IRAN’S EXPERIENCE & STRUGGLE for ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
A Historical Approach
Ever since the beginning of history, Iran has been either a major or a pivotal power with its strategic location, rich culture, and high ambitions. Iranians proved to be affective not only in political and military fronts but also in infrastructure, commerce, and trade. The Achaemenid Persia, considered by historians as the first global empire, has absorbed previous ancient civilizations in the Near East under a single political establishment built upon agriculture and trade surplus. In order to carry on further enhancement of economic development, the ancient Persians invested on a grand transportation project known as “the royal highway” delighting Babylonian as well as Phoenician merchants. In the end, it was them who enthusiastically financed Persian military adventures against the Athenians. Under the Parthians and the Sassanids, Iran was challenging Rome over the control of the Silk Road. During the Safavid period (1501-1722), trade with Europe, mainly with the Dutch, brought surplus in Continue reading
- The Shah waged “the White Revolution” which was aimed at redistribution of large estates to tenant farmers.
- Dr. Ali Amini was appointed as Prime Minister and Hassan Arsanjani as Minister of Agriculture.
- Although landlords were unhappy with the redistribution of their land holdings, they accepted that some measures of land reform was inevitable.
- The ulama, some of whom also landowners, bitterly opposed the reforms. An unknown cleric, Ruhollah Khomeini condemned the reforms as unconstitutional and un-Islamic.
- The Shah labeled the feudal and clerical opposition against the reforms as “black reaction.”
- Arsanjani forced landlords more in order to make the reforms more achievable.
- Discontent of the feudals increased, and it caused a clash between the Shah and Amini.
- Student protests on the Tehran University was dispersed violently. The Shah accused them of allying themselves with “black reaction.”
- Yet, Amini lost his progressive reformist image, cut the military budget, and hoped for US aid to cover the budget deficit.
- Amini was forced to resign after he confronted himself with the Shah and the military and after failed to get the US aid.
- Jalal Ale Ahmad published his book “Occidentosis: A Plague from the West.”
- The Shah launched “the White Revolution” by himself, composed of 6 principles:
- land reform
- nationalization of the forests
- profit-sharing for industrial workers
- sale of state factories
- votes for women
- foundation of Literacy Corps
- Ayatollah Khomeini was arrested after his speech against the White Revolution.
- Hasan Ali Mansur was appointed as Prime Minister. His party, The New Iran Party was regarded as a US creation.
- The US State Department was seeking diplomatic immunity from prosecution for all American personnel, diplomatic or otherwise.
- The US wanted this agreement informally ratified by Iranian Foreign Ministry, but Mansur sent the matter to the Majlis.
- 60 out of 130 deputees opposed the government, Khomeni condemned the ratification and was exiled by the Shah.
- Mansur was assassinated by a member of Fedayan-i Islam. The Shah appointed Amir Abbas Hoveida as Prime Minister.
- People’s Mujahedin, an Islamic Marxist organization, was founded by leftist students.
- Oil revenues maximized and Iranian economy grew apace.
- Censorship on books. Many mosques and libraries were raided by the police.
- The Shah signed an economic agreement with the USSR: Iran to supply nat’l gas to Russia, Russia to give industrial aid to Iran.
- Bijan Jazani began to reorganize People’s Fadayan, a Marxist-Leninist organization, after released from prison.
- A new law passed favoring women. According to the law;
- women have the right to apply for divorce without husband’s permission
- a man had to secure his wife’s consent before taking a second wife
- legal matters involving families are transferred from religious to secular courts
- The USSR agreed to supply light armaments in return for more nat’l gas.
- Khomeini sent an open letter to Hoveida mentioning “the bankrupcy of the bazaar and its respected merchants.”
- The Shah announced that Britain would no longer hold permanent military forces “East of Suez.”
- Bijan Jazani was captured by SAVAK, sentenced life in prison by the military court, sentence reduced to 15 years in prison.
- Iran cut diplomatic ties with Lebanon for helping Iranian dissidents abroad.
- Urban guerilla activities increased: Siakal Uprising led by People’s Fedayan, attack on Shah’s nephew.
- Iranian troops were sent to suppress the Dhofar rebellion in Oman.
(further data will be added)