May 8, 2007
The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution, was the overthrowing of the Constitutional Monarchy of Iran, lead by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and its replacement with an Islamic Republic lead by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (“Iranian Revolution”). The official declaration of the Islamic Republic in Iran came on April 1, 1979, when a near unanimous vote abolished the previous monarchy (“History of Iran”). An Islamic Republic is a theocratic form of government advocated by Muslims where in all laws and penalties must coincide with the Sharia, a body of Islamic law (“Islamic Republic”). This form of government that is based on a radical religious system can and does encourage the many violent acts of terrorists today. What remains little known in today’s society is that the United States, along with various other nations, spent many resources and much money attempting to control the outcomes of these internal Middle Eastern events. This was done in order that the United States and its allies would benefit from the results. In almost every circumstance, these attempts either failed or even had adverse affects. Being that the Middle East is again in one of these greatly unstable situations, it is important to remember the outcomes of such interventions. Although it is undeniable that some action was necessary in order to protect the wellbeing of the United States and its allies, it is important to apply the lessons learned from past experiences.
Iran is the descendant of one of the longest lasting and most influential empires in Ancient History. As far back as 10,000 BC, archeologists believe that early humans were conglomerating in the Middle East. Many believe the reason for this to be that this was one of the few areas to escape the last ice age. Over the next few thousand years, the area known today as Iran, was influenced by people from all over the ancient world. It wasn’t until the sixth century BC that Cyrus the Great founded the Persian Empire (A Brief History of Iran). Persia was invaded and ruled by a number of different Monarchs throughout the years but it was when the Arabs invaded in the seventh century that the Islamic Religion took hold over the out dated Zoroastrianism beliefs of early Persians (“History of Iran”). Unlike many of the other ancient empires, the Persians seemed to stay in the spotlight despite being conquered several times by various rulers. It was during the Safavid dynasty in the 1600’s that Persia took the name Iran (“The birth of Modern Iran”). It was apparently more of a non-official name change because both Persia and Iran remained expectable names. Even as recent as the 1600’s, Europe recognized Persia as a superpower. During this time period the Shah Abbas 1st was in power and during his reign he amassed large armies and seized many neighboring territories (Shah Abbas I). This new power must have caused much concern for the European countries since most were involved in ongoing internal feuds and would find it diffifcult to defend against any additional threat. By the seventeenth century, many European countries had established footholds in the Middle East, undoubtedly to curb this new threat, which intern caused Iran to loose control of many of its recently acquired territories (“History of Iran”). Two major events took place in the early 1900’s that began a new era for Persia, and for its European neighbors. The first began with the increasing hatred that the Iranian people developed for the ruling Absolute Monarchy and eventually lead to the Constitutional Revolution. This was a push for a more democratic type of government and on August 5, 1906 the Mosafar O-din Shah was forced to issue a decree establishing the elected parliament and a constitution (Iran Chamber Society “Constitutional Revolution”). The Constitutional Monarchy that arose allowed for the Shah to remain in control, with limited power given to the parliament