Iranian revolution of 1978-1979 was one of the most momentous and unique events of the post war epoch; it challenged the established distribution of power in much of the middle-east and the Islamic world and provided major international conflicts with the United States and Iran's neighbour , Iraq. The revolution itself began in 1978, at a time when the Shah, orPersian king , had been in apparent control for twenty five years and had used the substantial oil revenues that Iran had been earning in the 1970s to build up his country's economy and international importance. By Sept 1978 the Shah's govt was confronted withwith widespread protests, involving millions of people, in the major cities of Iran. Although the first protests had been ledby secular opponents of the regime, leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, in exile since 1964.Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 14 years exile on February 1, 1979)
By January 1979, the Shah was forced to flee. After Khomeini returned to Iran on 1 February and after a brief armed uprising against the remnants of the Shah's army on 11-12 February, he took power.Within weeks he had proclaimed the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and proceeded to transform the political, social, educational, and cultural life of the country to meet what he regarded as Islamic principles.
Power lay in the hands of the leading clergy and the network of Islamic set up throughout the country. The ministries of state and the armed forces were subjected to clerical control Opposition to Khomeini's regime continued for several yars and led to armed clashes with opponents of the clergy, both left. wing guerrillas in the cities and Kurdish insurgent in the western mountains. Khomeini proclaimed a policy of of militant neutrality, under the slogan " Neither East nor West" and appealed to the Islamic and other oppressed peoples of the world to rise up against their rulers. In many parts of the Islamic world , in particular, underground and opposition groups looked to Iran for support and example against governments seen as secular or tried to the West. Iranian influence was especially strong amongst Shia's in Lebanon.
of Islamic Republic
On January 16 1979, the Shah left Iran. Shapour Bakhtiar as his new prime minister with the help of Supreme Army Councils couldn't control the situation in the country anymore.
Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran on February 1. Ten days later Bakhtiar went into hiding, eventually to find exile in Paris. Processes against the supporters of the Shah started, and hundreds were executed.
On April 1, after a landslide victory in a national referendum in which only one choice was offered (Islamic Republic: Yes or No), Ayatollah Khomeini declared an Islamic republic with a new Constitution reflecting his ideals of Islamic government.
Ayatollah Khomeini became supreme spiritual leader (Valy-e-Faqih) of Iran. Subsequently many demonstrations were held in protest to the new rules, like extreme regulations on women's code of dress.
On November 4: Iranian Islamic Students stormed the US embassy, taking 66 people, the majority Americans, as hostages. 14 were released before the end of November. In November: The republic's first Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan resigned.
On September 22: Iraq massively invaded Iran, in the belief that Iran is too weak military to fight back. Iraq was claiming territories inhabited by Arabs (Southwestern oil-producing province of Iran called Khouzestan), as well as Iraq's right over Shatt el-Arab (Arvandroud). Some battles were won in the favor of Iraq, but a supposedly weakened Iranian army achieved surprising defensive success.
In 1981, on January 20, the hostages in the US embassy were released, after long negotiations, where USA concedes to transfer money, as well as export military equipment to Iran.
In June, Beni Sadr was removed from power by Ayatollah Khomeini, and fleed to France in July. Former prime minister Mohammad Ali Rajai was elected president.
In August 30, President Rajai and his prime minister were killed in a bombing.
In October, Hojatoleslam Seyed Ali Khamenei was elected president.
|Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani|
By summer of 1982, Iraq's initial territorial gains had been recaptured by Iranian troops that were stiffened with Revolutionary Guards. The Iraqi forces were driven out of Iran. The war extended to shooting of boats in the Persian Gulf, in an attempt to hurt the other country's oil exports. As required by the constitution, he resigned the presidency in 1989.
On 20 August 1988, a cease fire was signed between Iran and Iraq. Both parties accepted UN Resolution 598.
Following Ayatollah Khomeini's death on 3 June 1989 of a heart attack, Khamenei assumed the role of supreme spiritual leader. The Assembly of Experts (Ulama) met in emergency session on June 4 and elected President Khamenei the new Valy-e-Faqih (supreme spiritual leader), simultaneously promoting him to the status of ayatollah. And Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaker of the Majles (parliament) was elected as a president.
He graduated in the late 1950s as a Hojatoleslam, a Shiite clerical rank just below that of ayatollah. Opposed, like his mentor, to the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Rafsanjani became the exiled Khomeini's chief agent in Iran, was arrested on several occasions, and spent three years in prison (1975-1977) for his activities.
Rafsanjani was re-elected in 1993 but stepped down in 1997, since the Iranian constitution limits the president from seeking a third term. From 1995 was total ban on trade with Iran by USA.
In 1997 Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami was elected president by gaining almost 70 percent of the votes cast. He pursued political reform and opposed censorship. He is considered to be reformist towards democratization of Iran's society and willing to normalize the relation with west and reduce tensions in the region.
Although popular among much of the Iranian public, these policies met considerable opposition from conservatives who controlled the legislature and judiciary.
Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami was again re-elected as president in 2001 election by greater mandate of Iranian people (almost 78% of the vote cast).
On 24 June 2005 Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected as Iran's sixth president. He swept to the presidential post with a stunning 17,046,441 votes out of a total of 27,536,069 votes cast in the runoff election.