Iran And New Revolution Essay

2534 words - 10 pages

In Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi ruled as an authoritarian monarch while he attempted to modernise his realm economically and socially. Out of this would come an anomaly: a revolution that would resurrect democracy and an ultra-conservative religious tradition.King (Shah) Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, was in conflict with Muslims who advocated banning tobacco, alcohol, movies, gambling and foreign dress and who advocated the veil for women and old punishments for criminals such as cutting off a hand. The Shah's increased ties with the United States and his agreement with a western oil consortium annoyed ultra-conservatives, and they and other Iranians were annoyed by the presence of the many foreigners from the United States who accompanied U.S. aid to Iran. Some discontented Muslims formed an underground group called the Fedaiyan-e Islam. They tried to assassinate the Shah's Prime Minister. The Shah responded by repressing the Fedaiyan-e Islam and executing a few of its members.The Shah was worried about ultra-conservative opinion in his realm while he enjoyed support from Iran's upper and middle classes, including wealthy merchants -- some of whom were more Westernised and modernistic in their Islamic faith, and some of whom remained more old-fashioned. The Shah had support also from some Muslim clerics. These clerics saw the Shah as a better alternatives to those on the Left in Iran, and they appreciated that the Shah had come to power (in 1954) by overthrowing the Communist led Tudeh party and its prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh.Some other clerics were uncomfortable with the monarchy. They remembered that the Shah's father back in 1936 had barred clerics from acting as judges in state courts. And some clerics, including the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, were offended in the early 1960s when the Shah gave himself the authority to initiate legislation. With this legislation the Shah sought to balance his increase in power with reforms that would win more favour from common Iranians. Landlords and some clerics were outspokenly opposed to these reforms, and in 1963 the Shah let his fears get the best of him -- he cracked down on dissent. Also in 1963, in the holy city of Qom, theological students who were agitating against a scheduled opening of liquor stores were attacked by the Shah's paratroopers and by his police agents known as the Savak. The disturbance spread to students in the city of Tabriz, and there and in Qom hundreds was killed.When speaking to honour the dead, the Ayatollah Khomeini attacked the Shah's rule, calling it tyrannical. Then the government made matters worse for itself by retaliating against Khomeini. Khomeini was arrested, and in the eyes of many Iranians he was seen as a fearless leader with strong convictions. Khomeini had become a hero. His arrest caused anti-government demonstrations and rioting in a variety of cities. The Shah declared martial law. Tanks and troops with orders to shoot to kill were sent against the...

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