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Have you heard of the Age of Revolution?
The Age of Revolution is said to be the era that lasted from around the late-18th to the mid-or-late 19th centuries. This was the time when most of the revolutionary movements took place and changed the world.
Be it the Industrial Revolution, French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, Serbian Revolution, or Taiping Revolution, all of these, along with many other revolutions, have played an important role in changing the dynamics of a country or more. The Iranian Revolution, or the Islamic Revolution, was also one of such revolutions that uprooted a dictatorship within months of protests and demonstrations. Let's dive deeper and learn some incredible facts about the Iranian revolution, its causes, effects, and much more.
The Iranian Revolution, or the Islamic Revolution, shocked the world as it overthrew Shah's regime, backed by strong foreign powers that even lavishly financed the Iranian military of 400,000 soldiers. The unarmed demonstrators did this in a matter of months. Several causes led to these massive protests and the replacement of the world's oldest empire. Let's learn what the causes were that led to this Iranian revolution.
Some basic causes that fueled the burning fire of unrest among the people of Iran were the defeat at war, peasant rebellion, massive national debt, poor economy, and disgruntled military.
Other than the causes mentioned above, the major problems came from the political mistakes and policies of the Shah. The first cause was a strong policy of Westernization of Shah and his close relations with the western major cities and countries like the United States, despite the concluding clash with Iran's Shia Muslim identity. Shah obtained his original installation by using Allied Powers from strong people from other government buildings and assistance from armed forces like the CIA to restore his throne in 1953. Nationalistic people from Iran, both religious and secular, considered Shah as the puppet of the West as he took a lot of guidance and assistance from the United States military advisers and technicians.
In 1976, Shah changed the Islamic calendar to an Imperial calendar which exemplified his disregard for Islamic tradition. Shah changed the first day of the migration of the great Prophet Muhammad from the religious Mecca to Medina to the beginning of the reign of Cyrus the Great. This changed the year from 1355 to 2535 overnight.
People called out that elitism, corruption, and extravagance were the policies of Shah and his Royal Court. Due to his behavior and leading style, Shah failed to cultivate followers and supporters among the Shi'a religious community from the middle east to fight and counter the campaign of Khomeini.
Shah focused on government surveillance and repression of the People's Mujahedin of Iran, which was a communist Tudeh Party of Iran, along with some other leftist parties and groups. This made the Islamist opposition more organized, and hence it eventually undermined Shah's regime.
Shah also showed various authoritarian tendencies which violated the Iran Constitution of 1906. The authoritarian tendencies included repression of dissent by using various security services like SAVAK, which was followed by the appearance and appeasement of Shah's weaknesses as the Iran revolution gained momentum. Alexis de Tocqueville's quote of when people have been under the rule of an oppressive supreme leader find the government relaxing its pressure, people suddenly take up arms against the leader and his government applies here.
The next cause was his over-ambitious 1974 economic program in which Shah tended to meet his expectations with the Iranian oil revenue windfall. This ambitious economic program certainly failed and caused unrest among oil workers. People, not only oil workers but the ones who depended on oil, also fell into poverty. Things that angered both the bazaars and the other masses were the shortages, bottlenecks, and inflation, which were followed by attacks on alleged price gougers, austerity measures, and black markets. Shah was overconfident and neglected the power of the opposition and the people of Iran.
Ayatollah Khomeini, who was a charming and confident opposition leader, had the ability to perfectly grip peoples' imaginations by portraying himself as the follower of the great Shia Imam ibn Ali who worked against Shah. Khomeini managed to portray Shah as the hated tyrant Yazid I. Ayatollah Khomeini also won the support of liberals and leftists to overthrow the power of Shah and convinced the people of Iran that the security of Shah was much more brutal than it was shown. Hence, they needed to revolt against Shah.
External factors and countries like the United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union were also interested and involved in the politics of Iran for its oil industry and geographically important location. Shah was inclined towards the support of US military forces to get assistance in making the armed forces of Iran stronger. Soviet Union supported the Tudeh Party and the CCFTU. However, around the '50s, the US government was fed up with the huge amount of corruption in the higher levels of Iran's government and hence wished for it to be liberalized. Shah came under pressure from the Kennedy administration and chose the Ali Amini group, which was not that popular, to run the government in 1961. Ali Amini group had full US support and a clear reform program. The Prime minister of the Ali Amini group was Amini. Prime minister Amini's agenda, was to limit the power of Shah. As the Prime minister of Iran, Amini also wanted to stabilize the economy, broadcast land reform, and reduce corruption. Despite having reformative ideas, Prime minister Amini did not gain support from the people, primarily due to his controversial Consortium agreement of 1954 (re-privatizing the Iranian oil). Eventually, Amini resigned, and Shah had no other option but to consolidate the power of the monarchy. And he became the new Prime minister soon and established his dictatorship again.
