Submitted by ReecoElryk t3_zuw5gi in history

A while ago I read the first part of the comic Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, in which she describes her experience growing up in Iran during it's 1979 revolution and following war with Iraq.
Something I noticed was that her parents were protesting against the ruling Shah, in hopes to see the country adopt democracy, and from the sounds of it so were many of their friends and acquaintances as well. However the outcome of the revolution was instead the creation of an Islamic republic lead by Ruhollah Khomeini after a national referendum. In the comic Marjanes parents say they didn't vote for the Islamic republic and neither did any of their friends, implying that the referendum was illegitimate.

As far as I can tell Ruhollah Khomeini was genuinely a very popular figure, as he was welcomed back into the country by cheering crowds, but was that entusiasm extended to his ideas on governance? I can't seem to find any sources talking about what the people of Iran truly wanted. Persepolis makes it seem like the populace wanted a democracy but the referendum says otherwise. It did seem like Marjanes family was fairly wealthy and well educated which would explain their more liberal views, but considering the resistance to the new regime lasting for decades and all the way to present day, I can't be sure if people wanted it as much as the referendum says they did.

I don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but I just want to see if anyone out there has the answers to this question; what did the people of Iran want in the revolution of 1979?



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dr_set t1_j1mpxso wrote

A large majority of the Iranian society wanted to remove the Shah, but the educated middle classes from the urban centers wanted democracy while the lower classes, specially from the small villages outside the big cities, wanted Khomeini. For a time both camps competed for power, but the religious faction was far more brutal and ended crushing the other side.

> Marjanes parents say they didn't vote for the Islamic republic

She was from a very educated family from the middle class, so its very logical that she or anybody around her didn't voted for the Islamic republic. They were in the opposing camp.

If you want to know more, take a look at this documentary that explains the fighting for power that took place between the two factions of Iranian society that joined to overthrow the Shah.


ozninja80 t1_j1nt6l8 wrote

I also read “Shah of Shahs” by Ryszard Kapuscinski. It’s a fantastic, easy to digest book which documents the downfall of Shah Reza, written by a journalist who spent years living and working there.

Toward the end of the Shah’s rule, the writer describes the growing collective rage of the Iranian people, having existed under the brutal, oppressive rule of the Shah for many years. During the Shah’s reign, anyone brave enough to challenge the authorities was likely to be either killed, imprisoned, or disappeared entirely.

When the people eventually rose up and overthrew his regime, at a cost of many lives, there was a large number who (quite understandably) were incredibly angry at the treatment they had been forced to endure. Whilst various factions, including socialists, were vying for power during this time, the ones who channeled this public anger most effectively were the Islamic fundamentalists. I think it’s fair to presume that the populous never knew or anticipated just how oppressive their rule would also turn out to be.

It also needs to be mentioned that the Shah was really just a corrupt, Western-backed puppet who lived a life of opulent excess. In contrast, Iran had previously democratically elected a leader decades before (Mossadegh) who had sought to nationalise their vast natural resources at the time. This was obviously an unacceptable proposition for the British & Americans (and the effected oil companies, eg. BP) who were heavily invested in exploiting Iran’s oil reserves . As a result, his government was swiftly overthrown in a British-American backed coup. I mention this for broader context, as there is a long, clear history of Western intervention in middle eastern and Iranian affairs, given the enormous wealth that has been at stake. This has most certainly played a part in shaping the anti-American rhetoric of the present day Islamic republic.


[deleted] t1_j1o9hbv wrote



[deleted] t1_j1oduos wrote



boluroru t1_j1pd1jm wrote

There's a tendency on the internet to assume the urban centres were how the majority of Iranians lived. Like those Iran before and after the revolution photos that get posted all the time

Majority of the population though was poor, rural and very religious. Why the revolution ended the way it did makes a lot of sense when you consider that


Abstract__Nonsense t1_j1oo55z wrote

It’s worth noting that the educated middle classes from the urban centers were a small minority, since the question is about the popular legitimacy of Khomeini.


MaybeTheDoctor t1_j1no8y0 wrote

I think the simple answer, is "less corruption, less nepotism, and democracy and/or rule of law for all"...


morismano t1_j1ngn40 wrote

Why did Iranians want to remove Shah? Iran was doing very well economically and was stable. So why did not people like him? And when they realized what kind of government Khomeini created, why did they not protest to remove him like they removed Shah?


the_roguetrader t1_j1ni89e wrote

usually story - the Shah and his cronies lived a luxurious lifestyle while the majority of people were poor and the country run down.. plus the secret police, (the SAVAK ) were particularly brutal with thousands tortured / extrajudicially killed / disappeared during their time... if you look at pictures of anti-Shah protests from the late '70's there were MILLIONS of people on the streets - they really wanted him gone !


morismano t1_j1nlvn8 wrote

My knowledge on this matter is based on Wikipedia. Even with his lavish life, Was not there economic growth and relative stability in the country during Shah’s rule?


