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He instituted civil marriages and divorce. This did not sit well with the large number of pious (religious and practicing) Muslims in Iran. As the entire world became mired in the devastating economic depression of the 1930s and advanced towards a second catastrophic global war, Iran’s economy also suffered, and the world’s great powers again began eyeing the nation for its oil resources and strategic value. These strains, coupled the history of modern iran with the widespread and growing discontent over Reza Shah’s harsh, repressive, and uncompromising rule, would result in his downfall.

The old Persian postal and road systems were revived, and Iran again became a crossroads of world trade and a marketplace of ideas and influences. Looking back to the glory days of the Persian Empire and the Sassanian era in particular, Persian intellectual, artistic, architectural, literary, stylistic, and spiritual influences began to infuse Islam. This resulted in a cultural and technological high-water mark for the Islamic world, as the famously open-minded Persians embraced Greek and Indian scientific learning, philosophy, theology, and mathematics.

The ISLAMIC INVASION Shiite Muslims believe that imams, or leaders appointed by God, use their divine insight to guide their people. According to Shiite Muslims, there are only twelve imams who are direct descendents of the Prophet. In the above ancient Persian image, the Prophet is pictured with his imams. 39 40 ali khamenei Shiite Religious and Educational Structures One of the results of this split in Islam was that each sect developed different doctrines and organized its religious hierarchy quite differently.

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