The White Revolution (Persian : انقلاب سفیدEnqelāb-e Sefid) or the Shah and People Revolution (Persian : انقلاب شاه و مردمEnqelāb-e Shāh o Mardom) was a far-reaching series of reforms in Iran launched in 1963 by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and lasted until 1979. He reformed the program which was built especially to weaken those classes that supported the traditional system. It consisted of several elements, including land reform, sale of some state-owned factories to finance this land reform, construction of an expanded road, rail, and air network, a number of dam and irrigation projects, the eradication of diseases such as malaria, the encouragement and support of industrial growth, enfranchisement of women, nationalization of forests and pastures, formation of literacy and health corps for rural isolated areas, and institution of profit sharing schemes for workers in industry. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Shah sought to develop a more independent foreign policy and established working relationships with the Soviet Union and eastern European nations. In subsequent decades, per capita income for Iranians skyrocketed, and oil revenue-fueled an enormous increase in state funding for industrial development projects.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. It is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajik Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of Cyrillic.
Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.
Shah is a title given to the emperors, kings, princes and lords of Iran. It was also adopted by the kings of Shirvan namely the Shirvanshahs. It was also used by Persianate societies such as the rulers and offspring of the Ottoman Empire, Mughal emperors of the Indian Subcontinent, the Bengal Sultanate, as well as in Afghanistan. In Iran the title was continuously used; rather than King in the European sense, each Persian ruler regarded himself as the Shahanshah or Padishah of the Persian Empire.
The Shah advertised the White Revolution as a step towards modernization, but there is little doubt that he also had political motives; the White Revolution (a name attributed to the fact it was bloodless) was a way for him to legitimize the Pahlavi dynasty. Part of the reason for launching the White Revolution was that the Shah hoped to get rid of the landlords' influence and create a new base of support among the peasants and working class. The bulk of the program was aimed at Iran’s peasantry, a class the Shah hoped to gain as an ally to thwart the threat of the increasingly hostile middle class. Thus the White Revolution in Iran represented a new attempt to introduce reform from above and preserve traditional power patterns. Through land reform, the essence of the White Revolution, the Shah hoped to ally himself with the peasantry in the countryside, and hoped to sever their ties with the aristocracy in the city.
In order to legitimize the White Revolution, the Shah called for a national referendum in early 1963 in which 5,598,711 people voted for the reforms, and 4,115 voted against the reforms.What the Shah did not expect was that the White Revolution would lead to new social tensions that helped create many of the problems the Shah had been trying to avoid. Land reform, instead of allying the peasants with the government, produced large numbers of independent farmers and landless laborers who became loose political cannons, with no feeling of loyalty to the Shah. As Ervand Abrahamian pointed out, "The White Revolution had been designed to preempt a Red Revolution. Instead, it paved the way for an Islamic Revolution." Though the White Revolution contributed towards the economic and technological advancement of Iran, the failures of some of the land reform programs and the partial lack of democratic reforms, as well as severe antagonism towards the White Revolution from the clergy and landed elites, would ultimately contribute to the Shah's downfall and the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Ervand Abrahamian is a historian of Middle Eastern and particularly Iranian history.
The October Revolution, officially known in Soviet historiography as the Great October Socialist Revolution and commonly referred to as the October Uprising, the October Coup, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Bolshevik Coup or the Red October, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin that was instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place through an armed insurrection in Petrograd on 7 November 1917.
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime, including substantive political changes moving in a democratic direction. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic political system.
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Mohammad Reza Shah had intended it to be a non-violent regeneration of Iranian society through economic and social reforms, with the ultimate long-term aim of transforming Iran into a global economic and industrial power. The Shah introduced novel economic concepts such as profit-sharing for workers and initiated massive government-financed heavy industry projects, as well as the nationalization of forests and pastureland. Most important, however, were the land reform programs which saw the traditional landed elites of Iran lose much of their influence and power. Nearly 90% of Iranian sharecroppers became landowners as a result.
