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The word Shah is the Persian term for a monarch and loosely translates as Emperor. This title was used by former rulers of Persia, the Persian Empire, as well as the Iranian Constitutional Monarchy of the 20th Century.

In modern American usage, when one refers to "The Shah of Iran", one usually means Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the last hereditary ruler of Iran, who ruled from 1941 to 1979. He came to power during World War II when Allied forces deposed his father, was briefly exiled in 1953, only to be restored to the throne by the American CIA, and was finally deposed in 1979 by conservative Muslims led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in the Islamic Revolution.

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