INDUSTRIALIZATION, the foundation and development of modern industries in 20th-century Iran. Although Iran is generally characterized as an oil economy, the entries below show that Iran has a relatively rich history of industrialization going back to the early part of the 20th century. Perhaps understandably, much of this history is intertwined with the history of the development of the oil industry. This connection derives, on the one hand, from the role of oil as one of the earliest and largest industries in Iran (and the Middle East). On the other hand, the growing importance of oil income and resources generated by this sector over time have had an impact on the country’s industrialization drive in ways that have received much attention in the literature (see, e.g., Karshenas, 1990).

The following entries focus on the evolution of industry in Iran as a distinct economic sector. They discuss the evolution of this sector (and of the manufacturing industry as a sub-sector), stressing distinct ways in which it has evolved over time. Of special interest is a discussion of industrial policy and performance under three different political administrations since the 1920s. Where possible, each phase is further considered in relevant sub-periods to indicate variations in industrial policy and performance in each of the following three main periods covered.

i. The Reza Shah period and its aftermath, 1925-53.

ii. The Mohammad Reza Shah period: 1953-79.

iii. The Post-Revolutionary period: 1979-2000s.

(Multiple Authors)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 29, 2012

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Vol. XIII, Fasc. 1, pp. 105-112 and Vol. XIII, Fasc. 2, pp. 113-125