Though these social reforms were thought to be beneficial they did not increase

Though these social reforms were thought to be

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Though these social reforms were thought to be beneficial, they did not increase popularity among the lower class as the Shah had intended to do. Through land reforms, the government bought lands from the elite and sold them under the market value at low interest rates to the peasants. Consequently, the peasants now had land but, lacked equipment and resources necessary to produce much. In the 60s, frustrated, peasants who formally worked on elite owned lands moved to urban cities nearby to find work, which plummeted the production in the country. Their resentment towards the Shah also grew when he abolished opposing political parties, professional associations, trade unions, and independent newspapers. Another cause of upset among the people was the inflation and economic instability. Since oil sales were the main source of income for the country, the increase of oil sales caused inflation, affecting the people’s buying power and standard of living. As for the clergy, this period was the re-appearance of the religious movement against the Shah's regime. They were against the secularization and Westernization that the reforms brought and feared losing their social base as a result. They thought the Shah to be merely a puppet of a non- Muslim Western power which knew nothing of Iran’s culture or Islamic beliefs. The clergy therefore started using the religious sentiments of the people and the network at their disposal, organising large demonstrations in Tehran and Qom on June 6 1963. The demonstrations were suppressed by the army and showed that the Shah's regime relied greatly on the military force to remain in power. With the reforms, the clergy was stripped of much of its power and influence in 4 (Abrahamian 2008, 134) 4
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the education sector and, traditionally land owners, they lost much of their lands. Though the clergy was also against the emancipation of women and granting them suffrage, they never publically protested until Khomeini. Khomeini was outraged that non-Muslim men or women could be judges, which he thought to be against Islam. He made a speech where he objected much of the social reforms and even attacked the Shah. Following his speech, he was arrested, which started a three day riot in June of 1963. During this riot the phrase “Death to the dictator. God save you, Khomeini” was first chanted. This was the first time that Khomeini’s image was used as a leader to protest the Shah’s regime. Though the SAVAK was quickly able to crush the riot, the ordeal only caused more anger and resentment towards the government as the police had killed and injured many civilian protestors. The government officials wanted Khomeini executed for starting this riot, but knew it would create uproar among his supporters. With the Shah’s approval, the clergy made a religious decree to declare Khomeini a marja. A marja is the highest level of Islamic Shia authority able to make legal decisions based on Islamic law for their followers. Khomeini was therefore freed from house arrest in April of 1964, but then sent to exile in Iraq the following November.
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