Reza Shah - Pahlavi Dynasty - 1926 (1305)
During World War I (1914-1918) Iran was neutral, but was the scene of several battles for the oil fields between the British and
Russian allies and the Turks. In 1919 Iran signed an agreement whereby Britain was to exercise controlling influence in Iranian
affairs, but the Majlis refused to ratify it. Two years later the British began to withdraw their forces from the country.
Soon afterward, Reza Shah Pahlavi, commander of an Iranian cossack force, established a new independent government,
with himself as minister of war. He became prime minister in 1923 and two years later was elected shah by the Majlis,
which had deposed Ahmad Shah, the last of the Qajar dynasty.
During his reign the judiciary was modernized, transportation
and communication facilities were improved, and a broad program of Westernization was begun. One decree ordered the Sunni
to wear European-style hats instead of their traditional fezzes. Most of the population obeyed without protest; a minority,
led by Muslim clergy, rioted, and several were killed. The government next abolished all feudal titles and began a long-range program
for the economic modernization of the country.
Early in 1936 the shah's wife and daughters appeared in public without veils, breaking
an ancient tradition of the country. Thereafter, most Iranian women gradually stopped wearing their veils. In 1936 Iran signed a treaty
of friendship and nonaggression with Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan.