How did Reza Pahlavi differ from Ayatollah Khomeini?

1 Answer
Jun 21, 2017

Reza Pahlavi pursued a policy of westernization, while Ayatollah Khomeini believed in Islamic fundamentalism.


Shah Reza Pahlavi led Iran from 1951 - 1953 with US and British support. He adopted a policy of westernization and modernized Iran by constructing roads and expanding education opportunities.

He also increased tolerance toward Jews, enforced Western dress styles, and made the hijab optional for women. As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor increased.

After the overthrow of the Shah (which led to the Iranian Revolution), Ayatollah Khomeini emerged as the leader of Iran. He despised Iran's Western influences. Under his rule, Western culture, music, and entertainment were banned. Khomeini promoted Islamic fundamentalism instead. He established an Islamic state and returned to traditional Islamic teachings.

Khomeini ruled harshly over the people and restricted many of their freedoms. For instance, he limited women's rights and required them to wear the hijab. In addition, individuals had no freedom of speech or freedom of press - he jailed many journalists.