International Policy Digest

World News /14 Feb 2019

Iran Revolution 40 Years Later: A Beautiful Illusion

Hundreds of thousands poured into the streets of Tehran Monday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution that rewrote the trajectory of the Middle East nation. As President Hassan Rouhani rejoiced in the Iran that exists today, the Iran of yesterday still remained in the background, reminding citizens of what once was.

The revolution, instigated by Western powers, ushered in a new period for Iran, the effects of which are still being felt today. The bottom line is that the Iranian revolution was nothing more than an orchestrated illusion. The revolution wasn’t designed to help the people of Iran, but to topple an unfriendly regime in an already troublesome area, a theme too often demonstrated by the West.

For nearly 2,500 years, Iran was ruled by a continuous monarchy. The last ruling house, however, was the Pahlavi Dynasty. Founded by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925 after the fall of the Qajar Dynasty, the dynasty lasted until his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown in the revolution. As the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ran the country for nearly 38 years. With the title of Shahanshah or “king of kings,” Pahlavi ran the country with a tight grip, using his power to its full potential. But in 1979, a coup overthrew Pahlavi, spiraling out into what is now known as the Iranian Revolution.

Pahlavi saw himself dethroned and forced to escape to Egypt for a handful of reasons. The main reason, given by the United States, was the sheer fact that he was an unfriendly dictator whose policies directly threatened the United States. His interactions with OPEC scared the US, leading to the beginning of a deep rift between the two countries. The other reason was because of the failure of the regime to govern properly. Corruption via economic bottlenecks, shortage of resources, inflation of the rial, and more were rampant. Another reason was the ever-present brutality and oppression. Pahlavi, much like any dictator, had a severe distaste for those who opposed him. Pahlavi used secret police forces to carry out serious human rights violations, crushing anyone who spoke out against him, deeply concerning the West.

Revolution came in January of 1978 when madrasah students gathered in the streets to protest slanderous comments regarding Ayatollah Khomeini in a newspaper. What ensued was a bloody struggle that lasted a year. By the end, Pahlavi fled to Egypt and Iran was set on a course that would completely change it.

The problem is that despite the efforts by the West to create a more “Western-friendly” and “safe” Iran, it actually destroyed the entire country by giving it a government that took away their freedoms and transformed them into the trope of the classic Middle Eastern country that hates America. The rewriting of the Iranian Constitution saw the official religion of the Republic become Ja’fari Shiism, a sect of Twelver. It allowed sharia law to become the rule of the courts. And most importantly, it allowed the Ayatollah to transform Iran into a Shia majority mullah-obsessed nation disguised as an Islamic Republic, making the entire operation a beautifully orchestrated farce by the West.