Nicktune1219 t1_j1nu0tp wrote

There was economic growth if you consider that he kept the country a feudal state until 1963 or so. As a result a majority of the population was terribly poor and illiterate.


King--of--the--Juice t1_j1nn93j wrote

> Iran was doing very well economically

Well it wasn't. Inflation rate from 1964 to 1974 was on average %2.6. Then from 1974 to 1978 it reached %24.9, and the cost of living was doubled. There was just too much money pouring in Iran as a result of the 1973 oil shock and the economy overheated. More money more problems.


Darkness1231 t1_j1o10ft wrote

Shah was corrupt, to a massive level. He did some good, some of which came back to bite him. He educated many. I don't have knowledge of the split between middle and lower classes educations. But, consider this, education involves many options of how to manage/govern a people/nation. What happened was more and more people were aware that the Shah was indeed on the bad side of history.

Existing order educates the masses. Masses realize exactly how bad their situation is. Masses rebel, establishing a new order. In Iran, the referendum allow the religious fanatics to outnumber the reasonable (to myself) middle, to lower upper classes. Bingo, theocracy. Middle class loses all the gains they had under the previous order.


sourcreamus t1_j1nndrv wrote

Iran did well in the early 70s, but oil markets adjusted, while the government kept spending. The economy started doing poorly and the newly empowered middle class wanted political power.


whynotzoidber t1_j1nmt7u wrote

the revolutionaries convinced people shah was compromised by uk/usa.

once they sized power with Khomeini return, Khomeini used the same trick to convince people that revolutionaries are against god and his new government.

Khomeini wasn't afraid to incite his followers to kill something which the shah didn't have it in him to kill his own people, as he had fled.


morismano t1_j1nogk2 wrote

So people did protest Khomeini but he had them killed which Shah did not do?


doc_1eye t1_j1o7gic wrote

No, the previous poster lives in a fantasy world. The Shah killed thousands of people. It's why people wanted to get rid of him in the first place. Khomeini managed to stay in power by being bad, but not quite as bad as the Shah


AllBluringIntoOne t1_j1m2j4h wrote

When my dad was young at the time of the revolution he participated in the protests in rasht and later in tehran. From the things he told me, it seemed like everyone knew what they didn't want, which was the shah. But they weren't too clear on what happened after they got rid of him because they thought it couldn't get worse. And people insisted on doing it no matter who they united with. After the revolution, khomeini quickly squashed a lot of the people and groups that aided in the revolution and the war helped the ir become permenant.

Edit: (forget the permenant, i'm optimistic about the new revolution)


ReecoElryk OP t1_j1m4npz wrote

This is close to what I had assumed, people just wanted to get rid of the Shah, they saw Khomeini as a leader and rallied behind him, even if in hindsight that wasn't a very good idea. Also I hadn't considered that the following war had helped cement the new government, but it does make a lot of sense. Thank you for the answer.


fiendishrabbit t1_j1mphiq wrote

It's a bit more complicated, and Khomeini was more the "last man standing" after the Shah had used support from the US and British foreign intelligence services to de-organize and effectively weaken the democratic/liberal rebels (which were city based).

The religiously motivated rebels, who had the majority of their support in the countryside, were not as vulnerable to such tactics and ended up being the strongest rebel group. As such Khomeini gradually managed to sweep up more and more rebel groups under his banner.


BrazilianMerkin t1_j1n7r1u wrote

Isn’t that one of the most important and destructive aspects for why so many countries are in perpetual sociopolitical turmoil? In the Middle East/N Africa, the West used preexisting cultural/religious differences when creating the new nations after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Next they created governments who would be subservient to the West. Enthnic/religious minorities of those countries in many instances, willing to do whatever needed for the outside assistance to stay in power.

Then during the Cold War, certain Western nations (we all know who) would systematically assassinate, imprison, and destroy the intellectual class (not correct term I know… basically the smart political liberals) justified by preventing communism. There was very little communism, just people wanting democratic governance, and wanting democratic governance apparently reeks of socialism.

By the time actual political upheaval happened, there were no sensible leaders/proto-parties remaining to fill the void, so the religious zealots and/or military assumed control.

