The Pahlavi Era Iranian Modernity in Global Context

Afshin Matin-Asgari

in The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732159
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Pahlavi Era Iranian Modernity in Global Context

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • History
  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)



Riding on nineteenth-century transformations, the modern Iranian nation-state emerged under the auspices of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1925–41). Iran under the Qajars was practically divided between British and Russian protectorates. The constitutional experiment ensuing in 1906 practically ended by 1911, owing to Russian incursions in the north. The Bolshevik revolution, World War I, and the collapse of the nefarious Anglo-Persian Agreement, owing to thriving Iranian nationalism, paved the way for the establishment of the Iranian nation-state. Henceforth, Iran, under Reza Shah Pahlavi, who ascended via an army coup (1921), became a buffer zone between Soviet Russia and British India. While modern Turkey was the closest model for Iran, Reza Shah's policies had less secular roots and the Iranian armies still inexperienced in confronting foreign forces. However, the revolutionary facade and secularism soon gave way to dictatorship and a suppression of fundamental rights. The implementation of the “anticollectivist law” in 1931 enabled preventive detention of those deemed disloyal to the regime. The Marxists, comprising the intelligentsia and students, were the most persecuted. This was ostensibly the beginning of the end of the regime.

Keywords: modern Iranian nation-state; World War I; Reza Shah Pahlavi; anticollectivist law; buffer zone; army coup; constitutional experiment

Article.  8843 words. 

Subjects: History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »