Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
In stock (2 available)
- Tagged as
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Persian: محمدرضا پهلوی, translit. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, pronounced [mohæmˈmæd reˈzɒː ˈʃɒːh pæhlæˈviː]; 26 October 1919 – 27 July 1980), also known as Mohammad Reza Shah (محمدرضاشاه Mohamad Rezā Ŝāh), was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah (“King of Kings”) on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr (“Light of the Aryans”) and Bozorg Arteshtaran (“Commander-in-Chief”). His dream of what he referred to as a “Great Civilisation” (Persian: تمدن بزرگ, translit. tamadon-e bozorg) in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.
Mohammad Reza came to power during World War II after an Anglo-Soviet invasion forced the abdication of his father, Reza Shah Pahlavi. During Mohammad Reza’s reign, the Iranian oil industry was briefly nationalised, under Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, until a US and UK-backed coup d’état deposed Mosaddegh and brought back foreign oil firms. Under Mohammad Reza’s reign, Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous Persian monarchy since the founding of the Achaemenid Empire by Cyrus the Great – concurrent with this celebration, Mohammad Reza changed the benchmark of the Iranian calendar from the hegira to the beginning of the First Persian Empire, measured from Cyrus the Great’s coronation. Mohammad Reza also introduced the White Revolution, a series of economic, social and political reforms with the proclaimed intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernising the nation by nationalising certain industries and granting women suffrage.
Mohammad Reza gradually lost support from the Shi’a clergy of Iran as well as the working class, particularly due to his strong policy of modernisation, laïcité, conflict with the traditional class of merchants known as bazaari, relations with Israel, and corruption issues surrounding himself, his family, and the ruling elite. Various additional controversial policies were enacted, including the banning of the communist Tudeh Party and a general suppression of political dissent by Iran’s intelligence agency, SAVAK. According to official statistics, Iran had as many as 2,200 political prisoners in 1978, a number which multiplied rapidly as a result of the revolution.
Several other factors contributed to strong opposition to the Shah amongst certain groups within Iran, the most significant of which were US and UK support for his regime, and clashes with leftists and Islamists. By 1979, political unrest had transformed into a revolution which, on 17 January, forced him to leave Iran. Soon thereafter, the Iranian monarchy was formally abolished, and Iran was declared an Islamic republic led by Ruhollah Khomeini. Facing likely execution should he return to Iran, he died in exile in Egypt, whose president, Anwar Sadat, had granted him asylum. Due to his status as the last Shah of Iran, he is often known as simply “The Shah”.