Shah of Iran modernized his nation but vacillated in crisis

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — It has been 40 years since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, an uprising that grew out of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s ever-tightening control over the country as other Mideast monarchies around him toppled.

The shah successfully rode rising oil prices in the 1970s but failed to see that Iranians had begun to expect more and as the crisis escalated, his inability to act and poor decisions while secretly fighting what would be a fatal cancer doomed him.

His land reforms angered Iran’s gentry and saw the rural poor move to the cities like Tehran. There, they would become fresh recruits for the revolution.

Shiite clerics opposed the shah granting suffrage to women and his opening of private universities, because the clerics had had sole dominion over Iran’s educational system.

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