Annotated BibliographyDorraj, Manochehr, From Zarathustra to Khomeini(Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1990)The Iranian people had a long history of religious figures (clergy) playing a prominent role in society. Under the pre-Islamic Achamenid, Parthian, and Sassanid dynasties, Zoroastrian clergy were leading figures in the government, and as a result, the Iranian peoples were used to the idea of an infallible religious leadership giving direction.Imam Ali is the “Volksgeist” of the Iranian religious-nationalist consciousness. Following the Arab conquest of Persia (Battle of Qadisiyyah), many Persians fled into regions of the Caliphate, like Kufa, that were decidedly pro-Ali. Following the Safavid-led conversion, phrases related to Ali became integral to Persian speech.The Safavids started out as a Turcoman band and a Sufi order that rapidly radicalized under their leader, the young Shah Isma’li. The Safavids forcibly converted the people of Iran to Ithna’ Ashari Shi’ism, which resulted in brief, yet brutally quashed resistance.
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traditionally Sunni Persia, infallible religious leadership, young Shah Isma’li, Early Safavid Iran