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The Iranian Revolution was a nationalist and Shi'a Islamic revolution that replaced a secular dictatorial monarchy with a theocracy based on "Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists" (or Vilayat-e Faqih).
The Iranian Revolution was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.
Nationalism is a political, social, and economic ideology and movement characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation's sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power. It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity—based on shared social characteristics such as culture, language, religion, politics, and belief in a shared singular history—and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation's traditional culture, and cultural revivals have been associated with nationalist movements. It also encourages pride in national achievements, and is closely linked to patriotism. Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism or socialism for example.
Shia, also transliterated Shiah and Shiʿah, is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident at Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed Caliph through a Shura, i.e. community consensus in Saqifa, to be the first rightful Caliph after the Prophet.
Its causes – why the last Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) was overthrown and why he was replaced by an Islamic Republic – are the subject of historical debate. The revolution was in part a conservative backlash against the westernization, modernization and secularization efforts of the Western-backed Shah,and a more popular reaction to social injustice and other shortcomings of the ancien régime . The Shah was perceived by common Iranian people as a puppet of the United States. Under the Shah's rule, Western powers exploited Iran's natural resources blatantly. Toward the people, The Shah's regime was oppressive, brutal, and corrupt; it also suffered from basic functional failures, like overly ambitious economic programs that brought economic bottlenecks, shortages and inflation.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.
Westernization (US) or Westernisation (UK), also Europeanization/Europeanisation or occidentalization/occidentalisation, is a process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture in areas such as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, clothing, language, alphabet, religion, philosophy, and values.
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification and inn with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious values and secular institutions. The secularization thesis refers to the belief that as societies progress, particularly through modernization and rationalization, religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance. The term secularization is also used in the context of the lifting of the monastic restrictions from a member of the clergy.
Shi'a clergy (or Ulema,) have had a significant influence in Iran. The clergy first showed themselves to be a powerful political force in opposition to Iran's monarch with the 1891 Tobacco Protest boycott that effectively destroyed an unpopular concession granted by the shah giving a British company a monopoly over buying and selling Tobacco in Iran. To some the incident demonstrated that the Shia ulama were "Iran's first line of defense" against colonialism.
The Persian Tobacco Protest, was a Shi'a revolt in Iran against an 1890 tobacco concession granted by Nasir al-Din Shah of Persia to Great Britain, granting British control over growth, sale and export of tobacco. The protest was held by Tehran merchants in solidarity with the clerics. It climaxed in a widely obeyed December 1891 fatwa against tobacco use supposedly issued by Grand Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi.
A concession or concession agreement is a grant of rights, land or property by a government, local authority, corporation, individual or other legal entity.
In Sunni Islam, the ulama, are the guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge, of Islamic doctrine and law.
The dynasty that the revolution overthrew – the Pahlavi dynasty – was known for its autocracy, its focus on modernization and Westernization and for its disregard for religiousand democratic measures in Iran's constitution.
The Pahlavi dynasty was the last ruling house of the Imperial State of Iran from 1925 until 1979, when the 2,500 years of continuous Persian monarchy was overthrown and abolished as a result of the Iranian Revolution. The dynasty was founded by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925, a former brigadier-general of the Persian Cossack Brigade, whose reign lasted until 1941 when he was forced to abdicate by the Allies after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.
An autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control. Absolute monarchies and dictatorships are the main modern-day forms of autocracy.
The founder of the dynasty, army general Reza Pahlavi, replaced Islamic laws with western ones, and forbade traditional Islamic clothing, separation of the sexes and veiling of women (hijab).Women who resisted his ban on public hijab had their chadors forcibly removed and torn. In 1935 a rebellion by pious Shi'a at the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad was crushed on his orders with dozens killed and hundreds injured, rupturing relations between the Shah and pious Shia in Iran.
Reza Shah Pahlavi, commonly known as Reza Shah, was the Shah of Iran from 15 December 1925 until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941.
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is often described as the human understanding of the sharia, that is human understanding of the divine Islamic law as revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah. Fiqh expands and develops Shariah through interpretation (ijtihad) of the Quran and Sunnah by Islamic jurists (ulama) and is implemented by the rulings (fatwa) of jurists on questions presented to them. Thus, whereas sharia is considered immutable and infallible by Muslims, fiqh is considered fallible and changeable. Fiqh deals with the observance of rituals, morals and social legislation in Islam. In the modern era, there are four prominent schools (madh'hab) of fiqh within Sunni practice, plus two within Shi'a practice. A person trained in fiqh is known as a faqīh.
A hijab in common English usage is a veil worn by some Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest. The term can refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to Islamic standards of modesty. Hijab can also refer to the seclusion of women from men in the public sphere, or it may denote a metaphysical dimension, for example referring to "the veil which separates man or the world from God."
Reza Shah was deposed in 1941 by an invasion of allied British and Soviet troopswho believed him to be sympathetic with the allies' enemy Nazi Germany. His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was installed by the allies as monarch. Prince Pahlavi (later crowned shah) reigned until the 1979 revolution with one brief interruption. In 1953 he fled the country after a power-struggle with his Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Mossadegh is remembered in Iran for having been voted into power through a democratic election, nationalizing Iran's British-owned oil fields, and being deposed in a military coup d'état organized by an American CIA operative and aided by the British MI6. Thus foreign powers were involved in both the installation and restoration of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, also known as the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia, was the joint invasion of Iran in 1941 during the Second World War by the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union. The invasion lasted from 25 August to 17 September 1941 and was codenamed Operation Countenance. Its purpose was to secure Iranian oil fields and ensure Allied supply lines for the USSR, fighting against Axis forces on the Eastern Front. Though Iran was neutral, the Allies considered Reza Shah to be friendly to Germany, deposed him during the subsequent occupation and replaced him with his young son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The 1953 Iranian coup d'état, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup d'état, was the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the United Kingdom and the United States, and the first United States covert action to overthrow a foreign government during peacetime.
The shah maintained a close relationship with the United States, both regimes sharing a fear of/opposition to the expansion of Soviet/Russian state, Iran's powerful northern neighbor. Leftist and Islamist groups attacked his government (often from outside Iran as they were suppressed within) for violating the Iranian constitution, political corruption, and the political oppression by the SAVAK (secret police).
Shia cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution,first came to political prominence in 1963 when he led opposition to the Shah and his program of reforms known as the "White Revolution", which aimed to break up landholdings owned by some Shi’a clergy, allow women to vote and religious minorities to hold office, and grant women legal equality in marital issues.
Khomeini declared that the Shah had "embarked on the destruction of Islam in Iran"and publicly denounced the Shah as a "wretched miserable man." Following Khomeini's arrest on June 5, 1963, three days of major riots erupted throughout Iran, with Khomeini supporters claiming 15,000 were killed by police fire Khomeini was detained and kept under house arrest for 8 months. After his release he continued his agitation against the Shah, condemning the regimes's close cooperation with Israel and its "capitulations" – the extension of diplomatic immunity to American government personnel in Iran. In November 1964, Khomeini was re-arrested and sent into exile where he remained for 14 years until the revolution.
A period of "disaffected calm" followed. : نه شرقی نه غربی جمهوری اسلامی)Despite political repression the budding Islamic revival began to undermine the idea of Westernization as progress that was the basis of the Shah's secular regime and form the ideology of the revolution. Jalal Al-e-Ahmad's idea of Gharbzadegi – that Western culture was a plague or an intoxication to be eliminated; Ali Shariati's vision of Islam as the one true liberator of the Third World from oppressive colonialism, neo-colonialism, and capitalism; and Morteza Motahhari's popularized retellings of the Shia faith, all spread and gained listeners, readers and supporters. Most importantly, Khomeini preached that revolt, and especially martyrdom, against injustice and tyranny was part of Shia Islam, and that Muslims should reject the influence of both capitalism and communism with the slogan "Neither East, nor West - Islamic Republic!" (Persian
To replace the shah's regime Khomeini developed the ideology of velayat-e faqih (guardianship of the jurist) as government, that Muslims – in fact everyone – required "guardianship," in the form of rule or supervision by the leading Islamic jurist or jurists.Such rule would protect Islam from deviation from traditional sharia law, and in so doing eliminate poverty, injustice, and the "plundering" of Muslim land by foreign unbelievers. Establishing and obeying this Islamic government was "actually an expression of obedience to God", ultimately "more necessary even than prayer and fasting" in Islam, and a commandment for all the world, not one confined to Iran.
Publicly, Khomeini focused on the socio-economic problems of the shah's regime (corruption, unequal income and development),not his solution of rule by Islamic jurists.
He believed a propaganda campaign by Western imperialists had prejudiced most Iranians against theocratic rule.
But his book was widely distributed in religious circles, especially among Khomeini's students (talabeh), ex-students (clerics), and traditional business leaders (bazaari). A powerful and efficient network of opposition began to develop inside Iran,employing mosque sermons, smuggled cassette speeches by Khomeini, and other means. Added to this religious opposition were secular and Islamic modernist students and guerrilla groups who admired Khomeini's history of resistance, though they were to clash with his theocracy and be suppressed by his movement after the revolution.
Constitutionalist, Marxist, and Islamist groups opposed the Shah:
The very first signs of opposition in 1977 came from Iranian constitutionalist liberals. Based in the urban middle class, this was a section of the population that was fairly secular and wanted the Shah to adhere to the Iranian Constitution of 1906 rather than religious rule.Prominent in it was Mehdi Bazargan and his liberal, moderate Islamic group Freedom Movement of Iran, and the more secular National Front.
The clergy were divided, allying variously with the liberals, Marxists and Islamists. The various anti-Shah groups operated from outside Iran, mostly in London, Paris, Iraq, and Turkey. Speeches by the leaders of these groups were placed on audio cassettes to be smuggled into Iran. Khomeini, who was in exile in Iraq, worked to unite clerical and secular, liberal and radical opposition under his leadershipby avoiding specifics – at least in public – that might divide the factions.
Marxists groups were illegal and heavily suppressed by SAVAK internal security apparatus. They included the communist Tudeh Party of Iran; two armed organizations, the Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas (OIPFG) and the breakaway Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas (IPFG); and some minor groups.The guerillas aim was to defeat the Pahlavi regime by assassination and guerilla war. Although they played an important part in the 1979 overthrow of the regime, they had been weakened considerably by government repression and factionalization in the first half of the 1970s.
Islamists were divided into several groups. The Freedom Movement of Iran, made up of religious members of the National Front of Iran who wanted to use lawful political methods against the Shah and led by Bazargan and Mahmoud Taleghani. The People's Mujahedin of Iran, a quasi-Marxist armed organization that opposed the influence of the clergy and later fought Khomeini's Islamic government.
The Islamist group that ultimately prevailed was that containing the core supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini. Amongst them were some minor armed Islamist groups which joined together after the revolution in the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization. The Coalition of Islamic Societies was founded by religious bazaaris(traditional merchants). The Combatant Clergy Association comprised Morteza Motahhari, Mohammad Beheshti, Mohammad-Javad Bahonar, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Mofatteh, who later became the major leaders of the Islamic Republic. They used a cultural approach to fight the Shah.
Because of internal repression, opposition groups abroad, like the Confederation of Iranian students, the foreign branch of Freedom Movement of Iran and the Islamic Association of Students, were important to the revolution.
Several events in the 1970s set the stage for the 1979 revolution:
In October 1971, the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire was held at the site of Persepolis. Only foreign dignitaries were invited to the three-day party whose extravagances included over one ton of caviar, and preparation by some two hundred chefs flown in from Paris. Cost was officially $40 million but estimated to be more in the range of $100–120 million.Meanwhile, drought ravaged the provinces of Baluchistan, Sistan, and even Fars where the celebrations were held. "As the foreigners reveled on drink forbidden by Islam, Iranians were not only excluded from the festivities, some were starving."
By late 1974 the oil boom had begun to produce not "the Great Civilization" promised by the Shah, but an "alarming" increase in inflation and waste and an "accelerating gap" between the rich and poor, the city and the country.Nationalistic Iranians were angered by the tens of thousand of skilled foreign workers who came to Iran, many of them to help operate the already unpopular and expensive American high-tech military equipment that the Shah had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on.
The next year the Rastakhiz party was created. It became not only the only party Iranians were permitted to belong to, but one the "whole adult population" was required to belong and pay dues to.The party attempted to take a populist stand fining and jailing merchants in its "anti-profiteering" campaigns, but this proved not only economically harmful but also politically counterproductive. Inflation morphed into a black market and business activity declined. Merchants were angered and politicized.
In 1976, the Shah's government angered pious Iranian Muslims by changing the first year of the Iranian solar calendar from the Islamic hijri to the ascension to the throne by Cyrus the Great. "Iran jumped overnight from the Muslim year 1355 to the royalist year 2535."The same year the Shah declared economic austerity measures to dampen inflation and waste. The resulting unemployment disproportionately affected the thousands of recent poor and unskilled migrants to the cities. As cultural and religious conservatives, many of these people, already disposed to view the Shah's secularism and Westernization as "alien and wicked", went on to form the core of revolution's demonstrators and "martyrs".
