Document

Report
Iran:
A Case Study
Focusing on the
1979 Revolution
Prepared by Rolando Duarte and Chris Cain
1
Colonial Legacy
Although the nation of Iran, with its Persian roots,
was not a western colonial creation and remained,
in name, independent during the colonial era, it
still was greatly influenced by the colonial powers
in the area who intervened to protect their political
and economic interests.
The U.S. restoration of the Pahlavi family to
power in 1953, for example, can be seen as an
example of a reassertion of colonialism.
2
The Revolution
Began as a
popular
democracy
movement
Ended with the
establishment of
the world's first
Islamic state
3
The Shah
Shah Reza Pahlavi and
a circle of his relatives
and friends ruled Iran.
Gap between rich and
poor increased in 1970s
Dissent arose in
response to economic
problems and to Shah’s
autocratic style
4
Opposition to the Shah
Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini—shia cleric in
exile in Paris
Long the bravest and most
outspoken opposition
voice to the Shah
The Ayatollah promised
economic reform and a
return to traditional
religious values
Appealed to many in Iran
5
Unrest
In the late 1970s,
numerous large and
violent protests
occurred
General strikes
added to the
instability
6
The Departure of the Shah
January 1979-Shah
leaves Tehran for an
“extended vacation,”
never to return.
Khomeini supporters
tear down his statues
throughout Iran
7
The Shah’s Regent
Prime Minister
Shahpur Bakhtiar
appointed by shah to
run the country
Bakhtiar tries to resist
growing opposition
and refuses to allow
Ayatollah Khomeini
to form a new
government
8
Khomeini Returns From Exile
Ayatollah Khomeini
returns on Feb. 1,
1979
Instability increases
Street battles break out
between Khomeini
demonstrators, police,
security forces, and
the Shah’s supporters
9
The Revolution
Feb. 11, 1979, tanks
move through Tehran
Rumors of a military
coup flew, but army did
not make its move.
Revolutionaries broke
into the leading radio
station of Tehran and
broadcast “This is the
voice of the revolution
of the Iranian people!”
10
Revolutionary Era Begins
Bakhtiar resigns.
Ayatollah Khomeini
wins national
referendum by a
landslide
Khomeini declares Iran
an Islamic republic
Khomeini appointed
Iran’s political and
religious leader for life
11
Conclusion: Islam and Nationalism
The Iranian Revolution provides an
excellent example of the tensions between
secular nationalism and the ideals of
political Islam.
The Shah had numerous opponents: clerics,
democracy activists, the poor, and
traditionalists who resented his secular
reforms.
The Shah’s close ties with and support by
the U.S. allowed the clerics to articulate
opposition to him as an anticolonial jihad.
12
Sources
Beeman, Willliam O. The Revolution of 1979, pp. 232-236 in The
Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World.
BBC News. The Iranian Revolution in Pictures. Retrieved from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/04/middle_east_the_iran
ian_revolution/html/1.stm on May 8, 2006. (Slides 3-11 are based on
this source).
Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook: Iran. Retrieved from
www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ir.html on May 8, 2006.
(Map on slide 1)
Nasr, S. V. R. European Colonialism and the Emergence of Modern
Muslim States. 549-599 in Oxford History of Islam, J. Esposito (ed.).
Rischer, Michael M.J. Iran: From Religious Dispute to revolution.
Bazargan, Mehsi. Religion and Liberty in Kurzman, ed. Liberal Islam,
73-84.
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