ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Iran-Stable Regime

January 9, 1971 LOOKED at In terms of growth of GNP, Iran's performance has been second only to Japan's. Between 1963 and 1969 Iran's GNP grew by over 70 per cent while that of Japan grew by almost 90 per cent Iran's per capita income last year was Rs 2,600 white India's was about Rs 330. On the basis of such statistics and the apparent firmness of the 'benevolent' rule of Reza Pahlavi, the Emperor of Iran, many Western commentators have de- cutod to upgrade Iran as a worthy example to other developing countries Iran is now recognised by them as having a 'stable' government and a 'growing' economy. But considering the narrow grounds on which such judgments are based, these commentators are bound to be disappointed once again in their perpetual quest for stability. There are signs, slight but distinct, that the Shah is not likely to remain in power for more than another couple of years This is not to say that Reza Pahlavi has been a tyrant. On the contrary; he has been the instigator of formal change in several spheres, particularly land reform. Starting in 1963. extensive lands were expropriated from the feudal barons and redistributed among peasants, even though in unequal proportions. Much of the political influence of the big landlord families disappeared with their land. In effect, this has meant that governmental power in Iran has become even more concentrate ed. The impressive economic growth has benefited only a small class. AD important decisions and many incon- sequential ones are taken by the Shah, without any fear of adverse public opi- nion, since free speech and a free press are non-existent Savak, the secret police organisation, has a wide network and has so far succeeded in crushing incipiont opposition groups. In spite of this there were forceful demonstrations by university students in Teheran and other Iranian towns last month.

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