In 1977 a new American president, Jimmy Carter, was inaugurated. Carter sought to make American post-Vietnam foreign policy and power exercise more benevolent, and created a special Office of Human Rights. It sent the Shah a "polite reminder" of the importance of political rights and freedom. The Shah responded by granting amnesty to 357 political prisoners in February, and allowing Red Cross to visit prisons, beginning what is said to be 'a trend of liberalization by the Shah'. Through the late spring, summer and autumn liberal opposition formed organizations and issued open letters denouncing the regime.Later that year a dissent group (the Writers' Association) gathered without the customary police break-up and arrests, starting a new era of political action by the Shah's opponents.
That year also saw the death of the very popular and influential modernist Islamist leader Ali Shariati, allegedly at the hands of SAVAK, removing a potential revolutionary rival to Khomeini. Finally, in October Khomeini's son Mostafa died. Though the cause appeared to be a heart attack, anti-Shah groups blamed SAVAK poisoning and proclaimed him a 'martyr.' A subsequent memorial service for Mostafa in Tehran put Khomeini back in the spotlight and began the process of building Khomeini into the leading opponent of the Shah.
The Iranian Revolution had a number of unique and significant characteristics. It produced profound change at great speed;and replaced an ancient monarchy with a theocracy based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (or velayat-e faqih). Its outcome – an Islamic Republic "under the guidance of an 80-year-old exiled religious scholar from Qom" – was, as one scholar put it, "clearly an occurrence that had to be explained.…"
The revolution was unique for the surprise it created throughout the world,and followed the maxim of appearing "impossible" until it seemed "inevitable".
Some of the customary causes of revolution that were lacking include
The regime it overthrew was thought to be heavily protected by a lavishly financed army and security services.As one observer put it: "Few expected the regime of the Shah, which had international support and a modern army of 400,000, to crumble in the face of unarmed demonstrators within a matter of months."
Another historian noted the revolution was "unique in the annals of modern world history in that it brought to power not a new social group equipped with political parties and secular ideologies, but a traditional clergy armed with mosque pulpits and claiming the divine right to supervise all temporal authorities, even the country's highest elected representatives."
Explanations advanced for why the revolution happened and took the form it did include actions of the Shah and the mistakes and successes of the different political forces:
Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union long competed with each other for the domination of Iran. Britain maintained its control of the Iranian oil industry for a long time using its alliance with power bloc, landlords and courts and was able to reduce the power of the US and the Soviets in Iran. On the other hand, the United States and the Soviet Union were mainly interested in logistically important location of Iran and wanted an oil concession in northern part of Iran. The United States used its influence in the army and courts while the Soviet Union had the total support of the Tudeh Party and the CCFTU. The Shah himself was very interested in involving the United States in Iran’s affair to reorganize the army and boost the economy with the US assistance. The US also, could reduce the influence of the communism in Iran by its more open presence in Iran .By the late 1950s the US was fed up with the widespread corruption in Iranian government and started reducing in its financial assistance to Iran. In 1958, the US also attempted, although turned out to be unsuccessful, to replace the Shah with Iran’s chief of staff, a reform orientated politician, to push for the social reform in Iran . As Shah realized that his government and the Iranian economic health were depended on the US, he decided to liberalize his policies. Therefore, the Shah, with some pressure from the Kennedy administration, opted for Amini group, which had no popular base, but a full US support and a clear reform program.
Amini’s agenda was to broadcast land reform, reduce corruption, stabilize the economy, limit the power of the Shah and reduce the size and influence of the Army.. Despite having a reformist ideology, Amini did not gain popular support from the National Front, identified with Mossadegh, and the Tudeh Party. Amini’s government was very distrusted by the people because of his infamous backing of the Consortium agreement and was widely criticized by the Tudeh Party as spreading anti communism and being an American puppet. Amini’s government fell apart after fifteen months of struggle with economic dilemmas, popular distrust and the Shah trying to convince Kennedy to shift his support from Amini to him. In 1962, Amini resigned and Alam, a faithful friend of the shah who had no intention of reform but to consolidate the power of the monarchy, became the new prime minister and laid the ground for the Shah to reestablish his dictatorship in early 1963.
