system and shelter for the poor in Tehran on new medical colleges in Tabriz

System and shelter for the poor in tehran on new

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system and shelter for the poor in Tehran; on new medical colleges inTabriz, Mashed, and Shiraz; and on a nationwide campaign against malariaand eye diseases.8He handed over his fathers estates to the government sothat the latter could return them to the original ownersthese estates,however, became a major bone of contention.9He also relinquished thereligious endowments which his father had transferred to the ministry ofeducation. He took a number of well-publicized pilgrimagesincluding toMashed and Qom. What is more, he assured Grand Ayatollah Aqa HusseinQomi, the senior mojtahed in Najaf, that the state would no longer wage itscampaign against the veil. Womenor rather, their immediate commun-itiescould decide whether or not to wear the veiland what form the veilshould take. The British legation reported that the propertied classes, as wellas the shah and the government, were eager to forge an alliance with theclergy so as toturn mens minds away from communism to religion.10The1941invasion thus inaugurated an interregnum that lasted a fullthirteen years. It put an end to the era when the monarch had ruled supremethrough his undisputed control of the army, bureaucracy, and court patron-age. It began a period when the new monarch continued to hang on tomuch of the armed forces, but lost control over the bureaucracy and thepatronage system. This interregnum lasted until August1953when the shah,through a coup engineered by the Americans and the British, reestablishedroyal authority, and, thereby, recreated his fathers regime. In these thirteenyears power was not concentrated in one place. On the contrary, it was hotlycontested between the royal palace, the cabinet, the Majles, and the urbanThe nationalist interregnum99
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masses, organized first by a socialist movement and then by a nationalistone. In this contest, the center of political gravity shifted away from theshah, back to the notables who had ruled the country from1906to1921, butwho had been relegated to the background in the period from1921to1941.They now reemerged on the national scene in full force. One Britishdiplomat drew striking parallels with his own countrys experience:Thesituation resembles England before1832, with the landowning class incharge of Parliament and of the Cabinet, and with two classes in the countryone bloated with wealth, and the other abjectly poverty-stricken and power-less.11Bullard, who harbored few illusions about long-term prospects fordemocracy, cautioned:It seems extremely likely that once foreign troopshave gone, some form of dictatorship, however disguised, will be set up,doubtlessly with the army as a base. But at present it is best (for us) tosupport the Majles.12The notables dominated on multiple levelsin the cabinet, in theMajles, and, equally significant, at the local level. The latter level deter-mined who went into the Majles, which elected the prime minister as well asthe cabinet ministers. The cabinet ministers, in turn, controlled the statebureaucracies. The country had returned to the rule of the notables with the
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  • Fall '08
  • Staff
  • Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Reza Shah, Pahlavi dynasty, Qajar dynasty, nationalist interregnum

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