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Secularization of the educational system

The introduction of new juridical and educational systems in accordance with western models initially seems to contradict nationalist tendencies. But the spirit and purpose of these reforms are obvious: for the state that defined itself as secular it was important to weaken the position of the ‘olama and to curtail their juridical, educational, and charitable functions. Reza Shah apparently recognized that he could only remain in power if he fulfilled the intellectuals’ desire for westernization and took up the question of education. Besides, the secularization and westernization of education could also serve to bring about an understanding with foreign governments. They allowed the shah to demonstrate to the western world how progressive Iran was. In order not to be a pawn in the hands of the Great Powers anymore, Iran was not only anxious to free itself from the direct influence of the western world, but also desired to be accepted and treated as a Europeanized and consequently more or less equal country.42

 
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