A reform movement is a type of social movement that aims to bring a social or political system closer to the community's ideal. A reform movement is distinguished from more radical social movements such as revolutionary movements which reject those old ideals in the ideas are often grounded in liberalism, although they may be rooted in socialist or religious concepts. Some rely on personal transformation; others rely on small collectives, such as Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel and the self-sustaining village economy, as a mode of social change. Reactionary movements, which can arise against any of these, attempt to put things back the way they were before any successes the new reform movement(s) enjoyed, or to prevent any such successes.
Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Land reform can, therefore, refer to transfer of ownership from the more powerful to the less powerful, such as from a relatively small number of wealthy owners with extensive land holdings to individual ownership by those who work the land. Such transfers of ownership may be with or without compensation; compensation may vary from token amounts to the full value of the land.
Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range of different situations and types of agreements that have used a form of the system. Some are governed by tradition, and others by law. Legal contract systems such as the Italian mezzadria, the French métayage, the Spanish mediero, the Slavic połowcy,издoльщина or the Islamic system of muqasat, occur widely.
Socially, the platform granted women more rights and poured money into education, especially in the rural areas. A Literacy Corps was established, which allowed young men to fulfill their compulsory military service by working as village literacy teachers.
Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, however learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.
The White Revolution consisted of 19 elements that were introduced over a period of 16 years, with the first 6 introduced in 1962 and put to a national referendum on January 26, 1963.
There was a minor industrial revolution during this period of reform. Port facilities were improved, the Trans-Iranian Railway was expanded, and the main roads connecting Tehran and provincial capitals were asphalted. Many small factories opened up specializing in clothing, food processing, cement, tiles, paper, and home appliances. Larger factories for textiles, machine tools, and car assembly were also opened.Educational institutions also grew after the launching of the White Revolution. Enrollment in kindergarten increased from 13,300 to 221,990, elementary schools from 1,640,000 to 4,080,000, secondary schools from 370,000 to 741,000 and colleges from 24,885 to 145,210. Not only were new schools opening, but they were also instituting new educational policies designed to undercut clerical control over education and religious education. The Literacy Corps also helped raise the literacy rate from 26 to 42 percent. The White Revolution also included certain reforms of women’s rights. Women gained the right to vote, to run for elected office and to serve as lawyers and later judges. The marriageable age for women was also raised to fifteen.
It was true that Iran had made progress with various social programs from the White Revolution, but it was equally true that Iran still had one of the worst infant mortality rates and doctor-patient ratios in the Middle East. It also had one of the lowest percentages of people who were receiving a higher education. For example, 68 percent of the adult population still remained illiterate, and 60 percent of children did not complete primary school.
Land reform, which was the focus of the White Revolution, did what it was intended to do, weaken the nobles and landlords. In their place, though, emerged a new group of commercial farmers, and many previously large landowning families, such as the Pahlavi family, managed to renovate themselves into these commercial farmers.A rapid expansion of small landowners did occur, but the peasantry as a whole did not acquire land. Only roughly half of the rural population received any land, and many of the people who did receive land did not receive enough to sustain themselves. The result of the White Revolution was that the rural population could be separated into three groups: prosperous farmers, small landowners, and village laborers. The first group was the only group to really benefit from the land reforms, and this group consisted of former village headmen, bailiffs, and some former landlords. The second group consisted of sharecroppers who received no more than 10 hectares of land. Most of these people ended up trading their land in for shares in state cooperatives. The last group received no land at all, and survived as farm hands, laborers, or shepherds. Many of them migrated to urban centers for work.
In late 1978, there had been widespread dissatisfaction among Iranian farmers with regards to land reforms which were supposed to empower them. The Shah's reforms overvalued grandiose inefficient industries over agriculture leading to a sense of negligence among the farmers. Mismanagement and corruption resulted in waste of many funds designated for agricultural development. Emigrations to cities resulted in more demand that could be met by production. Even though reforms turned many peasants into land-owners it imposed on them costs such as taxes, purchase of seeds, water and equipment that they were not entitled to when they worked for landowners, while also eliminating services such as health and education that were provided for them by landlords under the traditional system. Influx of agricultural imports from US also reduced the farmers' market share.
