Islamic Rev. marks end of Western domination over Iran

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TEHRAN – The 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran occurred under the leadership of Imam Khomeini against internal tyranny and foreign domination and brought Iranians independence, freedom, and movement to create a new Islamic civilization.

The Islamic Revolution of Iran was a popular uprising in the Muslim-majority country of Iran in 1978–79 that resulted in the toppling of the authoritarian government led by the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, on February 11, 1979. Islamist revolutionaries opposed the western secular policies of the Shah which led to the establishment of an Islamic republic after the revolution under the Leadership of Imam Khomeini.

Political History

The 1979 revolution, which brought together Iranians across many different social groups, has its roots in Iran’s long history. These groups, which included clergy, landowners, intellectuals, and merchants, had previously come together in the Constitutional Revolution of 1905–11. Efforts toward satisfactory reform were continually stifled, however, amid reemerging social tensions as well as foreign intervention.

1953 Iranian coup d’état

In 1953, amid a power struggle between Mohammed Reza Shah and Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) orchestrated a coup against Mosaddegh’s government.

After the coup d’état, Pahlavi aligned Iran with the Western Bloc and cultivated a close relationship with the United States to consolidate his power as an authoritarian ruler.

Islamic Rev. marks end of Western domination over Iran

White Revolution

Mohammad Reza Shah dismissed the parliament and launched the White Revolution in 1963 which led to rapid urbanization and Westernization, and prompted concerns over democracy and human rights. The program was economically successful, but the benefits were not distributed evenly, though the transformative effects on social norms and institutions were widely felt.

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 as they were now stripped of organizations that had represented them in the past, such as political parties, professional associations, trade unions, and independent newspapers.

Islamic Rev. marks end of Western domination over Iran


Rise of Imam Khomeini, Arresting and Exiling by Pahlavi Regime

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic 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”.

Imam Khomeini was arrested in 1963 after declaring the Shah a “wretched miserable man” who had “embarked on the [path toward] destruction of Islam in Iran.” Three days of major riots throughout Iran followed, with 15,000 dead from police fire as reported by opposition sources.

Imam Khomeini was released after eight months of house arrest and continued his agitation, condemning Iran’s close cooperation with Israel and its capitulations, or extension of diplomatic immunity, to American government personnel in Iran.

In November 1964, he was re-arrested and sent into exile where he remained for 15 years (mostly in Najaf, Iraq), until the Revolution.

During his exile, Imam Khomeini coordinated this upsurge of opposition—first from Iraq and after 1978 from France—demanding the shah’s abdication.

A period of “disaffected calm” followed during this decade. Despite political repression, the budding Islamic revival began to undermine the concept that ‘Westernization equals progress’ — this had served as the basis of the Shah’s secular regime. Imam Khomeini preached that revolt, and especially martyrdom, against injustice and tyranny was part of Islam, and that Muslims should reject the influence of both capitalism and communism with the slogan “Neither East nor West – Islamic Republic!”

Islamic Rev. marks end of Western domination over Iran

Cinema Rex fire in 1978

In August 1978, the deaths of between 377 and 470 people in the Cinema Rex fire orchestrated by Pahlavi’s SAVAK came to catalyze a popular revolutionary movement across all of Iran, and large-scale strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the entire country for the remainder of that year.

Shah flees, Imam Khomeini returns to Iran

In January 1979, in what was officially described as a “vacation,” the shah and his family fled Iran. Crowds of over one million demonstrated in Tehran, proving the wide appeal of Imam Khomeini, who arrived in Iran amid wild rejoicing on February 1. Ruhollah Khomeini’s return to Iran on 1 February 1979, after 14 years in exile, was an important event in the Iranian Revolution. It led to the collapse of the provisional government of Shapour Bakhtiar and the final overthrow of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, on 11 February 1979.

Upon his return, he was greeted by crowds of millions, and within 10 days the Revolution would be successful.

Islamic Rev. marks end of Western domination over Iran


Victory of Revolution

The Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979 was caused by the participation of different groups of people. The Pahlavi dynasty officially ended and finally, conditions were prepared to form the Islamic Republic led by the cleric, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Islamic thoughts and characters had a significant role in the anti-monarchic revolution and Imam Khomeini called it a revolution.

On 11 February 1979, after the victory of the Iranian Revolution, hundreds of military personnel and policemen marched toward Azadi Tower.

One of their demands was a lack of dependence on the United States and the Soviet Union as dominant powers of that time.

Islamic Republic referendum

A referendum on creating an Islamic Republic was held in Iran on 30 and 31 March 1979 in which 98% of Iranian voters approved the country’s shift to an Islamic republic, the new government began efforts to draft the present-day Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On April 1, 1979, the 2,500-year-old Persian Empire in Iran came to an end, with Ayatollah Khomeini declaring it as the first day of a “Government of God.” He emphasized the need to ratify a new Constitution.

Islamic Rev. marks end of Western domination over Iran

Fajr decade

The 45th anniversary of the Ten-Day Fajr ( Dawn) celebrations marks the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

Every year, the anniversary marks the date of the return of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, after several years in exile and the end of the US-backed Pahlavi regime in 1979 with the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and it is celebrated from February 1 to 11 (Ten-day Fajr).

Islamic Rev. marks end of Western domination over Iran


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