The US government once again pressurized Shah for human rights violations and mistreatment of political prisoners. Many such causes led to the Iranian revolution.
Revolutions all across the world sometimes lead to a brighter future for the nations, or sometimes they do not. Generally, people who are often suppressed under the governance of a ruler who does not care about the public usually fight against the ruler, hoping that their nation would be a better place to live in after their revolts. The revolts sometimes may even lead to world war. Let's see the aftermath of the Iranian revolution.
Ayatollah Khomeini achieved overwhelming support from the national referendum, and hence on April 1, he declared the country of Iran to be the Islamic Republic. Many people from the clergy promptly moved from their former left-wing, nationalist, and intellectual allies to the new regime that entered Iran. Conservative social values were enforced soon after the revolution. The Family Protection Act, which was first amended in 1967 and significantly amended in 1975, which provided and guaranteed the rights to women in marriage, was called out as void by the mosque-based revolutionary bands or committees, also known as komītehs. These komītehs started patrolling the streets of Iran and enforced an Islamic dress code and behavior code for all.
Majlis, or the National Consultative Assembly, parliament was established after the revolution. The first constitution of Iran was also approved. Even though the constitutional revolution weakened the Qajar regime, it did not provide a powerful alternative government. Various militias and clerics tried their best to suppress Western cultural influence. As a result, the West-educated elite faced persecution and violence and fled the country. The manifestation of anti-western sentiment was done in November 1979 when around 66 hostages were held at the US embassy by Iranian protesters who demanded the extradition of the Shah, who was back then undergoing medical treatment in the United States of America. This is also called the Iran hostage crisis. Through this crisis, the supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini claimed to be anti-imperialist as they were the political left. Thus, giving them the ultimate power to suppress their regime's left-wing and moderate opponents.
After World War II, many countries, including some superpowers, were left in ruins. One United States and The Soviet Union rose as superpowers and became the absolute dominators of the whole world. The United States wished to promote capitalism, and the Soviet Union sought to promote communism throughout the world. This increased rivalry between the two nations, and these nations started dominating smaller middle-eastern nations. Even though both the nations struggled to fix their dominance in most of the middle-eastern countries, the United States was able to make a strong ally which was Iran, thanks to the Shah government until 1979. Let us see that were some of the facts about Shah's rule in Iran.
The Shah or Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi governed Iran from 1953 through 1979. He was a leader of secular and authoritarian thoughts. He rose to power in Iran after his father from the Pahlavi dynasty was forced to step down. During his rule, Shah maintained good relations with the United States government, and his relationship with the US flourished over time.
Shah's government increasingly grew more and more pro-westernized. He believed in making Iran more modernized and wanted to burnish the image of Iran the world had back then. However, as Shah's regime grew closer to the modern culture and western countries like the United States, his own people started displeasing him and did not like his thinking. In 1978, many protests and demonstrations began happening all across the country against Shah's rule. In the following year, 1979, the same protests and demonstrations grew increasingly more violent and powerful and also increased in frequency. During Shah's rule, he lacked the emphasis on religious values in the process of modernization of his country. This was the main concern of the protestors and demonstrators. Many people claimed that Shah's priority was not Iran and its culture but his priority was pleasing another country, the US.
What was the leading cause of the Iranian revolution?
Among most of the causes that piled up and led to the Iranian revolution, discontent among the peoples' hearts with the Shah's regime and the exile of Ruhollah Khomeini were the leading causes of the Iranian revolution.
When did the Iranian Revolution start?
Iranian Revolution began on January 7, 1978.
How many Iranians died in the Iranian revolution?
Spencer C. Tucker, a military historian, estimated that 8,000 to 9,500 Iranians were executed, about 15,000 people from Iran were tried, and anywhere between 25,000 to 40,000 arrests of Iranians were made from 1980 to 1985.
What groups were involved in the Iranian revolution?
Many guerrilla groups and parties were involved in the Iranian revolution. Some supported the theocratic Islamic Republic movement and hence were a part of Ayatollah Khomeini's network, whereas some groups exist even today but were created after the Pahlavi Dynasty fell. The following are some of the Khomeinist revolutionary groups: Revolutionary Council, The Provisional Revolutionary Government, Islamic Republic Party, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Basij, Hezbollah, Jihad of Construction, and many more. Some groups or post-revolutionary forces formed after the revolution were Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line and Ansar-e Hizbullah.
What religion was followed in Iran before the revolution?
Before the Muslim Arab invasion and the revolution in Iran, Zoroastrianism was the main religion practiced by many Iranians.
What were the two outcomes of the Islamic Revolution?
The two outcomes of the Islamic Revolution consisted of the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty and the second was of an Islamic republic (Islamic Government).
Who was the leader of Iran before the revolution?
A: Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi from the Pahlavi dynasty was the leader of Iran before the revolution.
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