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Iranian Revolution (1979)

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Michael Swingle

on 28 February 2014

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Transcript of Iranian Revolution (1979)

The Shah used oil wealth to redistribute land to peasants and he gave new rights to women.
The Islamic Clergy declared their opposition, so the Shah used the Savak (his secret police) to terrorize the critics.
Ayatollah Khomeini accused the Shah of being influenced by Western countries and violating Islamic law.
The people protested and ousted the Shah.
They replaced the government with a theocracy and ran the country on Islamic law.
What Happened?
Background on the Revolution
The Islamic Clergy and People of Iran
Different From Other Revolutions
Not one big reason, but many small ones
Mild inflation caused people to blame the already unpopular Shah

The government was rather oppressive, and the Shah used the Savak (the secret police) to violently keep order

Plans made in 1973 for oil did not work out well and did not boost economy as much as had been hoped
Why Did It Happen?
Ayatollah Khomeini:
Main leader against the Shah, founder of the Islamic Republic

Mohammad Reza Shah:
Western-backed Shah, left Iran January 16, 1979
Who Was Involved?
When Did Major Events Occur?
Most of the protests were in the capital city of Tehran, Iran because it is the political center of Iran, and it is where the Shah lived.
Where Did Major Events Occur?
The limited monarchy in Iran gave little power to the people.
"In addition to the violations already referred to there is little respect demonstrated for human rights in many other areas of Iranian life. Freedom of speech and association are non-existent. The press is strictly censored and has been dramatically curtailed in recent years since the shah decreed that every newspaper with a circulation of less than 3,000 and periodicals with a circulation of less than 5,000 should be shut down." (Amnesty International).
In 1979 the new country held 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
This happened because the U.S. sheltered the Shah for medical help when they found out he had cancer.
The Hostage Crisis
-Pretty much the entire country wanted the Shah out and Khomeini and his old Islamic traditions to return.
"Under the gaze of their spiritual advisers, Iranians voted overwhelmingly if not exactly secretly in favor of an Islamic republic on March 30th and 31st. Ayatollah Khomeini has got the rubber-stamp he wanted for the new regime he intends to put in place of the Shah's.'' (The Economist)
The Vote
The Iranian people would rather have gone to the old regime of a theocracy than continue with the Shah.
"On April 1, after a landslide victory in a national referendum in which only one choice was offered (Islamic Republic: Yes or No), Ayatollah Khomeini declared an Islamic republic with a new Constitution reflecting his ideals of Islamic government."-
History of Iran
The New Republic
-The Islamic Clergy leaders condemned the Shah's Western influence. This made the majority of the population angry and wanted to return to Islamic tradition.
"The Muslim Clergy and their supporters saw all upper-middle and middle-class women who were unveiled, nontraditional, and progressive as being obsessed with Western fads and fashions and referred to them as "Westoxicated".-
From the Shahs to Los Angeles:

Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women
(p. 59)
The People of Iran
-The people of Iran railed around the Clergy, who helped get rid of the Westernized ideas the Shah brought with him, even after he was ousted.
"Created in February 1979 by clergy who had been students of Khomeini before his exile from the country , the IRP (Islamic Republic Party) emerged as the country's dominant political force. All (core members) had been active in mobilizing large crowds for the mass demonstrations during the Revolution. The IRP leaders perceived the secular, leftist, and more liberal Islamic parties as threats to their own political goals. As early as the summer of 1979, the IRP encouraged its supporters to attack political rallies and offices of these other parties."
-Iran: Chapter 4B. The Reign of Terror
Clergy Leads Revolt
-The opposition was backed by the Islamic Clergy who provided the base of the new republic.
"Khomeini believed that the long-term success of such an ideal Islamic government was dependent on the commitment and involvement of the masses. He envisaged the clergy as responsible for providing religious guidance, based on their
expertise in Islamic law, to the people as they worked to create a new society
in which religion and politics were fused."
-Iran: Chapter 4B. The Reign of Terror
Clergy Sets New Standards
At the time of the first protests it was unclear who wanted what from a change in government
Although the protestors could not think of what would happen next, they all knew one thing: They wanted to oust the Shah
There were many different political parties, and they all wanted different things with a new government, but they all agreed: Anything was better than a government with the Shah
Very Single-Minded
The Shah was supported and put into power by Western governments
The revolution was supported by almost 90% of the population
1/5 of the population demonstrated against the Shah on Eid-e-Fitr in response to Ayatollah Khomeini
The Shah did not rule on religious principles: "Those who issue the call to Islam have understood their religious obligation ahead [in time] of their Muslim brothers" (Ayatollah al-Sadr)
Wanted Anti-Western Government
All in all the people of Iran got what they wanted:

They ousted the Shah
They got rid of a Western-style government
They replaced it with an Islamic Republic

Mostly everyone was happy with all the new changes and almost surprised that they had won.
They Got What They Wanted
Iranian Revolution of 1979
By: Michael Swingle, Maeve Cantwell, and James Bardo

Research Question and Thesis
Did the 1979 Iranian Revolution succeed in its goal of restoring old conservative values?
The 1979 Iranian Revolution was highly successful because it was supported by the majority, who wanted a return to old Islamic tradition.
Who Was Involved?
Failed Democracy
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