How he came to be so hated by his subjects has mystified many outsiders who perceived him as a progressive, if authoritarian, ruler. While there is no simple answer, basically it can be said that he was regarded by his countrymen as a leader imposed on them by foreigners, a fatal flaw in a country with such a strong undercurrent of xenophobia. The shah contributed to this image because he was so unlike most Iranians and seemed at times even to disdain them. He became a stranger in his own land. He lost touch with his own people.