Reign of Reza Shah
Reza Khan Maxim, the former junior officer, Ghazagh commander, participant in the Coup d'Etat, Sardar Sepah, prime minister, and now THE KING! This man was unusual, and forever stays that way. One of the most misterious charachters in the history fo this ancient realm, and target of many love/hate feelings. Never there has been anyone like him, so much under criticism and praise. The Shah who ruled by power, both his mind and his tongue! The master of insult, and the most unsophisticated successor to the throne of Cyrus. A patriot, or a traitor? Truly loved Iran, or genuinly embraced power?
Reza Khan started his reign in a typical way. Get rid of your enemies! His famouse "Black List" soon came to an end when all of the names were crossed out. He killed anybody who was against him, and of whom he thought of as a threat. The famouse and sharp tongued Modarres, the poet Eshghi, the prince Nosrat ol Doleh, the politician Teimoor Taash, the lawyer Daavar, the army commander Tonekaboni, and hundreds of others. He decided to make his dynasty the one and only. He even changed his last name to a glorious one. Pahlavi, the name of ancient area that the victorious Ashkanids came from.
With a lot of useful advise from his advisors, namely Forooghi who was in turn advised by English ambassador, he started "modernizing" the country. Rail Roads, industries, removal of women's hejab, enforcing the uniform, and etc...Somehow, it looks like he was copying Peter I.
He faced a lot of criticism, but he did not left them unanswered, and the people who voiced them, un-dead! Brutal, shameless, and a true dictator, he forced Iran's way through the modern world, out of the 400 year sleep, but this draggings also left a few scars, in some rather sensetive areas.
He sent his son to Switzerland to study, and then made him marry Fuziah, the daughter of King of Egypt, supposedly the most "Modern" of Muslim countries, and a protectorate of Britain. He brought Telephone, Radio, cars, buses, and electricity to the cities, and also some stupid western architecture! He made modern cities, relying for their survival on the backward villages who still used ancient methods of agriculture.
As the very first action of his reign, he decided to make the country safe. Thus he fought and defeated bandits and feudals, as well as anarchists and independence movements. He defeated Khazal, the local ruler of Khoozestan province who wanted to creat the "independent" state of Arabestan. He demolished uproars caused by likes of Semitghou, and put and end to bandits like Yamout Torkemans. He created a working rail way system that attached the west of the country to the east, although it is true that the country needed North-South connection more. More than anything else, he created a safe enviroment for the British to safely dig the earth and find the oil and sell it for themselves.
He installed and fired several prime ministers until he found a good one, Mokhber Ol-Saltaneh Hedayat, an old, inteligent, German educated, statesman whose best quality was obedience. Reza Shah's best advisor and the only one of early advisors who survived him, was Mohammad Ali Foroughi. Openely Anglophile, and really smart, Foroughi was the connection between the British Ambassadors and the Shah. He was the wining piece of Reza Shah's chess game, and he did act as the powerful man in times of trouble, like the time that the reign of Reza Shah came to an end.
Satisfying the wishes of the British for a long time, the now old king was disappointed in the British and tired of their greed. With the apearence of the new power, Hitler, and his message of Aryanism, Reza Shah who was the ruler of the only people in the world who cinsidered themselves Aryan, and also a ruler tired of Hitlers main enemy, England, started looking forward to Germany's victory in the war. This, as we all know, was a deadly expectation, and it ended his reign, in a fast and shoking way.
Iran delaired itself neutral in the war, but the British and Russian forces invaded the country in a surprise attack, and forced the Shah to resign in favour of his naive 22 year old son, Mohammad Reza. The old Shah did, and then he was sent to end his days in an island off the coast of Africa, the Napoleon's end should have been an unexpectedly honourable end for a Shah.
Mohammad Reza became the Shah, the Aryamehr, Bozorg Arteshtaran, and reigned the country for 37 years, and he also ended his days in exile, you all know that: 1979.