The Iranian Islamic Revolution

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The Iranian Islamic Revolution was a political and religious upheaval of the Pahlavi monarchy, having been installed in 1941, to a theocracy built upon the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists; velayate faqih. The dissolution of the monarchy was replaced by an Islamic Republic, guided by an eighty year old religious scholar who had returned from exile after fourteen years. The revolution itself was deemed “impossible until it was inevitable” (Source 52). The reasoning comes from the lack of routine causes for a revolution which include: a military defeat, financial crisis, a rebellion by the peasant class, mounting national debt, and a disgruntled military. In addition the Pahlavi monarchy was supported by a relatively modern army with a force of 400,000 troops and international support. (Source 56) This revolution which took place in 1979 was the result of multiple political mistakes including: a ruthless attempt to “modernize” a nation, increased relations with the United States, the exile of a prominent religious leader, and the use of the secret police, or savak, to control the citizenry by fear. The Pahlavi dynasty was known for its emphasis on modernizing and westernizing Iran with a blatant disregard for religious and democratic procedures outlined in the constitution of Iran. The first ruler of this autocracy was Reza Pahlavi, an army general who in attempts for modernization outlawed traditional Islamic clothing, including the hijab, and instituted western laws in replace of Islamic ones. (Source 11) In no small part to these changes a rebellion began in 1935 by Shia Islam followers. However this rebellion was demolished at the shrine of Imam Reza by the Shah’s forces which killed dozens of people and injured hundreds m... ... middle of paper ... ...ayatollahs imprisoned. Reports of the casualties sustained during the riots vary, a government report estimated civilian causalities at 86 however an Iranian doctor, Dr. A.R. Azimi estimated the number at a staggering 10,000. Subsequently this event saw the exile of Ayatollah Khomeini, he would settle in a Shiite community in southern Iraq and later move to France. Khomeini’s exile and the force used on protesters quelled violence into an unspoken and silent hope to the end of the Shah, with hope glistening in pamphlets and tape recordings sent by Khomeini from his exile. Khomeini’s attacks from Iraq described the Shah as the “King of Kings” and stated that it was the most hated of titles in the eyes of Allah; continuing that “monarchy was shameful, disgraceful, and reactionary.” Even with these attacks though the Shah pressed on with the modernization of Iran.

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