All that outside interference and destruction of democratic movements out of fear of communism really stunted ability for huge swaths of the world to grow.

See it lingering today in most of South America, Egypt, etc.


Tyg13 t1_j1ngmgy wrote

I'd even go so far as to say that the inadvertent suppression of democracy due to "fear of communism" wasn't inadvertent at all. As much as the West loves democracy, they really only seem to want it when it's to their benefit. A democratic resource-rich nation might have a bunch of annoying citizens that vote not to allow the systematic exploitation of their country. Dictatorships and juntas are much more reliable to control.


Josquius t1_j1px21y wrote

The fundamental framing of the cold War as democracy or communism that is so common in the west annoys me so much. Its comparing a system of government and an economic system (or rather an economically focussed ideology).

Capitalism vs Marxism is a much better framing for what the cold War was about. That the USSR was a dictatorship and US a democracy is completely incidental to their economic systems.


International_Bet_91 t1_j1owmb3 wrote

I think it's also important to note that young, educated, Iranian communists -- living in exile in Europe because of the Shah's hatred of communists -- were the ones who popularized Khomeini's words by recording them in Europe and smuggling them into Iran. Pamphlets were not enough, the rural population was largely illiterate, and since mosques were monitored by the Shah's secret police, the tapes were key.

The communists saw Khomeini and his followers as useful idiots: they intended to use Khomeini's religious rhetoric to whip the masses into an anti-monarchist frenzy, and once the Shah was gone, the communists thought they could take over power.

As we know know, the communists underestimated the Mullahs' power and brutality: once the Shah was gone, the Islamists turned on the communists.

There have been some heart-breaking expressions of remorse from these communists in recent years The Cassette Tapes that caused the Iranian Revolution.


davtruss t1_j1mvd1x wrote

Even though the hostage crisis that coincided with the IR was daily news in the U.S. until the hostages were finally released just before Reagan's inauguration, very few Americans paid much attention to the war between Iran and Iraq from 1980-1988. Your point about that solidifying the IR is spot on because Saddam was also viewed as a secular American political puppet, not to mention Sunni Arab.

The death toll varies, but it is agreed to be somewhere between 1 million and 2 million, with Iran getting the worst of it. Iran countered Saddam's superior military with human wave tactics by soldiers as young as 15.


JethroFire t1_j1mr7ef wrote

The urban centers like Tehran didn't see widespread support for the Islamic Republic. The rural areas strongly supported it however. I'm not saying the vote was either legitimate or illegitimate, but those pictures you see if pre revolution Iran with people dressed like westerners was really indicative of life in the large cities.


[deleted] t1_j1pz9wd wrote



JethroFire t1_j1se918 wrote

Yeah that's a good analogy. Or like a picture of Beverly hills and equating it to all of LA


Hattix t1_j1m20xr wrote

Nobody ever "wants" democracy when in an autocratic state. What they want is what democracy promises, a change of leadership.

Khomeini was popular, but how do people learn that their opinion is positive about him? They don't know him. They've never met him. They were Muslims and knew that he was a religious leader, and that's all they needed.

Until the mid-1970s, Pahlavi had been Western-aligned. The West had destroyed Iranian democracy to install him as autocrat, and everyone was happy. Well, except the Iranians, but who cared about them?

Pahlavi was becoming extremely unpopular after the White Revolution, but while-ever Iran was prosperous and liberal, the people would be happy. Well, they weren't. Pahlavi was seen as a Western lackey, a stooge, he lacked authority of his own, was a Washington puppet and not a Persian leader. They questioned whether Westernisation was really progress.

They saw lots of impoverished Persians, yet Tehran was teeming with extremely rich foreigners. This was Pahlavi's public face in Iran by around 1977.

The USSR saw an opportunity to remove one of America's allies (this was a strategic victory for the USSR) and channelled a lot of support to left-leaning Islamic guerrilla forces, such as the People's Mujahideen. They rejected far-right conservative Islam, seeing religion as a tool to empower the people, not oppress them. They still exist today, as Khomeini turned on them the moment he had power.


jon_stout t1_j1mb0gd wrote

> Nobody ever "wants" democracy when in an autocratic state. What they want is what democracy promises, a change of leadership.

... may I ask what the distinction between the two is, in your mind?


Guachito t1_j1mds6f wrote

They weren’t fighting for democracy or any specific ideology, they just wanted a change of government because the Shah was did not have their best interest in mind and wasn’t doing a great job.


doktorhladnjak t1_j1n5oim wrote

I wouldn’t describe it that way. There were many factions fighting for democracy or ideologies. They only agreed with each other on getting rid of the Shah. So they were united in overthrowing the current regime.

Once that happened, there was another power struggle for who would control the new government. The religious hardliners won that struggle by consolidating power and eliminating opposition from the secular moderates.


vandunks t1_j1mdzz2 wrote

Not the other commenter but basically they want the previous ruler gone and replaced with someone else. Sometimes it turns out that the someone else is pretty shit. You don't want them, but you don't want the previous guy either. So you're stuck with someone you don't want, but you don't have the energy, willpower or economic stability to get rid of them too, at least for another couple of decades or until some nice foreign agency wants to install someone new, who you also probably won't like.

In democracy, this happens every four to six years with the revolution condensed into a couple of years of adverts, rallies, and the media telling you who you should or shouldn't like. Then you make your choice with the end goal that hopefully you got the least worst choice, and hopefully that guy you did have who you didn't like is gone. Or if the guy you didn't want gets in, you can complain for four years until you can try again. Meanwhile, you don't have any real power and which guy you choose is meaningless as they're all the same anyway.


Hattix t1_j1md1az wrote

Iran got a change of leadership, it did not get democracy.

In my mind.


ron4040 t1_j1maooc wrote

I couldn’t remember the exact notes i took some middle Eastern history classes years ago. I remember the Shah being essentially a puppet for the west but you had a lot more detail then I could remember off the top of my. During the revolution wasnt the shah in the states for a cancer treatment?


davtruss t1_j1mwpuo wrote

Yes, he fled into exile before being allowed entry to the U.S. for cancer treatment. Pretty sure he and his lovely bride were probably featured in Barbara Walters interviews both before and after the IR.


davtruss t1_j1mw3om wrote

Most of what you say is how the world viewed the situation. I posted before reading what you said but after being warned about the 20 year rule. I do think that fighting Iraq to a bloody stalemate during the eight year war solidified Khomeini's autocratic rule.

I don't presume to know how Iranians felt at the time of the 79 IR.


Hattix t1_j1njehn wrote

At the time, the world viewed a happy, prosperous, content Persia, a model for autocratic rule.

The Iranians were somewhat less happy than the world was shown!


JustLessWorld t1_j1p425o wrote

>They were Muslims and knew that he was a religious leader,

Majority of Iranians were either socialists or communists, as seen by the voting results of the 1952 election.

The muslim revolutionaries allied with the other groups during the revolution and gained control through superior organization.


trollanonymous t1_j1mgmle wrote

A lot of the stuff that Khomeini promised never ended up coming to fruition. It’s actually somewhat ironic as a lot of the tape recordings of his original speeches are now banned from being distributed since a lot of the stuff he promised he didn’t deliver.

The public wanted the Shah out, and while the Shah himself loved the country, his inner circle was corrupt and the focus was so much on modernizing that only major urban centers like Tehran and Shiraz were getting the focus, many rural areas were in such bad shape they weren’t even able to get everyday necessary supplies. Of course the corrupt circle was skimming off the top at the same time.

So you got a bunch of pissed off people from rural parts of the country, they are religious and you got Khomeini promising a bunch of government subsidies and well things start to turn sour. In addition, the Shah ended up getting his military upset at him in scenarios where he was using his military for stuff that upset his troops. For example, an Iranian helicopter pilot (who later died in the Iran-Iraq war and is a martyr considering the missions he volunteered for) interviewed later saying how he was trained to be a military helicopter pilot but during the 2500 year celebration of the Persian empire that the Shah organized at Persepolis, they had the pilot ferrying rice and cooking supplies back and forth from Tehran to Shiraz. Who knows if it’s true or not but again, people were upset, Shah was throwing lavish parties and households were hungry, Khomeini was promising free stuff in abundance, and here we are.


MsRadioactive t1_j1mr0y3 wrote

My relatives from Iran left before the revolution and moved to Chicago but the general consensus from what I’ve heard was that Shah Pahlavi was wasteful, “stole” from the people, he lived in opulence with gold bathroom fixtures, Persian silk rugs, expensive pets while his people lived in poverty. He was seen as ruthless. Ayatollah Khomeini lived modestly and represented traditional Islamic values that many feared were being lost under Pahlavi’s regime.


teketabi t1_j1m0kn7 wrote

In the Name of the Almighty [God] Provisional Government of Islamic Revolution The Interior Ministry Referendum Election Ballot Age-old [monarchial] regime change to Islamic republic, the constitution of which will be approved by the nation — Yes or No? This was the question and the big majority was supporting it


Few-Hair-5382 t1_j1mtv3d wrote

But many were simply voting for an end to the chaos and bloodshed of the revolution. A No vote would have prolonged this.

