For some period of time leading up to February 1, 1979, it can plausibly be argued that the most popular person in Iran wasn’t in Iran. That person, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, took a while to reach that level of fame. Khomeini had been critical of modernization (which he identified with Westernization) since the 1940s, when he first came into his own as a scholar and teacher. But it wasn’t until the 1960s when Khomeini firmly established himself as a leader among Iran’s religious community and perhaps the strongest domestic critic of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The impetus was the Shah’s “White Revolution,” a package of land and political reforms that were supposed to improve life for poor farmers and factory workers and to improve education and health care for all Iranians.