Up to now, history has been unkind to those who have tried to predict the course of Iran's political trajectory. When the Allies invaded Iran in 1941 and forced Reza Shah to abdicate in favor of his son, few thought that the young and inexperienced Mohammad Reza had more than a minuscule chance of retaining power. Yet his reign lasted thirty-seven years, and even as late as six months prior to his demise, the vast majority of analysts, including those employed by the CIA, were unanimous in maintaining that the shah's rule was secure. Following the overthrow of the shah, many of these same commentators, engaging in ex post facto analysis, published books in which they explained why, given the monarchy's fragile popular base and the neopatrimonial nature of the shah's rule, the destruction of the Pahlavi dynasty was virtually preordained. After the revolution, few thought that Khomeini and his followers, even if they were interested in governing Iran, would prevail in the postrevolutionary power struggle. Once a theocracy was established, however, most analysts projected that the clerical order would not survive the death of its charismatic founder. Writing in 1985, Mohsen Milani, who subsequently became one of the foremost scholars of the Iranian revolution, summed up the prevailing consensus among the scholarly community: "Upon Khomeini's death, a period of intense rivalry and a bloody power struggle among competing centers of power will begin. It is precisely at this conjuncture that the opposition can play a determining role" (Milani, 1985, p. 486).