The appointment in Iran of a new Prime Minister, approved by the country's parliament on Wednesday (3 January) is seen as the latest attempt to calm mounting opposition to the Shah.
The appointment in Iran of a new Prime Minister, approved by the country's parliament on Wednesday (3 January) is seen as the latest attempt to calm mounting opposition to the Shah. In the past five months there have been three other premiers. Their attempts to control the political turmoil have failed. The appointment of the latest prime minister, from the principal opposition party, is regarded as an indication of how far the Shah has been pushed, in an attempt to preserve the throne he has occupied for the past 37 years.
SYNOPSIS: Teheran, 1941: The Shah became monarch at the age of 22. His father had abdicated, after being removed from power by Western Allies for favouring Nazi Germany. Anti-Shah demonstrations in 1953, part of a power struggle between the Shah and his leftist Prime Minister. Dr. Mossadeq. The second of the coups ended the struggle in the Shah's favour.
Although forced to flee Iran for six days, seven years later a crowd of a quarter of a million saw him celebrate the anniversary of his return.
His first marriage, dynastic and arranged, to Princess Fawzia of Egypt ended in divorce in 1948. It produced a daughter, but no male heir. The second marriage, to Soraya Esfandiari, a Persian aristocrat's daughter, proved childless. It was brought to an end in 1958. A year later the Shah married for the third time....His bribe, Farah Diba, the daughter of an army colonel. This time there was a son, Crown Prince Reza, and an end to the search for a male heir.
After the mid 1950s the Shah, the admitted leader, inspiration and power in Iran, set about transforming the country into a major world political and economic power. It was all made possible by the revenue gained from the country's massive oil deposits -- exported in foreign-build tankers like this, form Holland.
1967: The Shah crowning himself, after 26 years of rule. He had delayed the ceremony until he felt he had put Iran on the road to social and economic stability.
Four years later, the imperial splendour of celebrations at Persopolis, marking two thousand five hundred years of monarchy in Iran, an unbroken line of kings on the Peacock Throne.
The stability at home allowed the Shah the opportunity to build up foreign ties. With the Soviet Union, Iran's northern neighbour, he maintained cordially correct relations, despite his anti-Communist stand at home. Most of the technological expertise and military aid, though, is provided by Western countries - many of them reliant, like France, on oil imports from Iran...a nation that is strategically poised between Europe and Asia. The pivotal positions is recognised by the United States, a major arms supplier to the country.
The visit of the Shah, to the scene of Iran's worst earthquake, four months ago. The disaster, claiming the lives of an estimated 20 thousand people, came at a time when martial law had already been imposed in the capital and 11 other cities, after hundreds had died in anti-Shah demonstrations. Iran, in 1978, had entered a period of stability and uncertainity that had not been matched for 25 years.
The last three months of 1978 saw more violent riots. They indicated just how far discontent within the country's 34 million people extended. It has forced the Shah, apparently surprised by the outburst of violent hatred against him, into the background; and raised the question of how long he can remain in power.