1 FEBRUARY 1963, Page 4

The Shah's Referendum

Ttie results of the Persian referendum con- stitute a sweeping victory for the Shah in his campaign to reform the structure of his country's national life-. They also mean a considerable set- back for the opposition to his reforms—oppoSi- tion which comes from two different directions: the conservative landowners and feudal chief- tains who see their economic and political power likely to be diminished and the 'progressive' National Front which denounces the undemo- cratic character of the referendum and accuses the Shah of having stolen its own electoral pro- gramme.. However, it will be the Persian people that will benefit from agrarian reform, profit- sharing in factories and universal education, and they have assented to the Shah's programme with no uncertain voice. The political situation is bound to remain tense. One choice open to the heterogeneous coalition opposed to the Shah is to strike against him at once. If they do not do this, then they are likely to find themselves increasingly powerless to affect events. The Shah's courageous policy is one which may well prove the salvation of his country, but opposing it are forces whose ability to create trouble is considerable.