Iran was preeminently and agricultural country until recent times. Growth of oil production, exports and revenues during the course of the twentieth century led increasingly to it playing an expanded but rather geographically and economically restricted role in the structures of both employment and national income. As late as the 1960s, more than half of all Iranians in gainful employment were to be found in agriculture or related activities and most Iranians were essentially rural dwellers. Only with the advent of land reform and other upheavals in the countryside from 1961 was there a marked change in the situation. Whatever its other merits, land reform overthrew a form of equilibrium in rural areas that had previously fostered conservatism, isolation and immobility. Among the changes brought in the train of reforms enforced by the central authorities beginning in the early 1960s were displacement of population at an accelerating rate. Rural People left agricultural employment and, as soon as opportunity presented itself, moved from the villages to the towns.

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