The Iranian Revolution

The Iranian Revolution
Iran Today 07 48302 483811A
The Islamic Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran�s monarchy (Pahlavi dynasty) under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution. The first major demonstrations against the Shah began in January, 1978. Between August and December of 1978, strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile in mid-January of 1979, and the resulting power vacuum was filled two weeks later when Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal regime collapsed shortly after that, on February 11, when guerrillas and rebel troops took to armed street fighting and overwhelmed any troops still loyal to the Shah.
Iran voted, by national referendum, to become an Islamic Republic on April 1st, 1979, and later approved a new theocratic constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country in December, 1979.
The revolution was unusual and it created a lot of surprise throughout the world: it lacked many of the customary causes of revolution (defeat at war, a financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or disgruntled military); produced profound change at great speed; was massively popular; overthrew a regime heavily protected by a lavishly financed army and security service; and replaced a modernizing monarchy with a theocracy based on the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists. 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.�

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