Iranian Revolution

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Evaluate the role of Islamic fundamentalism in the 1979 Iranian revolution (1200)

Various factors influenced the 1979 Iranian revolution, but at the core of this significant event was Islamic fundamentalism. The Iranian religious leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, led this movement to end the thirty-seven-year reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, also known as the Shah of Iran (Diller 1991, p.152). The revolution was a combination of mounting social, economic, political and religious strains. The nation of Iran was never colonized, unlike some of its bordering countries, making its people intolerant of external influences. The Shah had gradually westernized and secularized his country, creating a strong American presence that was being felt by the people of Iran. The Shah ruled by oppression, which was implemented by the notorious secret police force known as the ‘Savak.’ This separated the monarch even further with his people. The coalition of forces against the Shah consisted of the traditionalists and the modernists, but these categories brake off into many diverse groups who all had their own motivation to dethrone the Shah. The Islamic fundamentalist, Ayatollah Khomeini, was seen as the figurehead of this movement. Khomeini’s followers shaped the movement within Iran while Khomeini was in exile, spreading the beliefs of Islamic fundamentalism, which evidently acts as the binding notion that was to bring the Shah of Iran to an end (Diller 1991, p.152).

Iran in the seventies experienced a booming economy and hasty increase in income. The Shah, however, was given little credit for this economic success, as Iran’s citizens felt that he had not given his people what he had promised. Clawson (2008, p.15) suggests that he Iranian people were promised ‘European style income, however the Shah could not deliver.’ Clawson (2008, p.15) also writes that in an interview with the Shah in 1974, he had promised that “"In twenty-five years, Iran will be one of the world's...
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