In Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi ruled as an authoritarian monarch while he attempted to modernise his realm economically and socially. Out of this would come an anomaly: a revolution that would resurrect democracy and an ultra-conservative religious tradition.
King (Shah) Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, was in conflict with Muslims who advocated banning tobacco, alcohol, movies, gambling and foreign dress and who advocated the veil for women and old punishments for criminals such as cutting off a hand. The Shah's increased ties with the United States and his agreement with a western oil consortium annoyed ultra-conservatives, and they and other Iranians were annoyed by the presence of the many foreigners from the United States who accompanied U.S. aid to Iran. Some discontented Muslims formed an underground group called the Fedaiyan-e Islam. They tried to assassinate the Shah's Prime Minister. The Shah responded by repressing the Fedaiyan-e Islam and executing a few of its members.
The Shah was worried about ultra-conservative opinion in his realm while he enjoyed support from Iran's upper and middle classes, including wealthy merchants -- some of whom were more Westernised and modernistic in their Islamic faith, and some of whom remained more old-fashioned. The Shah had support also from some Muslim clerics. These clerics saw the Shah as a better alternatives to those on the Left in Iran, and they appreciated that the Shah had come to power (in 1954) by overthrowing the Communist led Tudeh party and its prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh.
Some other clerics were uncomfortable with the monarchy. They remembered that the Shah's father back in 1936 had barred clerics from acting as judges in state courts. And some clerics, including the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, were offended in the early 1960s when the Shah gave himself the authority to initiate legislation. With this...