IRAN: The Bold Shah

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Ever since he and his Queen got back from their U.S. trip last month, the once uncertain young Shah of Iran has been giving more and more signs that he intends to rule as well as reign. Last week his chance came. General Fazlollah Zahedi, the tough Premier who liquidated the fanatical, disastrous Mossadegh regime and got Iran's oil flowing again to world markets, resigned his office. His regime had become increasingly stained by the corruption and greed which are endemic maladies in Iran. Besides, Zahedi was ill with gout, and wanted to go to Germany for prolonged treatment.

To succeed him the Shah appointed gentle, scholarly Hussein Ala, who had been Court Minister (liaison between government and palace) in the Zahedi regime. Ala is personally loyal to the Shah. Unfortunately, Ala too is ill, and will have to run off to Switzerland for a prostate operation before assuming his duties.

This leaves Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi himself in the role of Iran's next strongman. He did not even consult the Majlis (Parliament) before appointing his new Premier, as he is expected to.

Receiving the new Cabinet, the young Shah spoke as he never had before. Said he: "I want you to make a revolution in the country. I want a revolution. I believe we have to make it before others seize the chance to make one. If we don't, they will. If you cannot perform the heavy task I assign you, I will fire you."