13 Jan 2023


The Causes and Effects of the Iranian Revolution

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The Iranian revolution came as a surprise to the Persian monarch, which had been reigning over Iran in over 2500 years. This is because it did not have the distinctive characteristics of a group that is rebelling. Iran was enjoying prosperity and peace at that time. The United States of America also felt the shock. The country was an ardent supporter of the Persian monarch. The revolution took place in the years 1978 and 1979 and overthrew the then Persian shah, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The revolution was Islamic based and placed the leader of the revolution, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on the Iranian throne. Various Islamic movements, student movements, and the leftist movements in the Iranian territory and beyond supported Khomeini. Iran is a Middle Eastern country, which is located in the Persian Gulf, and its history is deeply entrenched in the Persian history. Both the Persian monarchy and the Iranians led to the political and both parties and the international associates such as the United States of America, according to Simpson (2017), felt the religious causes of the Iranian revolution and the positive and negative effects. 

The primary cause of the Iranian revolution was the discontentment under the rule of the Persian monarchy. That was a political cause of the Iranian revolution, and it counted as the major reason why the Iranians were determined to get rid of the Pahlavi dynasty ( Skocpol, 1982). The last Persian shah, Mohammad, was a strict ruler who succeeded his father in 1941. This was after he was forced to abdicate the rule after the Anglo-soviet invasion in the Iranian territory. Mohammad is reported to have taken the Iranian human rights for granted and often mistreated his subjects. That enraged the Iranian citizens of the time. Additionally, the Persian shah, Mohammad, was involved in corruption cases. When the reports reached the Persian Empire, he disbanded them as false accusations and termed them as rumors. That aggravated the discontentment among the Iranians (Amineh et al., 2015). 

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Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi also largely disregarded the Islamic traditions. That was a religious cause of the Iranian revolution. Mohammad changed the Islamic calendar to an imperial one, which drew the concern of all the Muslims who resided in Iran. They started planning the overthrowing of the shah on the grounds of him lacking respect for their religious traditions. For instance, Mohammad marked the beginning of the first day of the calendar as the commencement of the reign of Cyrus the great. That was contrary to the Islamic belief that the first day was supposed to commemorate the migration of the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. Such an act formed a stable ground for the Islamic revolutionists in and out of Iran to stage a religious revolution against the Persian rule. They effected the revolution to overthrow the Pahlavi dynasty (Amineh et al., 2015). 

The other cause of the Iranian revolution was Mohammad's strong westernization policy. This was a political cause of the revolt. The Iranians accused the Shah of being so close with a western power, the United States of America (Skocpol, 1982). Iran was rich in oil fields that Mohammad the Shah was fond of exploiting thus appearing to take advantage of the Iranians. The followers of Shi'a also resented that profoundly. Shi'a is a branch of Islam that believes that the successor of Prophet Muhammad was the Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib. Mohammad, the shah of the Persian monarchy was at loggerheads with the Shi'a believers. His placement into power by the allied powers, who were the western powers, was also caused indignation among the Iranian Muslims. The western powers also made him strengthened to return to power in 1953 when he was almost overthrown. That led to the religious-based upheavals in the Iranian territory that finally led to the overthrowing of Muhammad (Mohammadi, 2019). 

The other cause of the Iranian revolution was Khomeini's self-confidence and belief in the Iranian power against the Persian monarchy. Khomeini was the leaders of the revolutionaries in Iran against the Pahlavi dynasty. His belief that they could overthrow the monarchy was instrumental as it motivated him and his supporters to carry on with the revolt and free Iran from its Persian bondage. He also had a strong charisma and was able to make the masses believe that he as following the footsteps of the Imam Husayn ibn Ali, whom Khomeini made the Iranians believe that the Shah hated. That made it easier to make the Iranian join in the revolt since they were believers of the Shi'a traditions, and the imams were quintessential to its development (Skocpol, 1982). He also filled the hidden Imam in Paris and sent his representatives to send word to the Iranians. That amassed followers for him whom all had an agenda of rediscovering the Iranian territory from the shah (Mohammadi, 2019). 

The other cause of the Iranian revolution was the overconfidence amongst the modernist Muslims and the secularists. They led the Iranian populace into believing that the overthrowing of the Persian monarchy would lead to the taking over of the clergy in the leadership. Nonetheless, they believed that the clergy would not lead the country for long since they did not have the required skills and that they would gladly let the leadership of the country is taken over by the political leaders. The modernist and the secularist approaches of the groups led to the appealing of the Iranian middle-class brackets, and they willfully joined in the revolt against the Persian monarchy. The secularists and the modernist Muslims did not, nevertheless, realize that Khomeini wanted to get all the credit for being the leader of the revolution. That was to lead to differences later on among the Iranians (Vahdat, 2015). 

The discontentment of the Pahlavi's rule on the Iranians had various effects on both the Pahlavi dynasty and the Iranians themselves. Significantly, the Persian monarchy lost the trust and respect that the Iranians had held for the dynasty. They began to gang up, and mostly the young Iranian men, to overthrow the shah's rule. The Iranians were also affected by this as they were cut off from most of the western powers, including the United States of America. There before, the Iranian prosperity was mostly originating from the western countries. The country was still unstable in the world, and the deprivation of support meant that the country would suffer from economic setbacks and political and religious turmoil. The overthrowing of the Pahlavi dynasty also placed the religious leaders in charge of ruling over Iran, which was not a welcome idea since the country, was still mostly underdeveloped (Pillar, 2016). 

The overthrowing of the shah on the political grounds had multifaceted effects on the Iranians. To begin with, the associates of the Pahlavi dynasty living in Iran were arrested by the revolutionaries and sentenced to death, and others prisoned. Millions of dollars of their personal property were seized which also drove them into losses on their property. Some of them were lucky to flee the country at that time. The Iranian allies of the Shah of Persia were a means of the financial prosperity to Iran, even under the Persian monarchy (Skocpol, 1982). Therefore, their elimination brought about a period of financial crisis for Iran after overthrowing Mohammad of the Pahlavi dynasty. The revolutionaries who mostly used them to get themselves rich after the change in the political regime seized the associates' assets. That led to the financial constraint cases in Iran where the people in the lower economic brackets in the country kept being poorer and poorer (Taylor & Cooper, 2018). 

The United States of America was affected by the overthrowing of the Shah in a great deal. The country had had long-term deals in the petroleum industry of the Persian Empire. That led to the losses incurred in the country and a source of hopelessness in the future importation of oil into the United States of America from the Iranian oil fields. That would, later on, affect the trade between the country and the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire also was deprived of its financial prowess since a significant part of its economy was formed by the exploitation of the oil fields in the different parts of Iran. That weakened the monarchy and led to its eventual collapse. Iran was also not left beyond in the financial distress as the essential trade countries in the petroleum industry backed off from it, and it had no trading partnerships anywhere else in the world (Pillar, 2016). 

The Iranian revolution led to massive degradation of the women's rights. After Khomeini made it to power, the family protection act of 1967 was amended in 1975. The family protection act had initially been created to ensure that the Iranian women had a right in their marriages. The amendment repealed the originality and denied the Iranian women of their rights in their marriages. That led to the suffering of the women in the country under the rule of Khomeini. Khomeini, in line with the amendment, had mosque-based patrol agents to loiter around the city’s streets in the country to enforce the dressing code for the women. The patrollers considerably modified the behaviors of the women, and they were subjected to unfair treatment under Khomeini's rule. The women who rebelled against Khomeini's orders were arrested, and justice passed against them (Erami & Keshavarzian, 2015). 

The rule of Khomeini also led to the brutality and heartlessness of Khomeini as the leader of the Iranian territory after the revolt. Khomeini formed a Revolutionary Guards group. The Revolutionary Guards had various roles in Iran at the time. Other than ensuring that the women well behaved and dressed elegantly, the Revolutionary Guards also ensured that the Iranians conformed to the imposed rule of Khomeini. The Revolutionary Guards were also reported to waylay an American based Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) planned coup. The reason for doing this was to quell any rebellion that may have arisen among the Iranians as a reason for the lousy leadership of Khomeini and his associates. The Revolutionary Guards also made sure that the Iranians were under the control of the Revolutionary Council and the Islamic Republican Party, which were both supporters of Khomeini's rule (Alini & Alini, 2018). 

In conclusion, both the Persian monarchy and the Iranians facilitated the causes of the Iranian revolution. The Iranian revolution became a turning point of the Iranian political and religious standing in the world. Contrary to the Iranians expectations, the revolution did not lead to the realization of the positive effects only as adverse effects also came upon them. For instance, the Iranians enjoyed a break from the harsh and the cruel rule of the shah of the Persian monarchy. However, they landed into the bondage of one of their own Khomeini whose rule was even more stringent than that of the shah. The women also lost their rights in marriage in Iran and were subjected to harsh laws that made their existence and stay in Iran unbearable. Iran was also cut off from the western world and especially from the United States of America since the country revolted against the Persian Empire. That negatively affected Iran since it did not have a politically stable setup. 


Alini, E., & Alini, M. (2018). The effects of the Islamic Revolution on the structure of political 

Power in Iran (1978-2005). Revista Publicando , 5 (15), 1559-1582. 

Amineh, M. P., Eisenstadt, S. N., Preyer, G., & Sussman, M. (2015). Theorizing of the Iranian 

Revolution of 1978–1979: The Multiple Contexts of the Iranian Revolution. Varieties of Multiple Modernities: New Research Design , 149-176. 

Erami, N., & Keshavarzian, A. (2015). When ties don't bind: smuggling effects, bazaars and 

Regulatory regimes in postrevolutionary Iran. Economy and Society , 44 (1), 110-139. 

Mohammadi, M. (2019). Nature of the Iranian Reform Movement: Existence and Causes. In The 

Iranian Reform Movement (pp. 37-71). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. 

Pillar, P. R. (2016). The role of villain: Iran and US foreign policy. Political Science Quarterly

131 (2), 365-385. 

Simpson, G. L. (2017). Seeking Gandhi, finding Khomeini: How America failed to understand 

The nature of the religious opposition of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the Iranian Revolution. The Journal of the Middle East and Africa , 8 (3), 233-255. 

Skocpol, T. (1982). Rentier state and Shi'a Islam in the Iranian revolution. Theory and society , 11 (3), 265-283. 

Taylor, B., & Cooper, P. G. S. (2018). Power and Regionalism: Explaining Regional 

Cooperation in the Persian Gulf. In Comparative Regional Integration (pp. 125-144). Routledge. 

Vahdat, F. (2015). Reflections on Iranian revolution of 1979: rise of subjectivity and citizenship. 

Citizenship Studies , 19 (1), 83-100. 

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