In the beginning, the White Revolution received most of its criticism from two main groups: the clergy, and the landlords. The landlords were angry about the land reforms because their land was bought by the government and then sold in smaller plots to the citizenry at a lower price. They also did not appreciate the government undercutting their authority when it came to dealing with peasants or land laborers.
The powerful Shī‘ah clergy were also angered at the reforms that removed much of their traditional powers in the realms of education and family law, as well as lessening their previously strong influence in the rural areas. A "large percentage of the upper echelon of the clergy came from landowning families" deeply affected by the reform and much absentee rent income went directly to the clergy and their institutions. The rents from an estimated 10,000 villages whose rents helped finance the clerical establishment were eligible for redistribution.
The group, or more appropriately, the man who most openly opposed the White Revolution and the Shah himself was Ruhollah Khomeini. Although the clergy in Iran were not happy about many aspects of the White Revolution, such as granting suffrage to women, and the secular local election bill as well as land reforms, the clergy as a whole were not actively protesting. Khomeini, on the other hand, seemed to undergo a serious change of thought from the traditional role and practices of Shi’i clergy, and actively spoke out against the new reforms and the Shah. Khomeini's famous speech at Feyziyeh School in June 1963 spoke out against the Shah's brutality towards student protests, and for the first time, it was a speech attacking the Shah as a person.This speech did lead to Khomeini's exile, but being outside of Iran did not stop Khomeini's protests, nor did it weaken his influence inside Iran.
Khomeini also attacked provisions of the reforms that would allow members of Iran's non-Muslim minority to be elected or appointed to local offices:
I have repeatedly pointed out that the government has evil intentions and is opposed to the ordinances of Islam. ... The Ministry of Justice has made clear its opposition to the ordinances of Islam by various measures like the abolition of the requirement that judges be Muslim and male; henceforth, Jews, Christians, and the enemies of Islam and the Muslims are to decide on affairs concerning the honor and person of the Muslims.
A couple of months later on Ashura, Khomeini gave an angry speech attacking the Shah as a "wretched miserable man"Two days later, on June 5, Khomeini was arrested. This sparked three days of rioting and left several hundred dead. The riots were remembered in speeches and writings as the time when the army "slaughtered no less than 15,000". Khomeini was released from house arrest in April 1964 but sent into exile that November.
What the Shah did not expect was that the White Revolution led to new social tensions that helped create many of the problems the Shah had been trying to avoid. The Shah's reforms more than quadrupled the combined size of the two classes that had posed the most challenges to his monarchy in the past—the intelligentsia and the urban working class. Their resentment towards the Shah also grew since they were now stripped of organizations that had represented them in the past, such as political parties, professional associations, trade unions, and independent newspapers. Land reform, instead of allying the peasants with the government, produced large numbers of independent farmers and landless laborers who became loose political cannons, with no feeling of loyalty to the Shah. Many of the masses felt resentment towards the increasingly corrupt government; their loyalty to the clergy, who were seen as more concerned with the fate of the populace, remained consistent or increased. As Ervand Abrahamian pointed out, The White Revolution had been designed to preempt a Red Revolution. Instead, it paved the way for an Islamic Revolution.
The White Revolution’s economic "trickle-down" strategy also did not work as intended. In theory, oil money funneled to the elite was supposed to be used to create jobs and factories, eventually distributing the money, but instead the wealth tended to get stuck at the top and concentrated in the hands of the very few.
The most important and relevant consequence of the White Revolution and the reforms it brought, was the rising popularity of Ruhollah Khomeini. With the growing perception of government corruption, and the implementation of reforms through the White Revolution, Khomeini grew to be an outspoken political enemy of the Shah. The White Revolution was the catalyst for Khomeini’s change in thought. Once Khomeini, as a respected member of the clergy, started to openly oppose the Shah and call for his overthrow, people of all different professions and economic status began to see him as a figure to rally behind.
Though the White Revolution contributed towards the economic and technological advancement of Iran, the failures of some of the land reform programs and the partial lack of democratic reforms, as well as severe antagonism towards the White Revolution from the clergy and landed elites, would ultimately contribute to the Shah's downfall and the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by 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.
Mohammad Mosaddegh was the 35th prime minister of Iran, holding office from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état orchestrated by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's MI6.
