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The clergy first showed itself to be a powerful political force in opposition to the monarchy with the 1891 Tobacco protest.On 20 March 1890, Nasir al-Din Shah granted a concession to Major G. Talbot for a full monopoly over the production, sale, and export of tobacco for fifty years.

Mosaddegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian oil company and became a national hero. Mosaddegh, however, learned of their plans and ordered the British embassy shuttered in October 1952. In 1941 Reza Shah was deposed and his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was installed by an invasion of allied British and Soviet troops.

The British, however, were outraged and accused him of stealing. All British diplomats and agents had to leave the country. In 1953, foreign powers (American and British) again came to the Shah's aid – after the young Shah fled the country to Italy, the British MI6 aided an American CIA operative in organizing a military coup d'état to oust the nationalist and democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

The revolution led to the establishment of a Parliament and approval of the first constitution.

Although the constitutional revolution was successful in weakening the autocracy of the Qajar regime, it failed to provide a powerful alternative government.

The British demanded punishment by the World Court and the United Nations, sent warships to the Persian Gulf and finally imposed a crushing embargo. The British asked Truman for help; Truman, however, sympathized with nationalist movements like Mosaddegh's and had nothing but contempt for old-style imperialists like those who ran Anglo-Iranian. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was the son of Reza Shah, maintained a close relationship with the U. government, both regimes sharing an opposition to the expansion of the Soviet Union, Iran's powerful northern neighbor.

Mosaddegh was unmoved by Britain's campaign against him. Like his father's government, the Shah's was known for its autocracy, its focus on modernization and Westernization and for its disregard for religious and democratic measures in Iran's constitution.

Insecurity and chaos created after the Constitutional Revolution led to the rise of General Reza Khan, the commander of the elite Persian Cossack Brigade who seized power in a coup d'état in February 1921.

He established a constitutional monarchy, deposing the last of the Qajar shah in 1925 and introduced many social, economic, and political reforms during his reign.

This article is about the 1979 Iranian (Islamic) revolution in Iran.

For the revolution that took place between 19, see Persian Constitutional Revolution.

At the time the Persian tobacco industry employed over 200,000 people and therefore the concession represented a major blow to Persian farmers and bazaaris whose livelihoods were largely dependent on the lucrative tobacco business.