LRAN : LAST RULER OF LRAN
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi 26 October 1919 – 27 July 1980 was the king of Iran (Shah of Iran) from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979. He took the title Shāhanshāh on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Āryāmehr (Light of the Aryans) and Bozorg Arteshtārān (Head of the Warriors).
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came to power during World War II after an Anglo-Soviet invasion forced the abdication of his father, Reza Shah. During Mohammad Reza’s reign, the Iranian oil industry was briefly nationalized, under the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, until a US and UK-backed coup d’état deposed Mosaddegh and brought back foreign oil firms. Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great during his reign, at which time he also changed the benchmark of the Iranian calendar from the hegira to the beginning of the Persian Empire, measured from Cyrus the Great’s coronation. As ruler, he introduced the White Revolution, a series of economic, social and political reforms with the proclaimed intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernizing the nation by nationalizing certain industries and granting women suffrage.
A secular Muslim, 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 modernization, secularization, conflict with the traditional class of merchants known as bazaari, recognition of 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 among certain groups within Iran, the most notable of which were United States and UK support for his regime, clashes with Islamists and increased communist activity. 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 Ayatollah 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 last status as the last de facto Shah of Iran, he is known even outside Iran as simply “the Shah”.