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Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 16:13 UK
Iran Archives: Oil Barrels and the Gun

Panorama has reported from Iran over the past 50 years, from her days as an ally of the West under the Shah to the more troubled relationship we share today.

Watch abridged moments from some of those films here.

Panorama returned to Iran in October 1973 to report on reforms which the Shah believed would strengthen the country.

The early 1970s were a time when the Shah played a greater role on the international stage.

In December 1973 he helped engineer the quadrupling of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) prices.

This price rise coincided with the world stock market crash of 1973-74 and helped trigger economic turmoil in the West.

It was in this climate that Panorama returned to Iran in 1973 to report on the booming oil industry and increased military strength which saw Iran with the fifth largest army in the world.

The programme also explored the Shah's planned land reforms - just one of the policies which he believed would help place Iran in a prominent position of strength between Europe and the Middle East.

As with the 1961 film, Panorama questioned the Shah over his country's human rights record and suppression of freedom.

In 1975, the Shah announced the creation of a single-party system, the Rastakhiz (National Resurgence). This was part of a plan to open up democratic participation, but strictly on his own, tightly controlled terms.

It was not viewed as a great success.

But by the end of the decade his vision was in tatters and in 1979 Panorama was back to report on the violent first days of what became the Iran's Islamic Revolution.



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