National Geographic : 1968 Mar
Blessings of the Moslem faith go to the monarch during his coronation in Gulis tan Palace. A leader of Iran's Shia sect, the Imam Juma of Teheran, Dr. Seyed Hassan Emami, recites from the Koran in classical Arabic. He prays for peace and friendship "among all the children of man kind." Then His Imperial Majesty kisses the holy book of Islam. The Deputy Com mander of the Imperial Guards, Brig. Gen. A. Badrai Lorestani, stands at left. EKTACHROMES BYJAMESL. STANFIELD ) N.G.S . a drastic step. In 1950 he issued a decree turn ing over to the farmers who lived on them more than 2,000 hamlets and villages that, as crown estates, were his personal property. The peasants were jubilant, but other large landowners fought the program. Not only did they refuse to yield their own extensive hold ings, but they used their power in the Iranian Majlis, or parliament, to delay the distribution of crown lands. The Shah fought back. By the end of 1958 more than half a million acres of land had been shared among 25,000 farmers. In the meantime, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had turned his attention to the vast holdings of the government, separate from those person ally owned by the crown. "A law on the distribution of government land was enacted in 1955," he wrote, "and three years later it came into force. It fixed the maximum individual landholding at 25 acres of irrigated land and 37 acres of non irrigated land. Government land was distrib uted to some 100,000 families." With his land and that of the government in the hands of the people who farmed it, the Shah waited in vain for the great private landholders to get the message. Nothing 306 Crowning himself, as his father did be fore him, His Majesty formalizes his reign as Aryamehr Shahanshah-Light of the Aryans, King of Kings. The Pahlavi Crown gleams with 3,380 diamonds, 368 pearls, 5 emeralds, and 2 sapphires. Designed for his father's enthronement in 1925, the crown resembles those of ancient Persia. "Long live the King-Javid Shah!" The shout echoes across Iran as the monarch mounts the gem-encrusted throne. His sym bols of royalty are beyond price: a pearl embroidered silk cape, a gold girdle with an egg-size emerald buckle, the "all-con quering" sword jeweled with emeralds, diamonds, and rubies, and a gold scepter. Property of the state, the treasures ordinar ily rest in the Central Bank of Iran, where they help back the country's currency.