Erfan Fard

Reza Shah’s Influence on Today’s Iran

Reza Shah The Great, Picture National Archive/ free for all platforms

In examining Iran’s tumultuous journey towards modernity and democracy, one cannot overlook the significant chapter written in the early 20th century by Reza Shah Pahlavi. His reign was not just a period of transformative reform; it was a determined crusade against what he identified as the principal barrier to Iran‘s progress: the pervasive influence of the clerical establishment. Reza Shah’s profound understanding that the mullahs’ religious octopus had its tentacles deep within the fabric of Iranian society, impeding the path to a secular and democratic nation, was the catalyst for his rigorous campaign to dismantle this network.

Reza Shah’s approach was revolutionary. He perceived the clerical dominance as a multifaceted obstruction that stifled educational, social, and political advancements. By initiating bold reforms that targeted the very foundations of this clerical influence, he aimed to liberate Iran from the shackles of religious dogmatism that hindered its evolution into a modern state. His patriotic efforts to secularize the education system, modernize the legal framework, and promote women’s rights were direct strikes at the heart of clerical power, designed to weaken the mullahs’ grip on society and empower the Iranian populace with the light of progress and rationality.

The eradication of the mullahs’ network by Reza Shah The Great was a monumental step towards creating a society where governance was dictated by the principles of democracy and secularism rather than religious fiat. By curtailing the clerics’ ability to influence political affairs and implementing policies that prioritized the nation’s welfare over religious doctrine, Reza Shah paved the way for an Iran that could aspire to be part of the global community of nations as an equal, sovereign, and modern state.

Today, as Iran grapples with the echoes of its past and the challenges of its present, the need for leadership that embodies Reza Shah’s vision and determination is ever more apparent. The clerical establishment continues to be a formidable obstacle to Iran’s democratic aspirations and its quest for modernity. The lessons from Reza Shah’s era underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to dismantle the remnants of this network, which remains deeply embedded in the nation’s institutions and societal structures.

Reza Shah The Great, Iran / National Archive / Free for any Platforms

The path to democracy and modernity for Iran is fraught with complexities, requiring not just the dismantling of old power structures but also the establishment of new frameworks that champion the ideals of freedom, equality, and secular governance. This journey necessitates a leader who can navigate the delicate balance between respecting Iran’s rich cultural and religious heritage and implementing reforms that align with the principles of a modern democratic state.

A Modern Beacon: Reza Shah’s Influence on Today’s Iran” is not just a reflection on a pivotal historical figure but a clarion call for contemporary Iran to embrace the spirit of reform and resilience. As Iran stands at the crossroads of change, the legacy of Reza Shah offers invaluable insights into the power of visionary leadership to overcome entrenched barriers to progress. It is a testament to the enduring relevance of Reza Shah’s mission to liberate Iran from the grip of clerical dominance and set it on the path to becoming a beacon of modernity and democracy in the region. The challenge for today’s leaders is to carry forward this torch, illuminating Iran’s path to a future where democracy, secularism, and progress shine as the pillars of the nation.

Reza Shah Pahlavi departed this world on July 26, 1944, and his remains were repatriated to Iran on May 7, 1945. In the aftermath, there were propositions, notably by the Fada’iyan-e Islam and thugs such as Ebrahim Yazdi and Sadegh Khalkhali, advocating for the desecration of his grave. Decades later, in the 2017 demonstrations in Mashhad, the astute chant “Reza Shah, may your spirit find peace” resonated, signifying a revival of his legacy.

Seventy-three years posthumously, in May 2018, his lost burial site was discovered, rekindling his presence in the Iranian political discourse as an emblem of nationalism and a beacon of dignity. The invocation of his name and the mantra “Reza Shah, may your spirit find peace” heralded the disintegration of the clerical subculture. This rallying cry symbolized a critical departure from the year 1979, transcending the mullahs’ dogma and their archaic superstitions.

Yet, the essence of Reza Shah has become indelibly etched in the collective memory of the Iranian people, ensuring that as long as the epochs turn, the essence of Iran, its identity, and the remembrance of Reza Shah persist. Even beyond his demise, Reza Shah reinvigorated the spirit of Iranian nationalism, which was on the brink of obscurity, thereby re-establishing a proud national culture. The Iranian populace rediscovered their affinity for Reza Shah, recognizing him as a patriot fervently devoted to the glory of Iran.

In contemporary times, the mere mention of Reza Shah, along with his title as the Shah of Iran, instills a sense of unease among the fantasists of an Islamic Ummah, the regressive adherents of the year 1979, and those harboring malice. Reza Shah’s enduring legacy continues to challenge the narratives of repression and obscurantism, embodying the unquenchable thirst for sovereignty, progress, and national pride among the Iranian people.

Reza Shah The Great, Iran / National Archive, Free for any Platforms
About the Author
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. He is in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran, Counter terrorism, IRGC, MOIS and Ethnic conflicts in MENA. \He graduated in International Security Studies (London M. University, UK), and in International Relations (CSU-LA), and is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic and English. Follow him in this twitter account @EQFARD
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