The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution, was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the last 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.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is an Iranian communist party. Formed in 1941, with Soleiman Mohsen Eskandari as its head, it had considerable influence in its early years and played an important role during Mohammad Mosaddegh's campaign to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and his term as prime minister. The crackdown that followed the 1953 coup against Mosaddegh is said to have "destroyed" the party, although a remnant persisted. The party still exists, but has remained much weaker as a result of its banning in Iran and mass arrests by the Islamic Republic in 1982, as well as the executions of political prisoners in 1988.
The Islamic Republican Party formed in mid-1979 to assist the Iranian Revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini establish theocracy in Iran. It was disbanded in May 1987 due to internal conflicts.
Islamic Revolutionary Court is a special system of courts in the Islamic Republic of Iran designed to try those suspected of crimes such as smuggling, blaspheming, inciting violence or trying to overthrow the Islamic government. The court started its work after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
One of the most dramatic changes in government in Iran's history was seen with the 1979 Iranian Revolution where Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown and replaced by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The patriotic monarchy was replaced by an Islamic Republic based on the principle of rule by Islamic jurists,, where clerics serve as head of state and in many powerful governmental roles. A pro-Western, pro-American foreign policy was exchanged for one of "neither east nor west", said to rest on the three "pillars" of mandatory veil (hijab) for women, and opposition to the United States and Israel. A rapidly modernizing capitalist economy was replaced by a populist and Islamic economy and culture.
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.
Sayyid Hassan Arsanjani (1922–1969) was a radical reformer, and as the minister of agriculture in the cabinet of Dr. Ali Amini introduced the program of land reform in Iran. Later on the shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi forced him to resign and credited himself for introducing the land reform through his White Revolution. He was a law graduate who held several positions including publisher of the Darya newspaper, Member of Parliament during the Majlis's fifteenth assembly, political deputy of Qavam al-Saltana and Agricultural Minister in the cabinets of both `Ali Amini and ` Assadolah Alam. His death in suspicious circumstances was attributed to the fact that he had become immensely popular especially among peasants after the land reform, something that was not appreciated by SAVAK, the secret police of the Shah.
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."
Arteshbod Hossein Fardoust was a childhood friend of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and served for ten years as deputy head of SAVAK, the powerful Iranian intelligence agency.
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 and control of Iranian petroleum. 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 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 Persian Constitutional Revolution was a short-lived push for democratic rule in the form of a constitutional monarchy within a highly elitist yet decentralized society under the Qajars. The mounting disgust amidst the clergy, bazaaris, farmers, intellectuals, and other segments of the populace with respect to the Shah(s)’ policies during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century illustrates a classic example of an environment ripe for protest, as a wide array of people in society felt an increasing need to express their grievances with an oppressive and largely autocratic government.
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.
The Iranian Revolution was a nationalist and Islamic revolution that replaced a secular totalitarian monarchy with a religious democracy based on "Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists".
Feyziyya School is an old school in Iran that was founded in the Safavid era. The school has been listed as one of Iran's national monuments as of January 29, 2008. The school served as a focal point for clerical opposition to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi's White Revolution. In 1963 on Ashura, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini delivered a speech at the school denouncing the Shah, and was arrested as a result.
Socialism in Iran or Iranian socialism is a political ideology that traces its beginnings to the 20th century and encompasses various political parties in the country. Iran experienced a short Third World Socialism period at the zenith of the Tudeh Party after the abdication of Reza Shah and his replacement by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. After failing to reach power, this form of third world socialism was replaced by Mosaddegh's populist, non-aligned Iranian nationalism of the National Front party as the main anti-monarchy force in Iran, reaching power (1949–1953), and it remained with that strength even in opposition until the rise of Islamism and the Iranian Revolution. The Tudehs have moved towards basic socialist communism since then.
Ruhollah Khomeini's life in exile refers to the period that Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini spent from 1964 to 1979 in Turkey, Iraq and France, after Mohamed Reza Shah Pahlavi had arrested him twice for dissent from his “White Revolution” announced in 1963. Ayatollah Khomeini was invited back to Iran by the government,and returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians.