Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was the monarch and dictator of Iran prior to the 1979 revolution by Ayatollah Khomeini. He was a strong ally of the United States, especially since the CIA put him in power (with the support of the Iranian military) to check the power of the Prime Minister Mohammad Mossaddegh. While Mossaddegh was hardly a saint himself (after several members of parliament resigned and deprived him of a quorum, preventing him from extending his emergency powers that had allowed him to rule by fiat for half a year, he rigged parliament elections so he could force his agenda through), often forgotten was that this was also at the instigation of the British, who had previously had Iran in their sphere of influence and were worried about losing their oil contracts within the country.
Pahlavi was always considered a tool of the West, as he was put in power to begin with over his father due to an Anglo-Soviet invasion during World War II. The previous Shah did not allow the transport of US military equipment to the USSR, and so he was deposed.
The Shah was seen in the West as the perfect example of an enlightened Eastern king and reformer; to be fair, he did give women the right to vote. However, elections were mostly meaningless in the Shah's Iran, there being only two legal political parties. Even in the West there were many who were upset at how his reforms were always promised and never acted upon. Today, he is almost universally seen for the dictator he was (though most would consider his reign as better than that of the current Iranian government).
The Iranian hostage crisis was precipitated by the US allowing Pahlavi to come to the US to receive cancer treatment.
Some Iranian expatriates occasionally talk of trying to put Pahlavi's son Reza Pahlavi in power. He has consistently denied any such ambitions, though he pushes (from the United States) for a more democratic Iran.
- ↑ http://books.google.com/books?id=bihEK0FJxaAC&pg=PA76#v=onepage&q&f=false
- ↑ They were nicknamed the "Yes Party" and the "Of Course Party" for their attitudes to royal rule.