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In 1951, the government of Iran is ousted by Reza Shah, a US sympathizer whose rise was supported by the CIA and the United Kindom.
In 1957, the Shah creates a new secret police force supported by the US called SAVAK which was used to destroy any incitement of rebellion against the Shah in Iran. This organization helped to lead toward rebellion in Iran.
In 1962, new land reforms known as the White Revolution are enacted by the Shah which gave 2 million acres of estate land to peasant farmers, angering some of the upper class of Iran.
In the 1960s and 70s the Shah's policies to use Iran's oil wealth to modernize Iran divided the country between those who benefited and those who did not. This and other policies of his created powerful opposition.
Ayatollah Khomeini, a teacher in a sacred city, Qom, was a critic of the Shah's campaign suppress rural landlords, bazaar merchants, and the ulema. He was exiled by the Shah.
In 1978, sit-ins by religious students who demanded the return of Khomeini from his exile in Iraq were fired on by police; this led to a series of riots.
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