By: Mir M.Hosseini
Mohammad Reza Shah used to change Prime Ministers as casually as other men change suits. On March, 7, 1964, he courteously turned out Asadollah Alam, the 17th Premier in the Shah's 22-year reign, and appointed as Premier #18 elegant Hasanali Mansour with a degree in economics and political science from Paris University.
Until then, Alam was the longest serving minister of the Pahlavi era. In 1962, he became Prime Minister at the age of 43. Alam had spent 19 months in office as PM, taking over an empty treasury from his predecessor. Alam pledged to undertake an anti-corruption campaign with great diligence and all severity. He succeeded in building up a foreign exchange balance of more than $100 million.
In 1953, Alam helped organize the CIA-backed coup that overthrew Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh.
The most important event in Alam's premiership was the riots that took place in June 1963 in response to some of the reforms enforced by the Shah and Alam. Iranian top clerics triggered riots during the Moharram holy days. Police struck back, arrested Khomeini and some 15 other ring-leaders. With that, both sides declared open war and the battle was on. For the first time in a decade, martial law was imposed on the city, along with a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
In 1964, Alam was appointed as Chancellor of Shiraz University and served host to the King of Belgium in his visit to Fars Province a few years later. Afterwards he was the minister of court for many years.