And the referendum was not a secret ballot. Bearded men wearing green military jackets manned poll stations and watched closely as people marked their ballot papers.


nikovee t1_j1mth7p wrote

All The Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer is a great read that provides a lot of insight into the events leading up to the Revolution, as well as how we got to where we are today.

In an nutshell, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC, later BP) pillaged oil from Iran, used slave labor, and treated the local population like subhumans. Local parliament got pissed, rose up against the Shah (Mohammed Reza, who was brutal towards his own people while living a lavish life himself, who fled the country and was granted refuge by western powers). Parliament elected charismatic leader Muhammed Mossadeq and effectively kicked out APOC. Western powers (especially UK) was pissed, partnered with the US who used the recently created CIA to carry out their first (of many to come) covert coup to overthrow the new Iran government and reinstate Mohammed Reza (the former Shah). Reza ruled for another 25 years, still the being the dick that he was. Things didn't go well, Shah got sick, made horrible decisions (or sometimes no decision at all), local populace was pissed more than ever and anti-western rhetoric became more and more popular, paving the way for the non-secular government to take hold of the country.


davtruss t1_j1mtxt6 wrote

As somebody who remembers how "Day 1" of the U.S. Embassy Hostage Crisis turned into Nightline, and who studied Iraqi/Iranian relations in the 1980s, I am in no position to tell you what the Iranian people "wanted" at the time of the revolution.

If you read the Wikipedia article about the Shah's nearly four decade reign, you might ask yourself, how did this guy fall to popular unrest? I'm pretty sure that the reforms he implemented economically, politically, and , militarily made Persian Iran stronger in all three respects.

The problem involved the sharing of the wealth and his handling of dissent. There are prisons still used today that the Shah used to jail political prisoners and his suppression of dissent was often brutal. But once you open yourself up for examination by the world, the world frowns upon brutal suppression of dissent. And the Shah's political enemies characterized him as a U.S. puppet on the world stage.

So, I don't think those who benefited from the Shah's reforms wanted a brutal, autocratic, extremist version of Sharia law to replace the good parts about the Shah's reforms. But one of the political benefits of a top down closed society is that it is resistant to world condemnation. The combination of religious fervor and economic deprivation focused like a laser beam on the the Shah's alleged political masters in Washington.


doktorhladnjak t1_j1n4izh wrote

When he came to power, the monarchy was mostly ceremonial (like how it is the UK today). The US and UK governments fomented a coup of the democratically government to give the shah absolute power.

It was mostly over the oil refinery complex (largest oil refinery in the world at that time) near the Iraq border in Abadan that British oil companies had built, that the democratically elected government had nationalized. This is the same refinery complex involved in the Iran/Iraq war that Saddam Hussein had tried to seize.


CaptainKasch t1_j1nhriq wrote

I dont mean this in the reddit way of like I dont believe you, but do you have a decent source? Id love to read more about it it sounds really fascinating


sourcreamus t1_j1now2k wrote

It is more complicated than what he said. The shahs father was the ruler but when he died there was a democratic government elected. The democratic government nationalized British oil which was wildly popular. Britain responded with an embargo. This tanked the economy. Mossadegh was the prime minister and called an election. Exit polls indicated his party was losing and he canceled the election. He then started to rule without parliament. Britain and the US then paid for a coup that installed the Shah as ruler. The Shah planned to restore democracy but predictably never got around to it.


JustLessWorld t1_j1p3m7e wrote

Not defending mossadeghs course of action.

But lets not forget that the CIA was paying royalists to influence the outcome of the election, hence why mossadegh called it off, as it was being manipulated by foreign agents.

He should've provided proof of said agents before calling the elections to strengthen his position.


CaptainKasch t1_j1qpab6 wrote

Those with absolute power and never getting around to devolving it; name a more iconic duo lol. Cheers for the info.


[deleted] t1_j1m5dgt wrote



Designer-Brief-9145 t1_j1mcf1c wrote

The revolution was a big tent group that included Islamists, a spectrum of leftists, and people who wanted a system more similar to what was proposed in the Revolution of 1906. The term Islamic Republic was vague enough to appeal to a lot of different people. The US letting the deposed Shah into the country for medical treatment and the ensuing hostage crisis hardened anti-Western views and gave legitimacy to the theocrats. The clerical establishment were able to maneuver their way into more and more power from 1979 until the end of the 80s through a variety of tactics.


LocoForChocoPuffs t1_j1n51t1 wrote

There was a recent American Experience documentary on the Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis that you might find interesting: Part 1 |Taken Hostage | American Experience | Season 34 | Episode 5 - PBS It's focused on the US involvement, but the first episode goes into some detail about the history leading up to the revolution.

My take, based largely on this documentary, is that everyone agreed that they wanted the Shah and the US out, but they disagreed on what form they wanted the new government to take. And the moderates lost the resulting power struggle, in part because of how Islamists crushed dissent, and also because many moderates were viewed with suspicion due to potential Western ties.

It's certainly the case that many women who participated in the revolution did so expecting an expansion or at least continuation of their rights, not the oppression that resulted.


tsimen t1_j1myicf wrote

I think there is a very common misconception in the west that equates public opinion in the capital cities, where the wealthy and educated live, with public opinion in the country. That's why, when a few 100 people protest in Moscow or Beijing western media report it as massive protests even though these people represent maybe 2% of the population. I can imagine a similar dissonance in Persia/Iran.


Peter_deT t1_j1oico6 wrote

They overwhelmingly wanted the shah gone. What came after was not agreed.

I lived in Iran (teaching ) in 78, had Iranian friends and have tried to follow things since. Iran as a whole has several splits - it's basically all Shi'a, which is a fairly flexible branch of Islam (you choose your ayatollah and follow his teachings, but can switch - and it acknowledges the need to interpret the Koran and hadith in the light of modernity). But the urban middle and upper classes are all closely connected and look back to the pre-Islamic Persian past as much as to Shi'ism (if you are named Darioush or Kyroush then you're 'Persian', Hassan and Ali and Reza are Shi'a names).

The urban poor and rural people were offended by the Shah's corruption and over-riding traditional norms, and disturbed by his Westernisation. The middle and upper classes were outraged by the corruption and the abuses of the secret police, and also offended by the vulgar side of westernisation. They united against the shah after a couple of incidents. The established opposition politicians (people like Bazargan) were rejected when it became clear they were fence-sitters.

After the shah fled, it became a struggle between Khomeini (whose political theories were and are controversial), as the leader of the poor and the committed Shi'a - who wanted a Shi'a republic - and the middle classes who wanted something more like the Mossadegh period. Khomeini won. The new constitution was approved by referendum, with a high turn-out, despite calls from some opposition for a boycott (the margin is exaggerated, but it was widely endorsed). The Iraqi attack consolidated the regime.

Since then Iran has evolved from a petro-state to a mid-sized industrial power. Sanctions have spurred this - and also cemented a sense of grievance. Middle class protests break out every few years, and the politics continue to swing within a limited range.


aaronupright t1_j1ti7zz wrote

Hassan, Ali and Reza are absolutely not “Shia” names. While the names are popular amongst Shias, they are also popular amongst Muslims generally.


Peter_deT t1_j1whqp7 wrote

Just contrasting Iranian names (old Persian vs religious), not Muslim names generally.


l397flake t1_j1mn4el wrote

Being a westerner but from an area of many military coups, I can understand about repression no matter where it comes from. I don’t really know what goes on in Iran, I hear and see many awful things. It’s up to the people to figure it out and act, no matter which way it goes, it will be bloody, that’s the price. I have worked with a few Iranians in guess what , engineering, construction, business in the US. They are very nice people.


Equal_Memory_661 t1_j1n78uy wrote

I was 9 years old. I mostly wanted to find it on a map.


nzdennis t1_j1nzpv9 wrote

Khomeini got in on the populist vote. He promised: no corruption, fairness, equality for all. But, he didn't say by what means this will be brought in (by adherence to shari'a law, not by democratic law).


dansknorge t1_j1oha27 wrote

It was a socialist urban revolution, that was popular with students, but which got coopted into a nationalist revolution.

The same happened in Vietnam and Korea and you could say Cuba.

Most socialist revolutions seem to end up in nationalist fascism.


Josquius t1_j1pwrwf wrote

The thing with Iran isn't that dictatorship beat democracy. On the contrary, Iran is/was pretty democratic.

The trouble is, as seen in the wake of the Arab spring, democracy in a very Conservative Muslim country often does lead to Islamicists rising to power - and much like the hard right in the west, they tend not to be too big on democracy once they use it to secure power.

Iranians we are likely to meet in the west are pretty well off city dwellers. Hence the image of Iranians as absolute vodka swigging party animals.

The rural poor have a very different outlook. Just think about how different life is for rural and urban people in Western countries and multiply it several times over.


Welshhoppo t1_j1lxi30 wrote

Remember the 20 year rule. Comments on the current situation in Iran are not appropriate.


