Iranian Revolution - Dr. Charles Best Secondary School

Iranian Revolution
History 12
Ms Leslie
What is Islam?
Islam, the religion based on the
teachings of Mohammed
the most widespread of Asian religions,
Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Spread of Islam
Mohammed born 560
AD in Mecca
Wrote the Koran/Qur’an
based on revelations
from Allah
Religion and way of life
Evangelistic streak
Islam is split
With the murder of the thirst Caliph
(successor to Mohammed), the
prophet’s son-in-law, Ali became the
leader in 656.
He too was assassinated, in 661, and
the Governor of Syria established
himself as leader, instead of Ali’s
Today, 90% of Muslims are Sunni
(those who acknowledge succession
from the Caliph),
10% are Shias (who follow the
descendants of Ali).
Shias form a majority only in Iran, but
there are substantial Shia (or Shi’ite)
minorities in other countries.
More divisions
racial and national
Strong divisions
separate Arabs and
Persians (Iranians)
or Syrians and
Islam in the Modern world
Complicated by decolonialization and
Within many Muslim societies, people
of different social classes seem to live
in different eras; while middle class live
modern lifestyles that are like in
Vancouver, the rural poor live in
conditions that have not changed since
the middle ages.
Western secular values have been
assimilated by well-off city-dwellers,
It is with the poor Islamic fundamentalism is
Islam and Government
Islamic principles guide the national
Islam is a religion that does not
separate belief from actions.
It is not legal for Muslims to charge
interest on loans.
Some Muslim states have chosen to
live under Sharia (Islamic religious)
rather than secular law.
In Saudi Arabia punishments
for crimes remain as they
were in the times of the
prophet Mohammed.
Thieves may have their right
hand cut off for their crime.
Adulterers may be stoned to
In Pakistan, where Sharia Law has
been introduced, a woman who brings
an accusation of rape must have her
claim substantiated by several male
witnesses or she is automatically
considered guilty of adultery.
Iranian revolution
WWII it was occupied by the
UK and USSR due to their
need for oil.
The Shah at the time was
forced to abdicate and his
son, Resa took over.
The UK and USSR left in
Iran became independent in
During the 60’s the Shah reigned.
He leaned towards western thought
and made unpopular reforms which
forced him to rule by decree to
His land reforms, although popular with
the peasants, were seen as un-Islamic
Corrupt and brutal
In 1964 the shah
exiled an out
spoken opponent,
Khomeini, (leader
for the Shiites) to
Paris until his return
in 1979.
Died 1989
Iran in the 1970’s
Seemed to prosper due to oil
became a major political and military
force in the Gulf region as the Shah
spent increasing amounts on
armaments – becoming the ‘policeman’
of the Gulf
with the blessing of the USA.
Lots of foreign workers
Shah was well off, civilians weren’t
99% of country is Muslim - don’t like the
secularization of country.
Religious leaders called for Islamic
Laws = ignored
Shah lost support of Middle Class
By 1975 the Shah
created his secret
police, SAVAK, to
repress the people.
The brutality of
SAVAK alienated
many who sought
wider political
Only one political
party - Rastakhiz
Everyone had to
join and pay dues
Tension with the West
Iranian nationalists resented the Shah’s
apparent willingness to serve American
Resentment of America’s part in the
overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953
and of the monarchy’s debt of gratitude
toward the US remained.
Thus, the Shah and his supporters became
increasingly isolated, facing lots of opposition
1978 - things get ugly
January, religious dissenters were
fired upon in the important
religious city of Qom.
February riots occurred in Tabriz
and small towns.
May the Universities were closed
and protests and strikes in the
Teheran bazaar became
By summer there
was a wave of
violent attacks by
Muslim extremists
on government
property and places
of entertainment.
late 1978, the Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini, became the symbol of
religious opposition to the Shah.
The clerics refused to compromise with
the government, calling for a return to
Islamic principles and an end to
westernization of Iran.
September 8, 100-200 demonstrators
were gunned down by security forces.
Clashes between demonstrators and
police became increasingly violent.
By November the armed forces were
needed to back up the police. Soon the
country was placed under military rule.
The country’s economy was collapsing
as little productive work could be done
in an atmosphere of perpetual strikes
and protests.
The Shah acknowledged
that he was unable to
impose his will on the
country in early 1979, and
makes Shahpur Bakhtiar
the last PM of Iran
Khomeini labels him the
Assassinated in Exile in
Paris in 1991
January 16 the Shah left the country,
after urging the military to remain loyal
to the new regime.
The Shah said he was going on
‘holiday’. He never returned and died in
The first phase of the revolution was
now complete.
Ayatollah Khomeini, made a
triumphant return to Teheran on
February 1.
Khomeini called for the establishment
of an Islamic Republic, but Bakhtiar
tried to hold onto existing constitutional
Soon Bakhtiar was forced out of office,
into hiding and ultimately in to exile
Khomeini withdrew Iran from CENTO
(central treaty organization) and held
the staff of the American embassy
hostage for over a year.
There was a complete lack of cooperation between Army and Air Force.
civilians and Islamic guerillas overran
the major Tehran Army bases = Army
morale completely broke down.
Guerillas and the Muslim militias, now
well armed, controlled the city streets.
March 30-31 referendum decided on the
adoption of an Islamic Republic
resulted in adoption of a new constitution.
A president and representative assembly
were to be elected by universal suffrage, but
they had little power.
A council of guardians, composed of clerics
were to oversee the passage of all
legislation, while final decision making rested
in a Faqih – the leading theologian in the
Khomeini Purges
Hundreds were executed by the
revolutionary authorities.
Revolts broke out in minority areas, with
Turkomen and Kurdish groups (Largely
Suuni) opposing Khomeini’s forces.
Though some prominent clerics were
assassinated and others injured, the Shia
religious authorities increasingly made their
authority felt.
Iran’s new Foreign Policy
anti-American and anti-Soviet.
Supported Shi’ite minorities in Afghanistan,
Iraq, the Gulf States and Lebanon.
Religion rather than political ideology came
to underpin Iranian Foreign policy.
Fortunately for Iran’s largely Sunni
neighbours, Iran’s military might was largely
sapped by the revolution. Its armed forced
were rendered ineffective for offensive
Domestic situation
Many middle class Iranians fled the country
Anti-Khomeini sabotage was also a problem.
The government took over most large
enterprises, starting with private banks, then
insurance companies, and finally, all major
Foreign enterprises withdraw their capital
and their expertise as conditioned worsened.
Newspapers shut down
With the taking of
American hostages by
revolutionary students
after the storming of the
American embassy, the
USA froze Iranian assets
in that country.
Iraq-Iran War
September 1980, seeking to take advantage
of Iran’s weakness, Iraq sent it troops into
Kurdistan and Khuzestan though no
declaration of war was issued.
Iraqis hoped that their attack would
encourage anti-Khomeini forces to rise,
In fact the attack had the opposite result.
Iranians now were united against a common
enemy. Thus began a war that lasted until
the late 1980’s.
Domestically Khomeini and his mullah
successors remained in control and
religious principles continued to form
the basis of society.
Fundamentalism seemed to be widely
accepted by the vast majority of
Effect on Women
forced to observe Islamic dress code,
barred from becoming judges
beaches and sports were sex-segregated
the marriage age for girls was reduced to 13
and married women were barred from
attending regular schools.
Inequality for women in inheritance and other
areas of the civil code remain.
Females caught by revolutionary officials in a
mixed-sex situation can be subject to virginity
Effect on economy
Iran's economy has not thrived since the
Dependence on petroleum exports is still
Per capita income fluctuates with the price of
oil — reportedly falling at one point to 1/4 of
what it was prior to the revolution
Unemployment among Iran's population of
young has steadily risen as job creation has
failed to keep up,
Effect on Religious Freedom
Official Religion is Islam
Recognizes Zoroastrian, Judaism,
All others are persecuted – Baha'i
If you abandon Islam – punishment =
Everyone must obey Islamic law
Social Changes
No drinking
No pre-marital sex
No Western Music or paraphernalia
Gender segregation of schools
Religious plice
Iran now
Current leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Developing nukes
Human rights violations
Holocaust denier
2009 - ‘won’ election =
now there are massive
protests and Iran
seems on the verge of
another revolution

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