By Karl Reiner
Authoritarian rulers are not uncommon to Iran. As Iran's June presidential election nears, the Guardian Council has yet to announce the list of approved candidates. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wants to see a suitable conservative elected as president. In a country facing a faltering economy, sanctions and entanglement in Syria, the Supreme Leader may face some difficulty in getting his way.
In the 1960s, the Shah of Iran wanted to turn Iran into a new Persian Empire. He aspired to make it a major force in the Persian Gulf area. As the British withdrew their military presence east of Suez, the Shah was ready to step in and put his plan into action.
Oil revenues allowed the Shah to make large arms purchases. Using the Cold War to his advantage, he knew if he couldn't buy military equipment from the U.S., the Soviet Union would sell him all the arms he wanted. Within a few short years, Iran's military was turned into one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world.