20Iran’s King of Kings

Between 1975 and 1978, I frequently visited Iran. Sometimes I commuted between Latin America or Indonesia and Tehran. The Shah of Shahs (literally, “King of Kings,” his official title) presented a completely different situation from that in the other countries where we worked.

Iran was oil rich and, like Saudi Arabia, it did not need to incur debt to finance its ambitious list of projects. However, Iran differed significantly from Saudi Arabia in that its large population, while predominantly Middle Eastern and Muslim, was not Arabic. The people were also Shias, not Sunnis; most Iranian women did not wear veils. In addition, the country had a history of political turmoil—both internally and in its relationships with its ...

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