In the mid 1970s, the Shah was once again taken under the US pressure for violation of the human rights and mistreatment of the political prisoners. The paralyzing crisis of the state made the Shah concerned about the future of his throne. Although, very undesirable for Shah to introduce another round of liberalization policies, the first round being in the early 1960s, he had no other choice but to do so. Therefore, in the early 1977 Shah announced liberalization policies to gain the US support once again and resolve the crises of the state. In the mid 1977, Shah allowed open discussion forum for the Rastakhiz Party to discuss the social issues publicly. As Amjad quotes Tocqueville in his book, the political liberalization following a long period of repression results in a social upheaval and revolution. In the Iranian case, although the aim of the policy was to appease the oppositions and gain the US support, instead it provided the suitable condition for the opposition to organize its forces against the regime. Following the liberalization policies, the network of 80,000 mosques run by 180,000 mullahs played a crucial role in mobilizing the people against the regime.
Charles Kurzman, author of The Unthinkable Revolution in Iranhas postulated that the explanations offered by observers for why the revolution occurred "are only partially valid," and that "the closer we listen to the people who made the revolution - the more anomalies we find."
Kurzman points out that one explanation for the Shah's overthrow - the 40-day (Arba'een) cycle of commemorating deaths of protesters - "came to a halt" on June 17, 1978, a half year before the revolution's culmination. Moderate religious leaders (Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari) called for calm and a stay-at-home strike which prevented more casualties to commemorate 40 days later.Kurzman also argues that the mourning rituals in Iran had been a political act only once before.
Could we have said in early 1977 that because Iranian culture includes a forty-day mourning cycle, the country was more likely than other countries to undergo a revolution? I think not. Rather, a knowledgeable observer would probably have noted that this mourning cycle had been put to protest purposes only once in Iranian history, in 1963, and that movement had come to naught.
Alexis de Tocqueville's idea that "steadily increasing prosperity, far from tranquilizing the population, everywhere promoted a spirit of unrest", has been offered by several observers as an explanation for the 1978–79 revolt. But this does not explain why "there was very little oppositional activity" in the recession of 1975–76 when unemployment and inflation were at similar levels to those of 1978.Furthermore, revolutions were conspicuously absent in other "high-growth autocracies" – Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq – in the 1970s and 1980s despite the fact that those countries also suffered from oil wealth problems (corruption, debt, fraud, repression).
Another cause, or partial cause, in doubt is the Shah's liberalization as a result of the encouragement of President Jimmy Carter. Kurzman points out that "even as the shah arrived in Washington" for a state visit in late 1977, "his regime's partial tolerance of oppositional activity was disappearing. ... In November 1977, as the shah ingratiated himself with Jimmy Carter, liberals were in retreat."
Another author, Moojan Momen, questions whether Carter "could have said or done" anything to save the Shah – aside from foregoing his human rights policy – since "any direct interference by America would only have increased resentment" against the pro-American Shah.
Theda Skocpol, an American socialist specializing in study of social revolutions, proposed an unprecedented cultural theory to account for the unique aspects of the Iranian Revolution, which she admitted falsified her past history-based theories on causes of social revolutions.
Skocpol argued that the revolution diverges from past revolutions in three distinct ways:
Although the Shah’s regime had several political vulnerabilities none of them could have mattered as the Shah was still wealthy and powerful enough to overcome waves of social discontent just as other even less wealthy Third world despots had been able to. The fact that the revolution was successful can only be explained by reference to sustained extraordinary efforts by the urban Iranians to wear down and undermine the regime.
Despite the negative impact of Shah’s hectic modernization on the traditional form of urban life, it caused more people, consisting of the displaced villagers and farmers, to come into contact with members of traditional urban communities such as bazaaris and artisans. Bazaars in particular became centers of associational life, with Islamic groups and occasions tying people together through clerics' interpreting Islamic laws to settle commercial disputes and taxing the well-to-do to provide welfare for devout poorer followers. An endless succession of prayer-meetings and rituals were organized by both clergy and the laity. Bazaars also enjoyed ties with more modern sectors of Iranians society as many Iranian university students were from the merchant class. But since 1970s, Shah aroused the defense and oppositions of the bazaar by attempts at bring under control their autonomous councils and marginalizing the clergy by taking over their educational and welfare activities.
