As we said last week this February we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the resounding triumph of the Islamic Revolution that changed regional and world equations.
To mark the occasion we have prepared a special series for our listeners titled Three Decades of the Islamic Revolution, which will continue till the 10-Day Dawn, that is, February 1-to-10, when the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace), returned home to Iran from 15 years of exile and ten crucial days later led the masses to victory over an armed-to-the-tooth US-backed regime. Last week we referred to the situation of the world and the western colonialist domination during the days of the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. We also talked about the factors that shaped the Islamic Revolution, such as the economic and political dependence of the British-installed and American-backed Shah on the West. Today we will discuss the other factors behind the Islamic movement of the Iranian people. Please stay tuned for the 2nd episode.
Right since the British installed the illiterate soldier Reza Khan in 1925 on the Peacock Throne, the Pahlavi regime was heavily dependent on foreign powers and brutally suppressed the Iranian people. During his 16-year reign of terror, Reza Khan tried to deprive the people of their Iranian culture and Islamic identity, by blindly copying the West and banning the hijab for women and the traditional dress of Iranian men. In 1941, during Second World War when he dared to put out feelers to Nazi Germany, the British immediately replaced him with his son, Mohammad Reza. The new Pahlavi ruler was even more dependent on the West, especially on the Americans, following the August 1953 CIA coup that restored him to power by topping the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. The Shah now in collaboration with his American masters set up the dreaded torture and spying network called SAVAK. The CIA and the illegal Zionist entity’s notorious terror network, Mossad, trained SAVAK agents, who carried out the most blood-curdling torture of political and religious prisoners in Iranian jails. Thousands of revolutionaries were exposed to horrible atrocities and many of them died under torture.
The West in turn openly supported the Shah’s despotic policies against the Iranian people and called his opponents Marxists. US president Jimmy Carter who used to call himself ‘an advocate of democracy and human rights’, showered the highest praise for the brutal Shah during his visit in 1978 to Iran, describing the country, which was soon to witness the Islamic Revolution, as an island of stability in the region for US interests. Although the Shah had changed the constitution to increase his powers, he never abided by it. There were no free or fair elections to the rubber stamp Majlis he had set up. In 1975, he formed a party called ‘Rastakhiz’ and forced the Iranian people to join it. The press was tightly controlled and the slightest expression of freedom was brutally suppressed.
The Shah and his clique were completely isolated from the Iranian people, and were unable to predict the rising of the nation against despotism. He was intensely hated by the people, who also abhorred the US for backing the Pahlavi tyranny. In addition, the unholy alliance between the Shah and the usurper state of Israel had strongly angered the Iranian Muslim people. As a matter of fact, the Shah’s close economic, political and security ties with the illegal Zionist entity was among the main reasons for intensification of the Iranian people’s opposition.
Another factor responsible for the great revolution of the Iranian people was the assault of the Pahlavi regime on the religious ideas, beliefs and cultural traditions of the Muslim people of Iran, a country where 98 percent of the people are Muslims, and who are noted for their devotion to the cause of the Prophet and his blessed household. The Pahlavi regime made a fatal mistake in trying to undermine and insult Islam. This naturally made the Iranian people furious. As part of its irreligious policies, the Shah placed heavy restrictions on the annual mourning ceremonies of Moharram and Safar for the martyrs of Karbala. The Iranian people who are devoted to Imam Hussain (PBUH) and his cause, were greatly angered and were resolved to end his misrule, and his promotion of decadent western culture.
In addition to his policy of spreading vices in the society, the Shah made the fatal mistake of promoting mythology on the assumption that it was Iran’s pre-Islam history. His purpose was to try to weaken Islam, and he lost his mind when he styled himself Arya-Mehr or the Sun of the Aryan Race, by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on what he called the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire in 1971. He invited kings, presidents, prime ministers and other senior officials of world countries to an extravaganza of feasting, drinking, and dancing at the ruins of Persepolis near Shiraz. In 1976, he changed the calendar in Iran from the solar hijra based on the Prophet’s migration, to the mythical date of 2500 Shahenshahi. This way he thought he would weaken religious leaders and increase his standing among the people. Simultaneously, the Shah exiled and imprisoned the ulema, especially prominent figures like Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace). But contrary to his expectations, his anti-Islamic acts increased the Iranian people’s anger. At this sensitive juncture the Iranian people turned more and more towards the leadership of Imam Khomeini to launch the people’s popular Islamic movement that finally drove out the Shah and his American backers from Iran.