Historian and political thinker. Founder of Azadigan (Freedom) Society. Argued that Iran's backwardness was due to divisions along sectarian lines, rather than foreign intervention or despotic governments. Attacked tribalism, regionalism, linguistic communalism, religious sectarianism, and socioeconomic classes as divisive factions. Denounced Shiism as a dynastic power struggle and a tool of terrorism for the Safavid dynasty. Asserted that Shiism was a falsification of history due to its claims about the status of the twelfth imam, its opposition to the state's authority as well as to democracy and popular sovereignty, and its insistence that the faithful should blindly follow clerical leadership. Strongly opposed by the ulama, who declared him an apostate. Assassinated in 1946 by a member of the fundamentalist Fidaiyan-i Islam.