on that same day, the director of NIRT, summoned me to his office and said that tomorrow I was to go on an important assignment. As much as I tried to find out the nature and location of this assignment it was no use. "You'll find out tomorrow," the director said.
I didn't sleep all night. I kept asking myself on the true nature of this assignment. I couldn't understand why I was being kept in the dark. I suspected that it was either something to do with the latest taped message from His Majesty or the expected vote of confidence for the Bakhtiar cabinet.
On January 16th, I took the NIRT press car and drove down Jam-e-Jam street. In the early morning hours the streets were deserted except for a few people who as usual were shouting revolutionary slogans.
These small groups who did not encounter any resistance became larger and larger until they had turned into a huge demonstration. It was 8 am when I arrived at my office. The NIRT director was already there.
The cameraman and sound engineer were ready to go. Like me, they too were unaware of their assignment.
I took a tape recorder in case there was a special message to record. The television reporters had a special camera and recorder but in order not to use their equipment I took a portable television recorder.