Int_peacemaker35 t1_j1npvdp wrote

Great book and movie. I’ve always been interested in Iranian/Persian culture. As a 9 year old kid growing up in Canada, my mom made me watch “Not without my Daughter” starring Sally Field and Alfred Molina. I now know this movie exposes an exaggerated perspective on Iranian culture under Islamic rule but understanding the real Iranian culture is difficult since Iran is considered a pariah.


mountainskygirl t1_j1nqfdk wrote

Societies in that area of the world follow different family and mating patterns. They’re organized more patrilineally along the father’s line, resulting in what’s called Father’s Brothers Daughter, or FBD marriage. It’s where cousins marry within the man’s family, so if a man has a son, the son would marry his dad’s uncle’s daughter, which essentially creates a band of brothers.

I’m guessing the Islamic Revolution promoted this kind of traditional structure that’d probably been in existence for generations. Perhaps the resistance to the shah wasn’t so much about modernity as it was about upsetting the patriarchy by giving women rights. The revolution may have been a backlash against modern changes in spite of a thriving economy under the Shah.


aurelius3213 t1_j1nqhs0 wrote

Thank you for this post. I recently found the recent HBO documentary series on the Iran Hostage crisis, the first episode provides the build up in the 1970's, the local socio-economic situation, amidst the larger geo-political context. Fascinating how the US completely misread the volatile situation on the ground in Iran. Yet another cold war causality with the Iranian people being the primary victim.

One aspect, I find particularly interesting is the Carter admin mishandling, ironically as they had a major human rights initiative. When Carter continued backing the Shah in spite of human rights abuses, this hypocrisy fueled even more anti-American sentiment. What a lost opportunity to support serious change and reform in the Middle East.

I found this paper that addresses the Carter humanitarian issue:


I am about to take a deep dive into this, no doubt this is a case study taught in political science.


CaptainCAPSLOCKED t1_j1o1bzt wrote

The vast majority of Iran wanted what they got. The westernized minority, who were a very small minority, wanted democracy.

That westernized minority make up the majority of Iranian expats in the west. If you listen to them you will get the feeling that Khomeini gaining power was a fluke and that no one wanted him, but that's not the truth.


JustLessWorld t1_j1p4s9p wrote

>The vast majority of Iran wanted what they got.

This is a skewed generalization of Irans political representation.

You can look at the 1952 elections of mossadegh, and you'll see that communism and socialist parties had a far higher votes than the religious ones.

The revolution consisted of three groups, roughly equal in size. The religious group siezed power due to superior organizational capabilities.


CrypticResponseMan1 t1_j1o5xe3 wrote

What’s the 20-year rule and why does it matter?


MeatballDom t1_j1oclu4 wrote

All discussions on the sub must be about events that happened at least 20 years ago (and of course follow the other rules too). But that one is non negotiable.

It matters because everything that happens is part of history, and thus historical. But to keep ourselves from being overwhelmed with modern events -- which the r/news r/politics r/worldnews etc subreddits cover perfectly, we ensure that there is a large gap between the present and the past to maintain something which sets us apart from other subreddits.


ThatGIRLkimT t1_j1onokg wrote

It might be less corruption way back then


Sayurimai t1_j1oxhy6 wrote

So I’m actually watching an interview on California Insider, with woman activist former Iranian citizen; Sufi Farokhnia.

She had described the revolution going back and comparing to now, in the current revolution. Apparently Khoumeini had promised everyone free water and electricity etc etc. well there was a vote. Khoumeini like another President was running a campaign from a plush arrangement in France. There was a referendum asking the citizens to choose between two options. “Republic or not,” with everyone assuming that monarchy opposed the republic. Everyone voted republic, and apparently on the last day of the tallies “Islamic” was added just before republic. What would called bamboozling the entire population.

The people of Iran heard rumors and were growing restless and losing their patience with the late lord Pahlavi. Rumors of unjust killing in questioning the monarch, which the people were right to do. Pahlavi from my understanding was dubbed by the media as “the briefcase monarch.” He was little more than a figure head, and when pressure boiled over or began to he would just leave. Vacation somewhere exotic.

That created the problem, Pahlavi may have helped modernize and westernize Persia. In the word of one my favorite actresses of all time Shohreh Aghdashloo “Tehran was the Paris of the Middle East.” Of course no country was perfect and when Pahlavi’s desk was filled with complaints he would leave. He removed himself from his people. Literally out of touch.

Khoumeini who was exiled in Iraq was somehow put into France where he campaigned. Promising people all this freedom of material and goods for nothing more than loyalty. He rallied the religious whom felt their country was becoming to decadent, pacified the freedom fighters with empty promises.

