IRDC.IR: The Pahlavi regime was spreading propaganda against the clergy in this country for 50 years. Of course, it was not just the Pahlavi regime. But they did the worst, the most abhorrent. If you study the history of the recent century or so, you will understand that the war on the clergy started during the rule of the Qajar, especially with the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah.
When they saw that the clergy opposed granting concessions to foreigners-- including the Reuter concession and the tobacco concession; the widespread and increasing corruption; the oppression by the monarchy, especially during the rule of Nasser al-Din Shah; and the entering of Europeans to Iran who were considered above the law, they began to realize themselves—were also trained as such by those Europeans—that if they wanted enjoy freedom of action, they would have to get rid of the clergy. But it was not possible to get rid of the clergy.
They could not simply murder so many clergymen and scholars or make them disappear. They did do that on some occasions.
They killed Ayatollah Nouri, Sayyed Abdullah Behbahani, and many other great men around the country; however, when they could not physically remove them all from the scene, they began to apply different means. The best way for them was propaganda. They spread all sorts of propaganda against religious leaders. We were studying in the madrasa, and did not get involved in anything else.
We did not realize that the entire hegemonic front of the world of was trying to annihilate religious study and religious scholars through propaganda. Do not think that they did not succeed. They did a lot of damage. For 50 years, during the reign of Reza Shah and his son, they spread a lot of propaganda against the clergy. What was the result?
The result was pessimism towards the clergy among a group of people. Of course the majority of the people, the working-class people, still like the clergy and support them. They are deeply passionate about the religious studies community, and are emotionally and rationally dependent on them. Nonetheless, they could make a group of people pessimistic about the clergy. Religious scholars, and students who have spent their life studying and have not thought about anything else may not believe this.