Iran’s 1979 Revolution: The aftermath of Shah’s brutal crackdown on dissent
Mohammed Reza Shah was born in Tehran in 1919 and was the second king or Shah of Pahlavi’s dictatorship. In his early years of reign, he faced democratic politics in Iran and responded with absolute oppression, and tied his regime to foreign powers. To strengthen his regime, Shah focused on the army and gradually curtailed the powers of parliament and the press. He clashed with dissidents, including Mohammad Mossadegh, who pushed for the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry.
In 1951, Mosaddegh became Prime Minister and rejected Shah’s illegitimate interference in the government. However, the Shah was restored to power with the help of the US and Britain in a coup known as “Operation Ajax.” Mosaddegh was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison before being placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. The Shah then replaced the nationalized oil company with an international oil consortium that shared Iran’s oil riches with American companies.
Shah launched two major programs with US support, the first being ‘The White Revolution,’ which was meant to help poor farmers but actually served to preserve traditional power patterns and safeguard Shah’s rule. The land reforms benefited the ruling elite, and the Pahlavi family became prominent commercial farmers. The second program involved the creation of the Rastakhiz Party, which was controlled by the regime and became Iran’s only political party, turning the country into a one-party state.
In 1958, the US helped Shah form the SAVAK secret police, and he began a crackdown on opposition movements, including radical Islamists like Ruhollah Khomeini. By the early 1970s, Shah’s modernization and political oppression policies had started to backfire, causing disenchantment among Iran’s population. The increased oil revenue from the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1973 didn’t help the economy and increased inflation and prices of consumer goods.
Shah continued to oppress freedoms, banning all political groups except for the Rastakhiz Party, which further fueled demands for his overthrow. From 1977 to 1979, the revolution began to form, and in 1979, Iranians finally achieved their freedom. The Iranian people paid a heavy price for their freedom, but the 1979 revolution remains a testament to the power of the people’s desire for freedom and democracy.
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Tags: Iran human rights, Iran Opposition, Iran Protests, Iran Uprising, Maryam Rajavi, Regime Change