Iranian Revolution in a Comparative Perspective
As a different revolution, Iran Islamic revolution has different specialties. First of all, Iranian revolution’s ideological basis is different. In Russia, the revolution had realized against the capitalist moves and the structured order in the country as a socialist revolution. However, in Iran, the revolution was against the capitalist Western politics as an Islamic revolution. The religious facts were more important the politic facts during the Iranian revolution. Second, the failure of the monarchy had made the Islamic side more nationalist than the other in the country. So, the extreme opposite sides had changed their positions. The Islamic administration replaced the politic authority. The last one, the Iranian Islam revolution had not affected the world socio-politic structure as well as the other revolutions in France and Russia.
In the Iranian Islam revolution, the name of Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-1989) has a valuable place. Before the Iranian Islam revolution, during the Shah regime of the country, Khomeini was in banishment. He had gone to France and he had managed the Iranian revolutionary movement form that country. During the last days of the Shah regime, the Iranian government and military was divided and it was a serious threat for the regime. And, increasing effect of Khomeini’s discourses from the outside of the country had pushed the country a revolutionary spirit. Turnouts of the labors were the first signs of the revolution and in 1979; the Iranian Islam Revolution process had been concluded successfully. The Shiite law administration had replaced the constitutional monarchy after the Iranian Islam Revolution.
Under the control of Khomeini, the Shiite Islam ideas were victorious against the Westernized monarchic Iran. During his banishment years in France, Khomeini had said that the existing Iran government had directed the Iranian society to sin; with that way, Iran had become a part of the Western civilization. According to Khomeini, Iran was an Islamic Eastern country and its own willpower was more powerful than the Western country’s hegemony. That is why Iranian Islam Revolution was a serious need for the country. During his militant terms in Fedayin-i Islam group, Khomeini had focused on an Islamic administration in Iran.
Khomeini’s leadership had provided a different and a powerful regime change to Iran; beyond, Khomeini had gained a serious support from the country. It was like that all the Iran people were waiting for a Islamic change in the country. According to personal approach of Khomeini, Iran had to be a religious country and Iran had to return its roots like the Soviet Russia did. Right in this point, Iranian Islam Revolution and the October Revolution in Russia were similar events. They were against the Western hegemony in the countries. Furthermore Khomeini had called the Shah as “Carter’s dog”. Khomeini was a part of his country’s religious environment and he was called as Twelfth Imam after the revolution process’s achievement. He had increased the efficiency and the power of the Shiism.
Khomeini’s rising depends on the weakness of Shah’s regime. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980) was a supporter of the Western regime and the US government was supporting the Shah regime. That is why Pahlavi had felt himself and his regime in safe. Pahlavi’s previous administration process was including coups and military pressure on the Iran people. That pressure had turned into a Westernization process after 1960s; however, particularly the religious leaders of Iran had declared a resistance against the Shah regime. Khomeini was the priority name of that process. While Shah Pahlavi was in failure in his country, Khomeini was very successful in France as far away from his lands. And, Khomeini had used the unsuccessful process of the Shah regime as a trump for his aims.
There is no doubt that Khomeini’s methods were bloody after the revolution. A lot of people were executed because of their actions during the monarchy regime. However, Khomeini’s most important advantage against the Shah regime was his support from the public. People had wanted Khomeini and his Shiite mentality had enlarged in Iran. Until his death, the Iranian Islam Revolution was had created the basis of all the state administrations in the country.
The Iranian Revolution and the Resurgence of Islam
Before the Iranian Islam Revolution, during the Shah regime, Iran had serious financial problems. The oil crisis between 1973 and 1974 had hit the Iranian economy deeply. The problem about the oil prices was the problem that was not in Iran government’s hands. In those years, Iran society was fighting against the financial and social matters in the country. Actually, the middle of 1973 was the starting point for the Iranian people for a revolutionary rebellion against the existing regime. The most disturbing issue for the Iranian society is about Shah’s oppressive attitude against his people. After the oil crisis in 1973, the oppressive attitude of the Shah regime had increased. Moreover, the American government under the rules of the President Jimmy Carter was trying to oppress the Pahlavi’s administration for the new liberation moves. In those years, American rules were so important for the Shah administration. However, the Pahlavi’s regime was more than a monarchy; it was like a dictatorship. Against that oppressive attitude of Shah, Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) which was founded in 1961 and the militant wing of ulema were very effective to organize the Iranian people. Khomeini was one of members of FMI after its foundation. He was already captured in 1963 because of his action in the organization. That date was the beginning for Khomeini’s banishment and his rising on the Iranian revolution at the same time. Khomeini’s situation was not a surprise for the ulema side of the country. Shah had an order from the US and if there would be liberalization working, first of all, the influence of the ulema side had to be decreased.
However, in 1971, Khomeini’s book “Vilayat-i Faqih Hukumet-i (Government of the Islamic Jurist)” had been published. That book was like a “fatwa” for the Iranian ulema and the Iranian society. After book’s publishing, the religious leaders of Iran had called the people to bring them in the mosques. It was like “Jehad” calling for the Iranian people. With that event, Islam’s revolutionary rising had started in 1971. On the other hand, that event was a transition process from protest to the rebellion. There was an action well then.
Until the Iranian Islam Revolution in 1979, the physical rebellion of the Iran society had continued. When the Iranian Islam Revolution was realized, the formation of the Iranian administration had changed for a long time period. Khomeini’s long-term efforts had reached the happy end towards the last terms of the 1970s. However, when Khomeini had come to the leadership of the country, Iran was in an involution and the Islam revolution had not seemed like a certain solution for the Iran society’s matters. So, Khomeini had deployed Mehdi Barzagni as the President of Iran for a while. Barzagni’s term was a short time period to complete the Islam revolution in the country. Thus, the friends of Khomeini had founded Islamic Republic PARTY (IRP) in 1979 to begin the Islamic politics in the country. That move was an attempt for the transition from the liberal politics to the religious based politics in Iran.
During that transition period, Iran had decided to follow an “isolation” policy from the world politics. At the same time, during the problematic term of the Middle East process, Iran was in an isolation politics. However, it was not useful for the goodness of the country; because, the unsuccessful politics of the country had caused a war between Iran and Saddam Husain’s Iraq from 1980 to 1988. It was a serious damage for the new Iran politic formation; because, Iran had lost so many soldiers and civilians right in the beginning of the Islam revolution’s beginning.
In the social area, Iran was in a traumatic situation. After Shah Regime’s downfall, Iranian society had been closed to the Western markets and Western culture. The most of the rights of the women had been taken. And the scarf burden for the women had become the most important part of the Iranian social life. Shah’s liberal oppression had been turned into mullahs’ religious oppression. The Islamization process of the country had begun with the religious rules in the country.