Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (born 25 October 1919 – died 27 July 1980) was the Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came to power in 1941 after the British-Soviet invasion forced the abdication of his father Reza Shah, due to him being pro-German during World War II. Iran was occupied by enemy forces from 1941 until 1946.
During Mohammad Reza’s reign, the Iranian oil industry was briefly nationalized under Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq before a U.S./Israel-backed coup d’état got rid of Mosaddeq and brought back foreign oil firms. His White Revolution – a series of economic and social reforms intended to transform Iran into a global power – succeeded in modernizing the nation, nationalizing many natural resources and extending suffrage to women. Though some achievements of the Shah — such as broadened education — had unintended consequences. While school attendance rose, Iran’s labor market could not absorb a high number of educated youth. In 1966 high school graduates had a higher rate of unemployment than the illiterate, and educated unemployed often supported the revolution.
He financed Kurdish separatist rebels in Iraq, and to cover his tracks, armed them with Soviet weapons which Israel had seized from Soviet-backed Arab regimes, and then handed over to Iran. The operation was a disaster, but the Shah continued attempts to support the rebels and weaken Iraq. Then in 1975, the countries signed the Algiers Accord, and the Shah unwillingly agreed to end his support for Iraqi Kurdish rebels.
In 1982, the New York Times reported that during the Shah’s reign, half of the weapons supplied to Iran were being supplied or arranged by Israel.
Although a Muslim himself, the Shah gradually lost support from the Shia clergy of Iran as well as the working class, due to his strong policy of modernization, recognition and support of Israel and corruption issues surrounding himself, his family, and the ruling elite. Other factors that contributed to his downfall were: the banning of all parties that were against the Shah’s policies, suppression of political resistance by the SAVAK, Iran’s intelligence agency. Clashes with Islamists, increased communist activity and a 1953 period of political disagreements with Mohammad Mosaddeq caused what the Shah’s opponents believe to have been an increasingly autocratic rule.
Explanations for why the Shah was overthrown include that he was a puppet of a jewish run Western power (United States), whose alien culture was seen as contaminating that of Iran.
Other factors included perceptions of oppression, brutality, corruption, and extravagance.
Basic functional failures of the regime have also been blamed — shortages and inflation; the regime’s overly ambitious economic program; the failure of its security forces to deal with protest and demonstration; the overly centralized royal power structure.
Several other factors contributed to strong opposition to the Shah, the most notable of which were US, UK and Israeli support for his regime and his increasingly autocratic rule. By 1979, the Iranian monarchy was abolished, and Iran was declared an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Khomeini.
It was because of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi that Iran became an Islamic republic. If he had went a different way and not became such a slave to Israel, things would have looked much different today. Because of his greed and lust for power he choose the wrong path and doomed his nation. He lived a life in luxury, traveled the world and didn’t even realize that the people had enough of his system. He had several years to change things, but didn’t do anything. He was much more interested in turning Iran into a global power than feeding his own people. In 1979, the people had finally gotten enough and a revolution had become reality, millions of people were on the streets and forced the Shah to leave. Initially the idea was to get rid of the Shah and replace him with a new nationalist government, but the Islamists (led by Khomeini) gained the upper hand in street fighting, because of them having access to weapons and by them being in bigger numbers. Khomeini was seen as stronger than the nationalist forces and most people found him to be a stronger man against enemies like the US and Israel. This power struggle continued until 1981 when Khomeini definitely came out the winner.
That is how Iran got turned into the Islamic republic it is today. The people haven’t yet managed to free Iran, so now it’s in our hands to make that happen!
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