Massaging one's good will

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Senior Member
"For the next few years, under the leadership of Borujerdi, Behbehani and Kashani, the clergy supported the monarchy. The Shah’s government massaged their goodwill; most notoriously, in 1955, by turning a blind eye to attacks on the Bahais, who were hated as apostates and heretics by the ulema."

What is the meaning of the emphasized clause in that context? Thanks in advance.

The source: Revolutionary Iran by Michael Axworthy.
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