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Whether as friend or foe, Iran continues to play a pivotal role in a strategically vital area of the world. Straddled between the world's two major energy basins, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, and possessing a rich reservoir of hydrocarbon resources as well as diverse minerals and a large and growing population, Iran remains important in economic terms. However, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 thrust Iran back onto the political centre stage and dramatically altered the relationship between Iran and the West. Modern Iran since 1921 places these developments in an historical context, and looks at how Iran sought to respond to the challenge of the West through reform and revolution, to reverse the decline of the previous century with a development programme that would catapult the country back into the top division. This new interpretation combines detailed historical narrative with comprehensive analysis and explanation of political, social and economic developments in Iran during the 20th century. It emphasises those factors which have helped shape attitudes and policies in an effort to explain the complex cultural polity that is modern Iran. Ali M. Ansari is Lecturer in Political History of the Middle East, University of Durham. He is the author of Iran, Islam and Democracy: The Politics of Managing Change (2000).
Chronology of Modern Iran
2. Reza Khan and the Establishment of the Pahlavi State
3. Reza Shah: Modernisation and Tradition, 1926-41
4. Political Pluralism and the Ascendancy of Nationalism, 1941-53
5. The Consolidation of Power, 1953-60
6. The 'White Revolution'
7. Towards the Great Civilisation
8. Revolution, War and 'Islamic Republic'
9. Conclusion: A Century of Reform and Revolution
Guide to Further Research
Posted November 17, 2008
The shah was committed to `modernize' Iran (whatever the word `modernize' could mean). <BR/><BR/>Perhaps his mistake was that he tried to do that in quick strides and bounds. (Emulating the Russian Peter the great by using force to get things done) <BR/><BR/>The grass roots of the Iranian population could not assimilate, in a short time, the Shah's stoutheartedness, but his actual decline began when three events occurred at the same time. <BR/><BR/>1) When he wanted to enforce the institution of Land Reforms to distribute excess tracts of barren land to the resident villagers without due consideration, and in defiance, to the Mullahs who actually claimed they're the real owners of the land. <BR/><BR/>2) When he began to play a wider role in OPEC and, at times, became the `ought to be heard' mouthpiece of the Oil Countries, relegating to second place Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Against USA counsel the Shah was the key player in influencing the price of petrol across the board.<BR/> <BR/>3) The Big Powers, USA in particular, were afraid that his oratory and self poised determination might weaken resistance among the waverers in the Arabian (Persian) gulf emirates and so they failed to persuade him that it would not be wise to allow his Savak units - his intelligence units founded with the assistance of the Israeli Mossad and the CIA, to gain too much insight into Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq (in particular) internal affairs <BR/><BR/>The Shah was actually the archenemy of Communism and Marxism and the news of his `give in' seemed to infuse them with a perverse sense of pleasure, short lived though, because in this tangled story whereby the `elite' were at loggerheads until the Islamic Revolution took it over and they all sank into oblivion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.