The Islamic Revolution started circa 1977 and lasted until 1979. The absolute monarchist Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi led an era of authoritarian regime which allowed violence and oppression of the people. The White Revolution, in the 1960’s, caused many of the people in Iran to rise up against the regime. The aftermath of the Islamic Revolution, headed by Ayatollah Khomeini, included the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region and a theocratic government similar to the previous authoritarian regime. The nationalism movement occurred deep within the population of Iran and involved the citizens of the country itself. Many of the different ethnic groups present in the nation included the Persians, Kurds, Gilakis, Mazdandaranis, Lurs, and Baluchis. The main language of the country is Farsi, but other languages spoken include Arabic, and some Turkic languages. The state widely embraces and follows the Shi’ite Islamic religion, which created the presence of nationalism and religious unity in the state. This later led to revolution and opposition against the Shah, who did not exemplify the traditional values of the religion. The nation has many biomes that consist of the Zagros Mountains region, many basins called the Central Plateau, and large uninhabited deserts such as the Dasht-e Kavir and the Dasht-e-lut. The many varieties of land affected politics and economy of Iran because of the organization required to successfully utilize the land and also the advanced technology needed to maneuver around the plethora of basins that got in the way of communication between cities and the political centers. Also the basins affected the development of highways. The long term causes of the Islamic Revolution date back to the time when the first Shah came into power in the mid-1920s. The young leader came to power during very trying times. Problems consisted of economic instability, foreign intervention by Britain, and occupation of Northern Iran by the Soviet Union. The Soviets, in a building race with Western allies for power and control, attempted to create a sphere of influence within Iran. Noticing the West’s interest in the country’s rich oil resources, the Soviet’s quickly began developing influence in an attempt to dissuade relations with the West. One way the Soviet’s attempted to do this was by empowering a political party known as the Tudeh party. The Soviet Union used the Tudeh party to try and promote certain interests in Iran. However, the Iranian people quickly turned against the Tudeh’s. The reason this occurred was because the “Tudeh Party had been discredited because of its ‘uncontrolled destructiveness and Stalinist attitude’”(Iranian Studies and Iranian Revolution). The Soviet Union and Tudeh party played a major part of the revolution, given that it brought about more political differences amongst groups of people in the country. With revitalized parliamentarianism, the Shah appointed a man named Mohammad Mossadeq as prime minister to nationalize the oil companies. By doing so, Mossadeq took Iranian oil out of British hands, and ended British exploitation of government weakness in Iran. In 1951, the National Iranian Oil Company was formed by the Prime Minister, leading to some aversion on behalf of Western leaders. In 1953, Mossadeq was removed from power in Operation Ajax. Foreign intervention soon after that proved to be a key factor in the decline of democracy in Iran. This era of conflict over who controlled oil reserves in Iran was a blow to Iran’s economy coming out of the 1950’s, and led to economic reforms initiated and discuss between the Shah and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. To explain further, a short term cause of the revolution was the White Revolution and the negative effects it had on the clergy. The White Revolution was a program that the Shah used to improve literacy in rural areas, reform land, nationalize forests, and the sale of state-owned business to private sectors. There is...
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