Analysing Iranian Foreign Policy Under Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Politics Essay

Iran’s Foreign Policy During The Shah Of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. In this research, I will try to explain Iran’s foreign policy in a specific time period the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. While explaining this policy, I will try to merge international environment theory; pro-core foreign policy. Research will categorized subtitles. First, I will tell Iran after the World War II and Shah Reza Pahlavi , and then the personal character of the Mohammed Shah Reza Pahlavi and white revolution and founding of SAVAK and his pro-western policy especially USA.

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At the outbreak of war, in 1939, German wanted to use as a base in Iran against Soviet Union. The British and Russians sent a note to Iranian government demanding the sending away of the Germans. When the shah placed behind this issue Russian and British troops entered in Iran. The occupation created economic and social problems, instability and discontent and agitation. In 1942, the government asked for an American financial mission to bring order into financial and the trouble economic situation. All the Allies tried to influence Iranian politics to their own advantages. Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was founded and opened negotiation with us for oil granting the right to operate a subsidiary business during the war. After the war Iran’s social and economic problems made more intense as did social conflicts and foreign intervention. [1]


The shah, fearing Soviet reputation, control and internal opposition, sought to reinforce his regime by edging closer to Britain and the United States. Iran joined the Baghdad Pact, which brought together the “northern tier” countries of Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan in an alliance that included Britain, with the United States serving as a supporter of the pact.

Politically conscious Iranians were aware and in November 1950, the Majlis (Iranian parliament) committee concerned with oil matters, headed by Mosaddeq, rejected a draft agreement. Disposition based in awareness of feelings or experiences for nationalization of the oil industry had spread to great distance. Mosaddeq’s popularity, growing power, and unwillingness to compromise on the oil issue were creating conflict between the prime minister and the Shah. The Shah did not support this movement. Mossadeq resigned, but three days of pro-Mossadeq violent public disturbance followed, and the Shah was forced to reappoint Mossadeq to head the government. Britain compelled a world wide embargo on the purchase of Iranian oil. In June 1953 the CIA’s Tehran station reported that Iranian nationalization and communist movements about supporting an army-led coup. An Anglo-American operation, code-name Operation Ajax overthrew Mossaddeq. It was a military coup making by CIA. The plan initially seemed to have failed, the shah escaped the country after its success, he returned to Iran. [2] This event showed that the shah follow pro-core western policy. He consented the CIA operation because it provided mutual benefit both the shah and Britain -USA. In this manner, Reza Pahlavi got rid of nationalist movement which was started by Mossaddeq, and his popularity which might harm for the shah authority.

The overthrow of the nationalist Mosaddeq regime by an American and British supported coup changed Iranian situation. The British monopolized oil while United States dominated in military and governmental and US had a gain about 40 % in the oil consortium. During the World War II the allies had pressure the shah to adopt more liberal and democratic forms than had his father, but then western governments and corporations felt safer with the centralized government under a pro-western ruler who would not again allow into power a regime that might threaten political and economic relations with the West.

Beginning on the 1950s and next two decades, the shah showed a growing interest modernizing Iran’s economy and society and in making the country western in character and military strong. On big showy projects, super sophisticated and expensive weapons and fancy consumer goods, all of which put Iran in a position of long term dependence on Western countries especially the US [3]


After the Mosaddeq experience the Shah decided to found an effective internal security service and construct the large organization known by the SAVAK. Aid to SAVAK from American CIA and Israeli MOSSAD insured some efficiency. With exercising concentrated on domestic security and inquiry, the main aim of the intelligence unit, was to eliminate threats to Shah. SAVAK to represent the Shah’s administer from 1963-79, a period of devaluation in the shah family, one-party rule, the corporal punishment and execution of hundreds of political imprisoned , suppression of disagreement with the ideas of Shah , and estrangement of the religious community. The United States entrenched its situation as the Shah’s supporter. [4] SAVAK is shown the totally American hegemony in Iran. The shah complied American wishes in Middle East policy because of protecting his own throne. He needed American military aid.


During his reign, the Shah received significant American support, frequently making state visits to the White House and earning extolment from many American Presidents. The Shah’s close ties to Washington and his agenda of rapidly Westernizing Iran. [5]

The Shah had deliberated it to be a non-violent renovation of Iranian society through social and economic reforms, with the main aim of changing Iran into an industrial power and global economy. The Shah started new economic concepts such as distribution of profits for workers and enormous financed for heavy industry projects, also the nationalization of forests and land to graze animals. The most significant, the land reform programs was caused the traditional landed elites lose influence and power.

Socially, women gained more rights and Iran used money for education, especially in the country. The Literacy Corps was founded, which provided young men to complere their obligatory military service by acting as country literacy teachers. [6]

Actually this modernizing movement stemmed from the wishes much closer relations with west. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi educated in Switzerland and he personally admired the European modernization.


The shah incorrect perceptions or optimistic assumptions were many. He attached to Iran’s geopolitical position in Eastern-Western conflicts and his own greatest importance role as the guardian of Persian Gulf security. He regarded Iran not only as the true seat of the power in the region but also essential to American and NATO security interest. He thought that Washington and London had no alternative but the keep him on the throne. He had little close or direct contact relationship with the other Muslim countries (Saudi princes, Jordan Houssein and Morocco’s Hassan II). [7] The Shah of Iran was the first Muslim leader to recognize the State of Israel. Also he maintained close relations with Pakistan. During the 1965 war between Pakistan and India, the Shah provided free fuel to the Pakistani planes, which landed on Iranian soil, refueled and then took flight. We can show the reason that the USA supported Pakistan against India.

The main point of contention in suitable U.S.-Iranian relations was the Shah’s desire for costly, but useless, advanced technology weapons. Worried that strong arms develop might endanger Iranian intrinsic balance by distracting funds for community efforts and make more complicated regional relations; United States officials were disrupt between satisfying and restraining the Shah. The White House believed that Iran’s role in the alliance system, especially its geopolitical position in the Persian Gulf, reasonable and expectable U.S. arsenal sales to Tehran. While U.S administration officials released that Iran was the having superior power and influence in the Gulf, but, they recognized the regional threat as less awful and accepted as true that Persian Gulf security might depend upon joint cooperation with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The Shah gave a guarantee that U.S. imports an extent quota of gas and oil from Iran, the ongoing of which he pawned to spend within the U.S. on military equipment. From the U.S. view, the practical worth of the relationship is important its deficiency. Iran might be a noteful friend; the Iranians counteract to a U.S. petition to send their whole force to South Vietnamese forces in the war. [8]


We can see easily Shah’s Iran has a dependent foreign policy to America. Because Iran’s foreign policies during this period match up with the definition of dependent foreign policy’s feature.

Dependence can manifest itself culturally, politically, and economically. The most common indicators used to identify dependent states are the economic benefits they secure from trade, foreign aid, and direct foreign investment from the core country. In pro-core foreign policy, the dependent state may share the foreign policy preferences of the core and implement pro-core policies without ever considering the economic and political consequences. Pro-core foreign policy eventuate two type; consensus and compliance. [9]

Making a intervention for Mosaddeq is the example of consensus. Because in this example elites (the shah) in periphery and core leads to foreign policy alignment. In addition founding of SAVAK is the same way. Attending the Vietnam War is the example of compliance. For the reason Iran developed the foreign policy within the context of American’s relationship.