The Pahlavi family during a revolution was spirited away, if memory serves; to the Bahamas, Mexico, the US, and eventually permanent exile to Cairo. Where his widow Farah whom now resides in exile in France annually visits the grave of her late husband. Accompanied with supporters of the monarchy.

To make a long story short (to late) politics gambled. A distant relative of a near lost lineage was educated in the west. He then westernized his country as the face without knowing the inner workings. Some may say he was to accustomed to luxury to care, and the freedom fighters that sparked the revolution. He wasn’t a good figure head.

The people of Iran were twice bamboozled. First by a figurehead whom gorged on food and finance while his people starved. Any questions were met with cruelty. The second time came when supreme ruler Khomeini made false promises, collected public favor and turned around stabbing the literal hand that fed him.

The current revolution (if anyone is curious) began, when a young Kurdish girl failed to follow customs she didn’t know existed. Iran has separated their provinces by ethnicity, each ethnicity of Iran may follow the same religion but not always the same customs. To the west this may sound awkward but I’m from Asia and these two things culturally blend but are very easily separated and defined.

In a country locked down filled with propaganda, that people stomach knowing it’s fake simply needed a spark. Imagine Iran like a bomb or propane tank, such devices need to be handled with care. The Iranian government is a new employee whom bangs these bombs or tanks left and right, knowing it’s wrong. The employee does not care, the tank is under stress and it just takes one more dent or careless swing to set off a chain of events.

Below is a link to California Insider, and the story of Queen Pahlavi: The Queen and I. The first being an interview and summary of Iran’s history with revolutions. The second a documentary, an Iranian protesting freedom fighter and film maker from Sweden. She interviews and documents the Highness Farah Pahlavi while narrating her own perspective on what the revolution was.


nova9001 t1_j1p28a5 wrote

I think most Iranians at that time were disappointing in the West and anything to do with them like democracy. You have remember the Western powers were the ones who put the Shah into power and causing so much suffering in Iran.

Its not surprised Iran turned into a religious dictatorship after the revolution. That's pretty much how every country in ME is run except Israel. People on reddit seem surprised Iran isn't a democracy.


aaronupright t1_j1ti03i wrote

Just want to point out that the “educated v religious” dichotomy that many posters assume, didn’t exist. Khomeini and his immediate followers were highly educated men. Shia Islam has long has a tradition of scholarship amongst its clerical class.


MOHAMMAD-KING t1_j1ulu6v wrote

Be independent and free from west and not be slaves and better life in terms of economy and islamic culture get used in laws and life


AgoraiosBum t1_j1vet0k wrote

It's like the apocryphal quote about Nixon by Pauline Kael (which she didn't actually say): “I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him." Kael was a New York film critic, so the joke here is that in the urban intelligentsia, she and her friends were not Nixon fans. But of course, that circle in New York City does not represent a giant country like the US, nor would upper class liberals in Tehran represent a country that was primarily peasant farmers and villagers, who were conservative and religious.

A plurality of the people did support Kohmeini, although they didn't necessarily know what he would implement. Some of the first things they did when coming to power was crack down on those who would oppose them (a good revolutionary always consolidates the revolution...), which ended up being a lot of people involved in getting rid of the Shah. Revolutions tend to devour their children...

The actual quote was " ‘I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.” Which certainly shows a self-awareness about her circle.


Abject_Ad1879 t1_j2bl0pv wrote

In the paranoid years of the Cold War, countries had to either be aligned either to the West (US, NATO, Japan, Australia, etc.) or East (Soviet Union or Eastern Block Countries). In the 1950's, Iran voted in Mosadeq--who wanted to nationalize oil production for the benefit of Iran rather than BP's shareholders. With the help of the CIA Mosadeq was ousted and the Shah was installed. The Shah plundered Iran, and the secret police were everywhere. I think the biggest thing that Iranian's were feeling was 'Yay, we got rid of the Shah' and were very optimistic for independence from being a Cold War pawn. Unfortunately, the student's taking US Embassy workers hostage and the return of Kohemeni (and his hardline views) did not have the 'silver lining' that many Iranians still want today.


mee3uk t1_j1o09l3 wrote

If you want to know what the Iranian people thought of Khomeini rather than the western propaganda, look at the video footage of his funeral. No western leader will ever get such huge gatherings for their funerals, even the British Queen that recently died didn’t get large crowds relative to Khomeini.


kaestiel t1_j1mp8bu wrote

Probably whatever the US State Department told them to want. Lol