All public domain photos via Iranian.com, unless otherwise stated, and where possible accredited to their original owner.
Thirty years ago Iran’s revolution began with a popular democratic movement and ended with the establishment of one of the world’s primary Islamic states. Today the oppressiveness of such theocracies and the threat of Islamic Jihadists dominate the international agenda, and it is hard to imagine a time when they won’t. Environmental Graffiti has decided to take a closer look at an event that lies at the heart of the West’s difficulties with Iran.
Image via wikimedia
Shah Reza Pahlavi ruled as emperor of Iran for nearly forty years before the events of 1979 forced him from power, eventually driving him to death through ill health. The pro-Western Pahlavi was seen as beholden to – if not a puppet of – the West, whose overly ambitious economic programs had only served to widen the gap between Iran’s rich and poor. Furthermore there was widespread distrust of his brutal autocratic style, his extravagant lifestyle and what was commonly perceived as a gradual westernising and secularising of Iran presided over by Pahlavi.
Opposition voices rallied round Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shia cleric living in exile in Paris after challenging the Shah in the early 1960s. Khomeini promised social and economic reform, as well as a return to traditional religious values and a state where Islam formed both the sole religion and dominant political ideology (under strictly enforced Sharia law) – a platform that struck a chord with disenfranchised Iranians.