The Rise and Fall of the Shah of Iran

Rise and Fall of the Shah of Iran  exile and supreme power, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi iranian revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Carl Mydans / Time Life Pictures / Getty

Initially little more than a puppet of the allies, the Shah's hold on power was challenged in the early 1950's, when an Iranian aristocrat, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh was chosen as Prime Minister. A 1953 coup in support of Pahlavi — backed by the Americans and British — failed and the Shah was forced to flee. But after a second plot staged a few days later succeeded, Pahlavi was allowed to return to power. In this classic Life photo, he steps off the plane that brought him back to Iran from Rome.

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