Why did many Muslims in Iran oppose the shah?

Answer 1
The Muslims of Iran had many objections to Shah Pahlavi. Iran is a nation with a large amount of money generated by oil exports, and the Shah failed to use that money to improve the standard of living of Iranians; there was particular concern during his reign about housing shortages. In addition, he lived a life of luxury which was very decadent by Islamic standards, and he exhibited little devotion to Islam. His secret police were known to abuse the population in an effort to maintain his power through fear. He enjoyed close relations with the US and consequently, made no effort to harm Israel, which was another US ally, even though Islam in general is committed to the destruction of Israel.

Answer 2
The overwhelming majority of Iranians were Muslims, so there is no really no difference between asking this question and asking why Iranians in general were opposed to the Shah. People opposed the Shah from nearly every political perspective. These include:
  • Some said that the Shah was not religious enough
  • Some believed that the Shah's policies were too oppressive
  • Some believed that the Shah was modernizing without preserving Iran's cultural heritage and others were angry that he was moving too slowly
  • Some believed that the Shah was a sellout to foreign interests and others believed his foreign focuses were too narrow.
  • Some believed that the Shah did not grant women enough rights and others thought that women had too many rights.
  • Some believed that the Shah should have encouraged more middle class growth and others believe he should have put more capital into industry.
  • Some wanted more privatization and others wanted more nationalization.


If the intended question was "Why were Fundamentalist Muslims in Iran opposed to the Shah?", please see the Related Question below.