Iran
Iran

Iran

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  • Pages: 8 (3744 words)
  • Published: November 4, 2018
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Iran is a country located in the Middle East. The main source of income for the country is oil, the one object that had greatly influenced its history. Iran’s present government is run as an Islamic Republic. A president, cabinet, judicial branch, and Majilesor or legislative branch, makes up the governmental positions. A revolution that overthrew the monarch, which was set in 1930, lasted over 15 years.

Crane Brinton’s book, An Anatomy of a Revolution, explains set of four steps a country experiences when a revolution occurs. Symptoms, rising fever, crisis, and convalescence are the steps that occur. The Iranian Revolution followed the four steps in Crane Brinton’s theory, symptoms, rising fever, crisis, and convalescence occurred. Numerous symptoms led to the crumbling downfall of Reza Shah Pahlavi, ruler of Iran until 1978. One of these symptoms is rising expectations which can be seen during the 1960’s and 70’s. The rich Shah cleared the way for the land reform law, enacted in 1962. The land minority had to give up its land to the government, and among those stripped of land, were the Shi’ah Muslims. Iran’s power structure was radically changed in a program termed the “White Revolution”.

On January 26, 1963, the White Revolution was endorsed by the nation. By 1971, when land distribution ended, about 2,500,000 families of the farm population benefited from the reforms. From 1960-72 the percentage of owner occupied farmland in Iran rose from 26 to 78 percent. Per capita income rose from $176 in 1960 to $2,500 in 1978. From 1970-77 the gross national product was reported to increase to an

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annual rate of 7.8% (“Iran” 896). As a result of this thriving economy, the income gap rapidly widened. Exclusive homes, extravagant restaurants, and night clubs and streets loaded with expensive automobiles served as daily reminders of a growing income spread. This created a perfect environment for many conflicts to arise between the classes. Iran’s elite class consisted of wealthy land owners, intelligencia, military leaders, politicians, and diplomats. The Elite continued to support the monarchy and the Shah.

The peasants were victim of unfulfilled political expectations, surveillance by the secret police, and the severe social and economic problems that resulted from modernization. The middle class favored socialism over capitalism, because capitalism in their view supported the elite, and does not benefit the lower classes. The middle class was the most changeable element in the group, because they enjoyed some of the privileges of the elite, which they would like to protect. At the same time, they believed that they had been cheated by the elite out of their share of the industrialization wealth (Orwin 43). About this time, the middle class, which included students, technocrats, and modernist professionals, became discontent with the economy. The key event should have further stabilized the royal dictatorship, but the increase in oil prices and oil income beginning in 1974 caused extreme inflation. This was due to the investment strategy followed by the Shah, which led to a spectacular 42% growth rate in 1974. (Cottam 14). And because of the Shah’s support structure which enabled the new rich to benefit from inflation, the

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government effort to deal with inflation was aimless. Poor Iranians and Iranians with a fixed income suffered major losses in real income. Better standards of living were no longer visible.

Thus, the majority of the Iranian people developed a revolutionary predisposition. As the middle class became discontent in Iran throughout the 1970’s, the desertion of intellectuals could be found in great excess. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini represented much of the discontent of the religious sector of Iran. For speaking out against the Shah’s autocratic rule, Khomeini was exiled to Turkey in 1963. In 1965, Khomeini moved to Iraq where he became the central spokesperson for expatriate opposition to the Shah. On October 6, 1978, Khomeini was expelled from Iraq and moved to Paris, where he was accessible to a larger body of opposition forces. He was also accessible to the Western Press. Khomeini preached that he would displace the Shah and expel the foreigners. He also said he would enforce religious and traditional values, and redirect Iran’s wealth away from large industrialization schemes and toward reforms needed by the common people. Throughout the 1970’s, Khomeini gained tremendous popularity with the masses, and he became the symbol of the opposition towards the Shah. As Khomeini gained popularity, many religious groups grew in numbers and in status. In the early 1950’s, the technocrats had showed core support for Mohammad Mossedeq and Iran’s national movement. They saw Mossadeq’s overthrow as the removal of the symbolic leader of the Iranian nation by an American directed coup d’etat.

Many of his followers formed groups in opposition to the Shah. Leaders of the Freedom Front, one of the groups that grew out of the Mossadeq movement, were a group composed of intellectuals who tended to be centrist in philosophy, more religious, anti-Marxist, and militant (Cottam 13). They recognized Khomeini’s large and potentially enormous following, and associated themselves with him The rise of religious opposition groups and Khomeini proved to be a great test for the Shah. As time progressed the weakness of the Shah became apparent. Waves of opposition began building after 1975, due to the formation of the Rastakhiz , the legal political party in Iran, and the banning of opposition political parties. It also became clear that the increased oil revenues following oil price increases, were spent on arms and industrialization. In mid-1977 the religious leaders began demonstrating against the modernization brought on by the Shah. In November, several people were killed when police broke up demonstrations. As time went on, protests became more radical. To try and quiet dissent, the Shah became more of a dictator. As a result, those who had been moderate in demands for reform became more radical. In the fall of 1978, strikes against the oil industry, the post office, government factories, and banks demolished the economy. This pattern continued throughout most of 1978 (Orwin 45). As these protests became more frequent there were more and more people killed. This reflects the Shah’s loss of power over his government and his people. In late 1978, the Shah came to the conclusion that he would and could not rule a country in which

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