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Date:January 1978 - April 1, 1979 ...(Show more)Location:Iran...(Show more)Key People:Ruhollah KhomeiniMohammad Reza shah Pahlavi...(Show more)

Iranian Revolution, also called Islamic Revolution, Persian Enqelāb-e Eslāmī, renowned uprising in Iran in 1978–79 that resulted in the toppling the the monarchy top top February 11, 1979, and also led come the establishment of one Islamic republic.

Prelude come revolution

The 1979 revolution, which carried together Iranians across many different social groups, has its roots in Iran’s long history. This groups, which included clergy, landowners, intellectuals, and also merchants, had previously come with each other in the Constitutional revolution of 1905–11. Efforts toward satisfactory reform to be continually stifled, however, between reemerging social tensions and also foreign treatment from Russia, the unified Kingdom, and, later, the united States. The united Kingdom helped Reza shah Pahlavi create a monarchy in 1921. Together with Russia, the U.K. Then driven Reza Shah right into exile in 1941, and his boy Mohammad Reza Pahlavi took the throne. In 1953, between a power struggle in between Mohammed Reza Shah and also Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, the U.S. Main Intelligence firm (CIA) and the U.K. Secret Intelligence organization (MI6) orchestrated a coup versus Mosaddegh’s government.


Years later, Mohammad Reza shaman dismissed the parliament and also launched the White Revolution—an wild modernization regimen that upended the wealth and influence of landowners and also clerics, disrupted landscape economies, resulted in rapid urbanization and Westernization, and also prompted comes to over democracy and also human rights. The regimen was financially successful, however the benefits were not distributed evenly, despite the transformative impacts on social norms and also institutions were commonly felt. Opposition to the shah’s plans was accentuated in the 1970s, when human being monetary instability and also fluctuations in western oil intake seriously threatened the country’s economy, still command in big part toward high-cost projects and programs. A te of extraordinary economic growth, heavy government spending, and a eight in oil prices brought about high prices of inflation and also the stagnation of Iranians’ purchase power and standard of living.

In addition to mounting economic difficulties, sociopolitical repression by the shah’s regime enhanced in the 1970s. Outlets because that political participation to be minimal, and also opposition next such as the nationwide Front (a loosened coalition that nationalists, clerics, and noncommunist left-wing parties) and the pro-Soviet Tūdeh (“Masses”) Party were marginalized or outlawed. Social and also political protest was regularly met v censorship, surveillance, or harassment, and illegal detention and torture to be common.

For the an initial time in much more than fifty percent a century, the secular intellectuals—many that whom to be fascinated by the populist very nice one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a former professor of viewpoint in Qom who had actually been exiled in 1964 after ~ speaking out harshly against the shah’s current reform program—abandoned their aim of reduce the authority and power of the Shiʿi ulama (religious scholars) and also argued that, through the aid of the ulama, the shah can be overthrown.

In this environment, members of the national Front, the Tūdeh Party, and their assorted splinter teams now joined the ulama in vast opposition come the shah’s regime. Khomeini continued to preach in exile about the evils of the Pahlavi regime, accusing the shah of irreligion and subservience to foreign powers. Thousands of tapes and print duplicates of Khomeini’s speeches to be smuggled back into Iran during the 1970s as an increasing number of unemployed and working-poor Iranians—mostly brand-new migrants from the countryside, that were disenchanted through the social vacuum of modern-day urban Iran—turned to the ulama for guidance. The shah’s dependence on the unified States, his close ties with Israel—then engaged in prolonged hostilities through the overwhelmingly Muslim Arab states—and his regime’s ill-considered financial policies offered to fuel the potency of dissident rhetoric v the masses.

Outwardly, v a swiftly widening economy and a promptly modernizing infrastructure, whatever was going fine in Iran. Yet in little more than a generation, Iran had readjusted from a traditional, conservative, and also rural culture to one that was industrial, modern, and urban. The sense that in both farming and industry too much had been attempted also soon and also that the government, either v corruption or incompetence, had actually failed to deliver all that was promised was shown up in demonstrations against the regime in 1978.


In January 1978, incensed through what they taken into consideration to it is in slanderous remarks made versus Khomeini in Eṭṭelāʿāt, a Tehrān newspaper, thousands of young madrasah (religious school) students required to the streets. Lock were adhered to by thousands much more Iranian youth—mostly unemployed current immigrants from the countryside—who began protesting the regime’s excesses. The shah, dilute by cancer and stunned by the suddenly outpouring of hostility versus him, vacillated in between concession and repression, suspect the protests come be component of an international conspiracy against him. Many world were eliminated by government forces in anti-regime protests, serving only to fuel the violence in a Shiʿi nation where martyrdom play a an essential role in spiritual expression. Fatalities were adhered to by demonstrations come commemorate the customary 40-day milestone of mourning in Shiʿi tradition, and also further casualties developed at those protests, mortality and also protest propelling one another forward. Thus, regardless of all government efforts, a cycle of violence started in i beg your pardon each death fueled further protest, and also all protest—from the secular left and religious right—was subsumed under the coat of Shiʿi Islam and also crowned by the revolutionary rallying cry Allāhu akbar (“God is great”), which might be heard at protests and also which issued native the rooftops in the evenings.

The violence and also disorder continued to escalate. ~ above September 8 the regime imposed martial law, and also troops opened up fire against demonstrators in Tehrān, killing dozens or hundreds. Main later, government workers started to strike. Top top October 31, oil workers likewise went top top strike, happen the oil industry to a halt. Demonstrations ongoing to grow; top top December 10, numerous thousands that protesters took to the roadways in Tehrān alone.

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During his exile, Khomeini coordinated this upsurge that opposition—first indigenous Iraq and after 1978 from France—demanding the shah’s abdication. In January 1979, in what was officially described as a “vacation,” the shah and also his family fled Iran. The Regency Council created to operation the nation during the shah’s lack proved unable to function, and Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar, hastily appointed by the shah prior to his departure, to be incapable of effecting compromise with either his former National Front colleagues or Khomeini. Crowds in overabundance of one million demonstrated in Tehrān, proving the vast appeal of Khomeini, who arrived in Iran amid wild rejoicing top top February 1. Ten days later, ~ above February 11, Iran’s equipped forces asserted their neutrality, properly ousting the shah’s regime. Bakhtiar got in hiding, ultimately to find exile in France.