Ali A. Kherdri Zadeh
In 1959, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi under pressure of the U.S. government and domestic crises was convinced that to reform economic and social issues. Accordingly, he asked the former Prime Minister Manuchehr Eqbal to prepare a draft of land reform bill for submission to Parliament. Naturally, passed such a law would face opposition from landowners. But since Parliament was under the control of the government, the only way to save the owners was to revise and change the bill in order to make it impossible to implement. In early 1960, Parliament passed a modified version of land reform which most of them were the owners. Thus, the law provides the owner's interests. According to this law, individuals could own 400 hectares of irrigated land or 800 hectares of rainfed land. In total, the Parliament predicted some ways to prevent the realization of land reform and advocated the interests of the owners.
Passing such a law could create a fundamental change in social and territorial relations. As a result, socio-political crisis was likely to occur in the country. Hence, in May 1340, Ali Amini who was supported by the Americans was appointed as the prime minister to implement the land reform.
In Aban 1340, the king issued a decree addressed to the Prime Minister in which the new programs of the reform were explained and introduce the Amini’s government responsible for implementing them. In fact, it was Kennedy’s administration reform program; and a few months later was called the White Revolution. Land reform bill was approved on 19 Dey 1341.
Although the bill was only an amendment to the Act of 1339, but a new law was actually applied. The decree was the first step toward the realization of the land reform program whereby, the ownership of land being limited to a dozen six Dang or six Dang of a few tens and allow the owner to sell the surplus property to government with a certain price. Fruit garden, tea plantation, mechanization farms and endowment lands were exempted from this Act. With the passage of the law, land reform council was set up and upon the decision of the Council, the Land Reform Organization founded.
Since it was impossible to implement the law simultaneously across the country, so it was performed region by region. The Minister of Agriculture, Arsnjany, implemented the land reform program first in the cities around Maragheh and a few months later in Ardabil, Ahar, Kermanshah and provinces of Kurdistan and Fars as well. But in villages that were not subject to land reform, farmers refused to pay the ownership interests and were expected land division. It was an excuse for the Shah to reduce pace of land reform and trying to cope with another plan. On other hand, the king, who was suspicious to the ambitions of Amini, in Tir 1341 forced him to resign. With the resignation of Amini, the government of A. Alam came to power. In his cabinet, Arsnjany continued as Minister of Agriculture to implement the land reform. But a few months later, Arsanjany who possessed of considerable strength was forced to resign from his position. After removal of Arsnjany, Gen. E. Riahi appointed as the Ministry of Agriculture.
Riahi's appointment coincides with the implementation of the second phase of land reform in the country. The purpose of the second phase was mitigating the dissatisfaction of farmers who were not included in the first phase. In addition, another purpose was to resolve conflicts that have emerged between landlords and farmers in the first phase. The second phase was known as “Additional Extensions” law as well. The law was first issued on 27 Dey 1341 and after applying some changes on 13 Khordad 1342 was approved by the Parliament. The practical implementation of the law was begun on 3 Esfand 1343. But the second phase of land reforms subjected to intense dissatisfaction of tenures and confliction between them and the owners. Therefore, the third land reform bill began on Mehr 1347 by offering a new bill to the National Council. The main reasons for implementation of the third phase were included: 1- Tenure dissatisfaction and increasing tensions between them and the owners 2- Being ineffective the first and second stages of land reforms on level of agricultural production.