Iranian Revolution | By Dr. Mahipal Singh Rathore | Free PDF Download

Brief History of Iran  

Safavid dynasty (1501- 1736)

Made Shia Islam as official religion

Qajar dynasty (1785-1921)- Gave Ulema (clergy) political power

Pahlavi dynasty

1906 Revolution

Qajar ruler accepted constitutional monarchy  Restrictions on king

Shia Islam as official religion  Parliament constituted

Failed ultimately because Ulema removed their support

World War 1 & Aftermath

Oil discovery – Britain and Soviet Union power play! Britain succeeded in controlling all oil in Iran Coup D’état by Reza Khan(Shah) in 1921 – Pahlavi dynasty established :-
 Secular western type govt
 Dictatorial rule – Ulema went against

Mohammad Reza Shah (1941 – 1979)


The CIA Coup

1953 1951 elections – Mohd. Mossadegh becomes PM He Nationalised Oil resources MI6 and CIA engineered coup against him in 1953 Power back to Shah

Reforms of Shah

Economic reforms – growth and§ development  Oil industry developed§  Close ally of USA and western powers§  Westernization – Modern education,§ institutions and culture

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini


Religious leader and cleric Opposed to reforms mainly because of increased women’s rights, rigging of elections , abuse of power and constitution.
1963 – He protested against Shah.
Arrested and later exiled (to Iraq, later France)

The Revolution of 1978-79



• People dissatisfied with corrupt govt • Oil benefits not reaching poor • Rising unemployment & economic inequality • Socio- Religious changes not acceptable to conservative sections • Perceived imperialism of USA in Iran Did NOT start to create an Islamic republic


• 1975 – Political parties abolished • Only one party –Resurgence party of Shah himself • Censorship imposed • Arrest of political prisoners • October 1977 – protests began • Students formed a large part of protestors

• 6th January 1978 – News Article criticising Khomeini • Brings vast number of religious conservatives and Khomeini supporters to protests • Police and army cracked down hard – protests and anger grew against the Shah’s rule • Americans backed shah and gave promise of military support • September 1978 – marshal law imposed, many protestors shot


• Strikes and civil resistance throughout the country • Workers came out in protests too
• Protests increased during Muharram (December
• 16th January 1979- Shah left Iran for USA
(medical treatment)
• Khomeini returns from exile and welcomed by
• He dismissed the PM and suppressed opponents
(left wing, moderate groups) in coming months


April 1979 – Vote on new constitution§  ISLAMIC REPUBLIC of IRAN established§  President, Parliament and ELECTIONS§  But it has SUPREME LEADER – can overturn any§ decision of the govt.  Any appointments can be made by the Supreme§ Leader  Sharia law adopted§  Formation of Islamic Revolutionary Guards§  Iran Iraq war 1980-88


 American Embassy hostage crisis 


November 4,1979 to January 20 ,1981 [444 days]  Iran asked for deportation of Shah from USA  Revolutionary students group overran the embassy and held 52 diplomats and staff as hostage  Shah died in July ’80  Peace brokered by Algeria§  ECONOMIC SANCTIONS on Iran by USA

Significance of the Iranian Revolution

No usual causes for revolution- Defeat at war, peasant uprising, heavy taxation  Profound change at great speed  No major Violence by revolutionaries – Unarmed protestors against heavily armed army   Theocracy – ‘’Vilayet e Faqih’’- Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist  Revolution brought to power the§ traditional clergy and NOT new society or modern political parties

World History | Free PDF


By Dr. Mahipal Singh Rathore

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