By John Murphy
Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used to be born right into a kinfolk of strict piety and reasonable poverty. As a serious-minded spiritual pupil, he quickly stuck the attention of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Upon Khomeini's dying, Khamenei used to be named his successor and have become the Grand Ayatollah of Iran. This biography tells his tale.
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Additional resources for Ali Khamenei (Modern World Leaders)
Reza Shah engaged in a tricky balancing act. He needed to preserve peace with the world’s powers while insisting on his nation’s independence. He badly needed the world powers’ technological and economic expertise and investment dollars, but he also needed to somehow maintain control of the Iranian economy and natural resources. As a result, he struck delicate, uneasy treaties and agreements with Russia, Britain, and the United States that offered them some economic benefits and limited political influence, but did not require him to sell out his nation’s best interests.
He was a strong leader, exerting centralized control over a traditionally fractious nation of many distinct ethnic and tribal groups, and leading his people into the modern world. Yet in doing all of this, Reza Shah had also alienated several important groups. Though a reformer and a modernizer, Reza Shah was also a ruthless dictator, and a corrupt, bribe-extorting one at that. He profoundly distrusted the workings of democracy. As such, he fixed elections, censored the press, established a secret police force, tortured and killed opponents, and curbed the power, autonomy, and freedom of the Majlis.
The Qajar shah continued to rule as a figurehead, while Reza Khan was appointed commander of the Iranian army and, later, minister of war and prime minister. Eventually, the Majlis removed the Qajar regime from power, and Reza Khan became shah of Iran, at which point he changed his name to Reza Shah Pahlavi. 55 56 ali khamenei Reza Shah, like the great mass of ordinary Iranians, keenly felt the humiliating sting of Iran’s recent history of foreign domination and exploitation. He rose to power determined to restore Iran’s sovereignty—its control over its own affairs and resources.
Ali Khamenei (Modern World Leaders) by John Murphy