ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How is individuality a source of power? The History of Iran and the Iranian Revolution
The Basic Story of Iran • One of world’s oldest civilizations • First Iranian nation founded by Medes in 7th Century BC • Originally called Persia • Changed to Iran in 1935 under Reza Shah (SHAH is their name for KING) • Country often invaded basic culture survived
Qajar Dynasty 1794-1925 • Early 1800’s, Russians wanted access to Persian Gulf and the British wanted to keep their trade route to India. • The Qajars needed the money, so they made deals with both countries. • Both the British and Russians started to take over Iran banks, mining, control of Iranian industries. • The Qajar shahs grew wealthy, but the Iranian economy declined. • The Iranian people grew angry and, in response, the shah at the time (see picture) created a constitution to save himself and his reign. • Thus, Iran’s first elected legislature, the Majlis, was formed.
Reza Shah Reza Shah Pahlavi was a general in the Persian army who: • Led the rebellion to overthrow the last Qajar shah in 1923. • Sought to modernize Iran. • Reduced the power of the clergy—no longer was the ISLAMIC CHURCH in charge. • Built a national education system and opened the University of Tehran. • Gave women the right to vote for the Majlis and freed them from Islamic obligation to wear the head-to-toe chador at all times. Men began wearing suits instead of traditional Iranian clothes. • Ordered the first railroad to cross the country to be built.
World War II • The Allied forces, especially Britain and Russia, wanted to ensure that Iranian oil would continue to reach the front. • Both nations sent troops into Iran to prevent Nazi Germany from gaining control there. • However, Reza Shah favored Germany because • he resented British and Soviet intrusions • many Germans were living and working in Iran at the time.
Mohammad Reza Shah • In 1941, the British and the Soviets forced Reza Shah Pahlavi out of power. • His twenty-one year old son, Mohammad Reza, replaced him as shah. • Early on, he was heavily influenced by the British, who still controlled the oil companies. He wanted to make them happy.
The White Revolution • The White Revolution was so called because it was a bloodless revolution
Economic and Social Improvements • Spread large estates owned by one family among many small farmers • Gave factory workers share in the factory • Created free meals program for students • National Iranian income rose quite high for an extended period • Literacy, health, education, and infrastractureall improved. • University students were sent to study in other countries tuition free and expenses covered
Modernization under the Shah • Women could now hold public office, enter all of the profession, and dress in Western garb • Women could also vote • Literacy among women improved • Outlawed child marriage, polygamy, and education segregation • Women became ministers and judges
International Relations • Close friend and ally to the U.S. • Friendly relations with Eastern and European countries, the state of Israel, and China • Maintained friendly relations with other Middle Eastern countries; such as Iraq
Industry • Improved steel, automobile, and telecommunications • Built power plants, dams, roads, and rail roads • Developed academic institutions to support industry
Corruption under the Shah • The shah outlawed all political parties but his own, because many were plotting communist or Islamic takeover • Freedom of speech was limited—those who spoke out against him were imprisoned, while some were killed. • Secret police: “SAVAK”
Opposition to the Shah’s Rule Huge protests against the shah became common. Opposition grew in the 1970s, especially among two groups: • Communist-inspired students and intellectuals who wanted a communist take over • Muslim fundamentalists, believers in the strictest possible interpretation of Islamic doctrine. Many religious leaders felt his changes were a threat to Islam.
Khomeini A Muslim leader named Ayatollah Khomeini was one of the shah’s most vocal opponents. He damned the shah for being corrupt and in the pocket of the United States.
The Islamic Revolution • The Shah fled the country in fear for his life in 1979. • Ayatollah Khomeini became “real” leader • Declared Iran an Islamic Republic—the clerics must rule. • Iran became a true theocracy: official religion is also the supreme government authority.
Khomeini and The Islamic Revolution Khomeini ruled with an iron fist: • Death to those who supported/worked with the shah • Women forced to wear chador and walk only with male relative in public • The University of Tehran closed for two years • Newspapers shut down • History books re-written • Schools divided by sex • Many Iranians fled (Westernized intellectuals, those associated with the shah, or those who simply had grown accustomed to the Western style)
Can Religious governments promote individual freedom? • If anyone had believed that Khomeini would keep his promises to respect free speech and the rights of religious minorities they soon realized which way the wind was blowing in the new Iran. The Shah had barely left town when clerics began setting up mock courts to try criminals of the revolution and Islam. Supporters of the Shah were obvious targets. But other groups that were “morally corrupt” also were hauled before the conservative mullahs who acted as judge, jury, and executioner. Homosexuals, adulterers, prostitutes, communists and all sorts of other anti-revolutionaries were hauled before these religious courts who handed out death sentences like candy on Halloween. • From gohistorygo.com
THE US IS NOW VIEWED AS AN ENEMY OF IRAN FOLLOWERS OF KHOMEINI TAKE OVER THE US EMBASSY IN IRAN
Iran Hostage Crisis In 1979, Reza Shah allowed to enter U.S. Iranian students went to U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 50 people hostage. They demanded that the U.S. send the shah back to Iran to stand trial, but the U.S. refused. The hostages were held for more than a year.
Iran-Iraq War In 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. Saddam Hussein wanted to take advantage of Iran’s chaos War lasted eight years and affected cities, oil facilities, people
Iran-Iraq War Each country maintained an army of 600,000 To keep forces staffed, both sides enlisted boys as young as 11 or 12 years old Each side claimed this as a “holy war.” Cease-fire was declared in 1988
After Khomeini Khomeini died in 1989 and millions of people mourned in the streets. A moderate cleric named Ayatollah Muahmmad Khatami became president in 1997. Hoping to improve the status of women and give more people a voice, he was also friendlier to the West. He was unable to accomplish much due to resistance from more conservative and powerful government leaders.
Today In 2005, Moahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former mayor of Tehran, won the presidency. He turned Iran in a more conservative direction. Iran continues to have strained relations with the West, especially the United States.
The GreenMovement • In 2009, Ahmadinejad won re-election though many feel electoral fraud took place. Protests broke out • Despite the relative peaceful nature of the protests, the Police suppressed them by using batons, pepper spray, sticks and, in some cases, firearms. Thirty-six people died. • Opposition groups have also reported that thousands more have been arrested and tortured in prisons around the country, with former inmates alleging mass rape of men, women, and children by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
Culture: Movies • Before 1979 • Hollywood movies were available in Iran • After 1979 • Few films • Religious in nature • Few female actors, certainly none unveiled
Culture: Sports • Before 1979 • Track and field • Fencing • Gymnastics • Soccer • Cricket • Volleyball • International competitions • After 1979 • Some soccer • No international competitions • Some track and field • NO women’s sports (due to the veil requirement)
BBC Film and other links • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta6HZUltE2E • Short similarities/differences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oij99bDBoOY