The Military Spell: Prime Minister Gholam-Reza Azhari
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The military government that the Shah half-heartedly installed in early November under General Gholam-Reza Azhari initially scored gains, an indication that the crisis was responding to a show of strength. But Azhari soon began acting as a normal prime minister and quickly lost the initial advantage. The month of Muharram loomed as a daunting challenge. Navigating through that turbulence with minimal damage came to be seen by the regime moguls as a victory in itself. The ban on political processions was lifted. The mammoth twin processions on the days of Tasua and Ashura were seen by all, foreign capitals included, as a plebiscite for Khomeini’s movement and marked a watershed. In the heightened street unrest in late December, a forlorn Shah was forced to play his final cards.