In the mass revolutionary movements during 1977-8 the traditional urban communities played an indispensable role in making sustained mass struggle possible. The workers relied on economic aid from bazaar during their strikes and the secular opponents depended on alliance with clerics and lay leaders of the bazaar to mobilize the masses. Without these autonomous sources of support and sustenance, successful resistance against the modern political and economic power holders would’ve been impossible.
The next question is how as part of a unique historical precedence, millions of Iranians were willing to face death in the mass demonstrations against brutal suppression by the army and how the clerics could rise as the leaders of the revolution. This is explained by the potential role of the Shia beliefs and clerical organization in the Iranian society. Shi'a Islam embodies substantial symbolic content to inspire resistance against unjust rule and to justify religious leaders as alternative to secular authority. As Shah aimed to marginalize the Shia clergy and eliminate their influence by its modernization policies, clerics in Qom and their followers developed a populist, anti-Imperialist interpretation of Shia theology to delegitimize Shah for his injustice and his reliance on the anti-Islamic foreign imperialists. The story of Husayn's just revolt against the usurper caliph, Yazid I, and his eventual martyrdom, as well as the belief in the Islamic Messiah, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who clerics claim to represent during his Occultation, were particularly influential in victory of the revolution. As protests against the Shah began, the Shi'a clerics could claim legitimate leadership of the protests and the Husayn legend provided a framework for characterizing the Shah as a modern incarnation of the tyrant Yazid. The revolution also attracted secular Iranians who saw Shi'a Islam and Khomeini's unwavering moral leadership as an indigenous way to express common opposition to an arrogant monarch too closely associated with foreigners. Khomeini’s message and appeal spread through existing networks of social links with the urban life and gradually resonated with the majority who saw Shah as being subservient to foreign powers instead of the indigenous demands of his own people. With the inspiration found in Hussein, the devout Iranians consistently defied the army with an audacity unprecedented in European revolutions and despite sustaining casualties. This sustained resistance, gradually undermined the morale of the military rank-and-file and their willingness to continue shooting into the crowds, until the state and the army succumbed before the revolution. As such a very "traditional" part of Iranian life could forge a very modern-looking revolutionary movement. This represented the first revolution to ever be deliberately “made” by a revolutionary ideology and organization that mobilize mass followings.
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Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and marja. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.
SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by Iran's Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli MOSSAD. SAVAK operated from 1957 until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when the prime minister Shapour Bakhtiar ordered its dissolution during the outbreak of Iranian Revolution. SAVAK has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979 because of its practice of torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks according to one source, and another source by Gholam Reza Afkhami estimates SAVAK staffing at between 4,000 and 6,000.
Black Friday is the name given to 8 September 1978 because of the shootings in Jaleh Square in Tehran, Iran. Between 84–88 people were killed in the incident and 205 were injured. The deaths were described as the pivotal event in the Iranian Revolution that ended any "hope for compromise" between the protest movement and regime of the Mohammad Reza Shah. The incident is described by historian Ervand Abrahamian as "a sea of blood between the shah and the people."
Velayat-e faqih, also known as Islamic Government, is a book by the Iranian Muslim cleric, faqīh, and revolutionary Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, first published in 1970, and probably the most influential document written in modern times in support of theocratic rule.
Sayyid Mojtaba Mir-Lohi, more commonly known as Navvab Safavi, was an Iranian Shia cleric and founder of the Fada'iyan-e Islam group.He played role in assassinations of Abdolhossein Hazhir, Haj Ali Razmara, Hossein Ala' and Ahmad Kasravi. On 22 November, after an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hosein Ala', Navvab Safavi and some of his followers were arrested. On January 1956, Safavi and three other members of Fada'iyan-e Islam were peppered by a trial.
Mahmoud Taleghani was an Iranian theologian, Muslim reformer, democracy advocate and a senior Shi'a cleric of Iran. Taleghani was a contemporary of the Iranian Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and a leader in his own right of the movement against Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. A founding member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, he has been described as a representative of the tendency of many "Shia clerics to blend Shia with Marxist ideals in order to compete with leftist movements for youthful supporters" during the 1960s and 1970s. His "greatest influence" has been said to have been in "his teaching of Quranic exegesis," as many later revolutionaries were his students.
Fadā'iyān-e Islam is a Shiʿite fundamentalist group in Iran with a strong activist political orientation. The group was founded in 1946, and registered as a political party in 1989.
