IRANIAN REVOLUTION

The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution, was a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was supported by the United States, 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 Shah has replaced the throne from his father who had fallen from the throne while the British and Soviets were occupying Iran in World War II.There was a thought that he will approach the citizen’s wishes more moderately. However, Shah was closer to westerners. The monarchy was brought to the country by the British and the power was given to the Shah. The country's most important source of wealth was oil and it was in the hands of the British. The oil extraction rights were given to the British for very little of their true value. Iranians working in oil wells were in bad condition but the British were in wealth. The buses carrying Iranian citizens and buses carrying the British were different. There was even a sign that “dogs and Iranians could not enter “ on a famous club’s entrance in the city. Iranian people were treated as second class citizens in their own country.In 1951 Mohammed Mossadegh became a Prime minister and rapidly attempted nationalization of the British oil facilities. However, he was overthrown by a CIA-organized coup and announced as a traitor in 1953. As result of this, British economic and political dominance was replaced by US American one. When the Shah started to establish close relations with the west, the opposition of America started to increase by the citizens. Shah announced the comprehensive modernization program in 1963. The so-called white revolution program included land-sharing and women were given the right to vote for the first time. Shah was a Western fan throughout his life and he was trying to impose Western ideas on Iran. Land reform turned a feudal economy into a capitalist modern economy. However, these reforms were not well received by everyone. These reforms had reduced the power of clergy and landowners. In particular, a religious leader was extremely important, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini thought that the white revolution riveted the foreigners in Iran and was against their Shiite traditions and said that the only thing that was white in this revolution was the White House effect ( He was referring to America).The Shah was given some regional rights to American army officers in 1963, and this situation was not welcomed among the citizens. Khomeini regarded this as surrendering to western imperialism. Khomeini's criticism of reforms and Shah was harsh and uncompromising. The reaction of the Shah was also the same. Khomeini was arrested in the holy city of Kum, which he used as a base for his protests. Khomeini's arrest led the people to protest even more violently, and Shah sent Khomeini into exile to Iraq.There was a period of relative prosperity in Iran, during the period of Khomeini's exile because Shah continued the modernization program at full speed. The good management process started between 1963-1973. In addition, the economy was fine and inflation was kept low. The special police force that Shah established with the help of CIA and MOSAT made very harsh and brutal interventions and the people started to see Shah as a dictator. However, Shah thought that the rapid development of the economy would leave political events behind. Shah spent only $ 16 billion in 1974, developing his infrastructure systems and army. The Shah played an active role in OPEC to meet this budget and asked for oil prices to rise. The Shah's attitude caused him to open up with his American supporters. Shah, who collapsed the economy of the western countries by making a 14% increase in the price of oil in 1974, though it was in the interest of Iran. This situation caused the 1973 OPEC Crisis in the world. This affected all the world and we can see this crisis as an international effect of the revelation. Although Khomeini was in exile in Iraq, the opposition of Khomeini against Shah and Shah’s foreign allies was reaching all over Iran, and protests began on the streets in a short time. Everyone in Iran began to break with the Shah. By the mid-70s, the Shah's reform program began to exceed oil revenues, and the Iranian economy collapsed in 1977. The citizens held the Shah responsible for the high unemployment rate and rising inflation and began to get angry with him. The reason for Shah's failure was actually his success. The Shah created a new middle class in the rising economy and convinced the citizens that they would lead better lives than Germany and Japan. Expectations increased day by day, but could not meet this expectation. Also, Shah got cancer and when he was distracted by his cancer illness, he could not react efficiently to the revolutionary movement. Shah concentrated all the power in himself but he missed the fact that if something goes wrong with him, there was no body to take his place and save the regime. After the messages of Khomeini started to be published in the mosques, everyone was aware of what he said. People began to see Khomeini as the only alternative to the monarchy. 400 people of Khomeini’s supporters died in a fire in a movie theater in 1978 (the doors were locked so no one could go out). This incident was completely attributed to the state, the Shah. This incident caused thousands of protesters to hit the streets. The Shah declared strict rule, and because of the novice soldiers, many conflicts broke out between protesters and soldiers, and many people died. In the protests, slogans were shouted as “Shah should go”, but this changed as “Shah must die”. The revolution made the Shah miserable. The Shah's photographs were burned on the streets. Also the USA withdrew full support for the Shah in this critical stage. Finally, the Shah fled the country on January 16, 1979, and the Iranian monarchy, which lasted 2500 years, ended. Revolutionaries did not just consist of Khomeini's supporters but of a wide range of groups including liberals and communists. It was during the post-revolutionary power struggles between radicals and moderates that the radicals under Khomeini won out. Khomeini, who has been in exile for 16 years, can now return to the country. The followers of the Shah were either imprisoned or sentenced to death. Khomeini commissioned a prosecutor for the implementation of Islamic law which is Sharia, and ministers, officers and secret service members working for the former government were executed after a secret court. Some people were starting to think that the revolution had gone astray because nationalists favored open courts, but all clergymen advocated that these were fair trials. After the Shah's supporters were eliminated and the neutrality of the army was declared, the Islamic Republic of Iran was established on April 1, 1979. Everything that was reminiscent of the west and belongs to the west was destroyed, and the Shah regime ended forever.

After the revolution, In 1980, the war started between Iraq and Iran. Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic was formed under Khomeini's rule. The Islamic Republic had many parts and branches like the U.S. government, however, Khomeini was the "supreme leader" and had control over who the candidates would be, the laws, and the economy. The U.S. Embassy in Iran was taken over by a group of Muslim students and 52 U.S. diplomats and citizens were taken hostage on November 4, 1979. This event came to be known as the Iran Hostage Crisis. The crisis proved to be the longest hostage event in history. It proved that Iran did not like U.S. presence in the oil fields. The USA lost one of its major allies in the Middle East. Also after the revolution, the war started between Iraq and Iran in 1980 and it took 8 years until the ceasefire in 1988. Iran has been subjected not only to wars but also sanctions and international isolation since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution. Only China and Russia remained allies of Iran. Women lost almost all their rights and they were forced to wear hijab. Khomeini died on June 3, 1989, but the Islamic Revolution still exists.

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