Reza Shah Pahlavi
The country creates its own hero:
The nineteenth century was just a miserable time for Iran. The country was cut in half; it had no army of its own, no money, people were illiterate, the kings were not competent enough to run a stable, the politicians were corrupt. The new parliament did not have anything to work with. Every corner of the country was run by a local bandit. The roads were not safe and the kings refused to repair them in order to prevent any big countries from pulling a blitzkrieg. The laws were the laws of the Old Testament, judges were the clergy. Every ayatollah had more power than the entire royal family. The king's harems had caused the population of the royal family to be larger than the armed forces.
The ambassadors of Russia, and England were more powerful than the king. The kings spend more time touring the sex clubs of Europe than staying in Tehran. The total number of beggars in each city was higher than factory workers. The ability to read and write was a luxury for the ellite. 99%+ of the population was illiterate. Corruption was endemic. The practice of medicine was a relic of a thousand years ago. There were a few real doctors in Tehran, but these were mostly French and took care of the royal family. The security of cities and the roads were so bad that I had heard horror stories from the elders of my own family.
First World War:
As if the country did not have enough problems, the First World War showed up from nowhere. Iran declared itself neutral in the war; however Iran did not have the military power to enforce its neutrality. Each country had its own espionage system in the country. The most powerful one was the British intelligence Service. They had established many Freemasonry lodges around the Middle East and India, which was just a setting for recruiting local British servants (spies, sympathizes or traitors). There were also foreign military officers who knew the place better than our kings (the British Lawrence of Arabia and the German, Schooman). Iran's military situation was so pathetic that Russians came from north and Turks from the west to battle it out in Iranian city of Hamedan (of course without any permission for entrance or for departure).
The black devil, Oil and William Knox Darcy:
In 1901, a British banker with the name of William Knox Darcy approached the Iranian government and received the licenses to "search for, obtain, exploit, develop, render suitable for trade, carry away and sell natural gas, petroleum, asphalt and ozokerite throughout the extent of the Iran with the exception of five Northern provinces." He was the founder of Anglo Persian Oil Company, which is called BP these days. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company subsequently struck oil in commercial quantities in 1908 at Southwest Iran. The strike was just in time for the boon in domestic automobile ownership and aviation.
In 1914 the royal navy changed the fuel of its ships from Coal to oil. This oil was going to be Iranian oil, with or without the Iranian people's permission. The treaty was a typical colonialist treaty. The British would find and sell the oil, they would deduct the expenses from the profits at their own discretion, they would get 84% of the profits, and Iran would get 16% in the form of credit to buy armaments from the British.
The Russian revolution of 1917:
Throughout the end of nineteenth and early twentieth century, many Iranians living in the northern Iran, would go to the city of Baku for work (including my grandparents, my mother was born in Baku). Azarbaijan was one of the territories that the Tsars had taken away from Iran in the early 19th century. The city of Baku had an abundance of oil fields. The Iranian nationals, motivated by poverty, would travel to Baku to take the most dangerous jobs of the time that Russian people would not take. There was a high mortality rate among them, but they had jobs and they were not hungry. My grandmother would tell me stories about the good old days when they were in Baku and how she had so much wheat that some of it went bad.
Living in Russia meant exposure to European ideas and specially those of Marxism. The first Iranian communists were trained in Russia, and brought those ideas to Iran. The First World War was followed by a soviet takeover of Russia. This victory for the proletariat of the world was the greatest enemy of British colonialism. Although they were victorious in WW1, they had to deal with Marxist Leninist Russians who were by far more dangerous and appealing to the poor people of the colonies.
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