Jun 15 , 2017
Ever since the revolution, the people of Iran have been suppressed in their constant fight for basic human rights. However, the fight against autocratic rule stems far beyond reacting to social injustices. The westernization and disregard for religious preferences imposed by the Pahlavi dynasty from 1925 to 1979, was met by constant resistance leading up to the revolution. That revolt shocked the world of international relations and to this day, its effects are apparent.
Many different events leading up to 1979 paved the way toward the revolution. For example, the imposition of a new Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1941, presented a massive shift in authoritarian regime. Reza Shah created a corrupt and oppressive government that many Leftist and Islamist groups attacked, making their support known for a non-secular and democratic Iran. In 1953, they were met by SAVAK, a so-called “secret police” under the veil of the CIA that garnered hate from its practices of torture and execution.
Ten years later, the detaining of revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini sparked massive protests. He spoke out against the Shah’s policies against suffrage and religious freedoms and claimed he was leading the Iranian community towards a path of destruction. Khomeini pushed the idea of establishing a republic under the guise of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist in a book published first in 1970. This publication was distributed widely across Iran as Khomeini himself was exiled in 1964, only to return the year of the revolution. 1978 saw the start of demonstrations against the Shah and what he had done to discredit Khomeini.
After months of protests and clashes with police that saw many deaths, the Shah left for Egypt and the imposition of Khomeini as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran was put forth. The first democratic election in 1980 abolished the monarchy. But, the appointment of Khomeini saw the start of a new regime met with further oppression, like the 1988 massacre of political prisoners covertly masterminded by Khomeini himself. His confidence and charisma inspired many to revolt, but seems to have misled many as well.
Some might argue that, even though the fight is still going on, if the revolution hadn’t happened, we would be looking at a very different Iran and in turn, the Middle East. However, years after the revolution there are still signs of social injustices and oppression. The current president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has been met with different responses to his policies. Although Iran-U.S. relations have made greater strides in recent years, there are still claims of his government suppressing human rights. The IRGCC is denoted as a terrorist organization wanting to silence those looking to pursue personal liberties. Iran is making progress in some areas, but questions about the way its government is run still remain.