The demonstrations of June 5 and 6, also called the events of June 1963 or the 15 Khordad uprising, were protests in Iran against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after his denouncement of Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Israel. The Shah's regime was taken by surprise by the massive public demonstrations of support, and although these were crushed within days by the police and military, the events established the importance and power of (Shia) religious opposition to the Shah, and Khomeini as a major political and religious leader. Fifteen years later, Khomeini was to lead the Iranian Revolution which overthrew the Shah and his Pahlavi dynasty and established the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This article is a timeline of events relevant to the Islamic Revolution in Iran. For earlier events refer to Pahlavi dynasty and for later ones refer to History of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This article doesn't include the reasons of the events and further information is available in Islamic revolution of Iran.
Khomeinism is the founding ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Impact of the religious and political ideas of the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini include replacing Iran's millennia-old monarchy with theocracy. Khomeini declared Islamic jurists the true holders of not only religious authority but political authority, who must be obeyed as "an expression of obedience to God", and whose rule has "precedence over all secondary ordinances [in Islam] such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage."
Ayatollah Seyed Reza Zanjani was a Shia Iranian cleric who opposed first the autocracy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and then theocracy that was established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his supporters following the Islamic Revolution.
A number of observers, including the Shah, have written of rumours and allegations that the government of the United Kingdom has secretly supported "mullahs" in recent Iranian history, and in particular the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in his successful overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. It is alleged that the 1979 Iranian revolution is a Western response to the Pahlavi's White revolution which was intended to bring benefits to Iran and its people, but was unfavorable to the landlords, clergy and the United States and UK that feared that Iran will become independent, thus hampering their further involvement. Khomeini rejected the charges, claiming it was the Shah who was a Western "agent" who had prevented the establishment of Islamic government in Iran until the revolution.
The Muslim People's Republic Party (MPRP) or Islamic People's Republican Party was a short-lived party associated with Shia Islamic cleric Shariatmadari. It was founded in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution as a "moderate, more liberal counterweight" to the theocratic, Islamist Islamic Republican Party (IRP) of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and disbanded in 1980.
Observers differ on how many people died during the Iranian Revolution. The number of casualties suffered by protesters and revolutionaries at the hands of the Shah's monarchy during the revolution is either close to 60,000, or around 2,000, depending on whether the estimates used are those of Islamic government or from historians in Western countries. The number of protesters and political prisoners killed by the new theocratic republic after the fall of the Shah is estimated by human rights groups to be several thousand.
The consolidation of the Iranian Revolution refers to a turbulent process of Islamic Republic stabilization, following the completion of the revolution. After the Shah of Iran and his regime were overthrown by revolutionaries in February 1979, Iran was in a "revolutionary crisis mode" from this time until 1982 or 1983. Its economy and the apparatus of government collapsed. Military and security forces were in disarray.
The Imperial state of Iran, the government of Iran during the Pahlavi dynasty, lasted from 1925 to 1979. During that time two monarchs — Reza Shah Pahlavi and his son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi — employed secret police, torture, and executions to stifle political dissent. The Pahlavi dynasty has sometimes been described as a "royal dictatorship", or "one man rule". According to one history of the use of torture by the state in Iran, abuse of prisoners varied at times during the Pahlavi reign.
The ideology of the Iranian Revolution has been called a "complex combination" of nationalism, political populism, and Shia Islamic "religious radicalism".
The Iranian revolution expresses itself in the language of Islam, that is to say, as a religious movement with a religious leadership, a religiously formulated critique of the old order, and religiously expressed plans for the new. Muslim revolutionaries look to the birth of Islam as their model, and see themselves as engaged in a struggle against paganism, oppression, and empire.
Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian Shia Muslim religious leader, philosopher, revolutionary and politician. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the Pahlavi monarchy and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. On 1 February 1979 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returned to Iran after 14 years in political exile. Khomeini had been a prominent opponent of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who had fled the country during the events of the Iranian Revolution. Upon his return, he was greeted by crowds of millions, and within 10 days the revolution would be successful. Khomeini's return and the 10 days following are now celebrated in Iran as the Fajr decade.
Ruhollah Khomeini's life in exile refers to days of exile that Ruhollah Khomeini known as the leader of the Iranian revolution, spent in Turkey, Iraq and France from 1964 to 1989. Between August and December 1978, strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile on 16 January 1979, as the last Persian monarch, leaving his duties to a regency council and Shapour Bakhtiar who was an opposition-based prime minister. Ayatollah Khomeini was invited back to Iran by the government,and returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians.