In the late 1970’s, tensions in Iran mounted, ending finally in a revolution. The two major parties involved were that of the Shah, or king, of Iran, who wanted a more westernized country, and the fundamentalist party led by a very religious Ayatollah Khomeini. This group did not appreciate the Shah’s liberal ideas. The background, causes, and events of this revolution were discussed in my interview with my informant, my mother, Ladan Bayani, a forty-four-year-old registered nurse born and raised in Tehran, Iran, who lived there during this conflict. Bayani discussed the poor economic conditions, the discontentment amongst the religious people of the country, and the horror of the resulting demonstrations.
Many of the activities that led to the revolution were stimulated by the terrible economic conditions in the country at that time (Stempel 81). As Bayani states, "Although the country was very wealthy because of oil, we had a lot of poor people." By June of 1977, many young working men were forced to pay between 50% and 60% of their salaries on housing (Stempel 81). These economic conditions were due to mishandling of the country’s money: " Most of the money from oil was taken to their (the Shah’s family) personal accounts," says Bayani. The economy, however, was just one of many factors that contributed to the revolution.
In addition to the problems with the economy, there was a conflict over the westernization of Iran. Many highly religious, poor, and uneducated people living in the villages of Tehran were against the westernization of Iran brought on by the Shah. Conversely, at the same time, there were many people who agreed with the Shah’s plans. These religious and secular groups met oppositi...
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In the end, the revolution in Iran did not reach its expectations of bringing the country together and solving the problems it faced. As Bayani puts it, "It went from bad to worse. The economy is so bad, and everything is so expensive…people just hardly make it." Bayani claims that in her trips back home since the revolution, she thinks there is more poverty now then there was then.
The revolution in Iran had no positive outcomes. Many of the things that have been brought by the revolution are negative, such as less freedom for its own citizens, and an economy that is still as weak as it was before. It changed many lives, including my mothers, and it could have been prevented.
Bayani, Ladan. Personal Interview. 25. Nov.2000
Stempel, John. Inside the Iranian Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, November 1987
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