The Iranian Revolution

Iran is a country located in the Middle East. The main source
of income for the country is oil, the one object that had greatly
influenced its history. Iran's present government is run as an Islamic
Republic. A president, cabinet, judicial branch, and Majilesor or
legislative branch, makes up the governmental positions. A revolution
that overthrew the monarch, which was set in 1930, lasted over 15
years. Crane Brinton's book, An Anatomy of a Revolution, explains set
of four steps a country experiences when a revolution occurs.
Symptoms, rising fever, crisis, and convalescence are the steps that
occur. The Iranian Revolution followed the four steps in Crane
Brinton's theory, symptoms, rising fever, crisis, and convalescence
occurred.

Numerous symptoms led to the crumbling downfall of Reza Shah
Pahlavi, ruler of Iran until 1978. One of these symptoms is rising
expectations which can be seen during the 1960's and 70's. The rich
Shah cleared the way for the land reform law, enacted in 1962. The
land minority had to give up its land to the government, and among
those stripped of land, were the Shi'ah Muslims. Iran's power
structure was radically changed in a program termed the "White
Revolution". On January 26, 1963, the White Revolution was endorsed by
the nation. By 1971, when land distribution ended, about 2,500,000
families of the farm population benefited from the reforms. From
1960-72 the percentage of owner occupied farmland in Iran rose from
26 to 78 percent. Per capita income rose from $176 in 1960 to $2,500
in 1978. From 1970-77 the gross national product was reported to
increase to an annual rate of 7.8% ("Iran" 896). As a result of this
thriving economy, the income gap rapidly widened. Exclusive homes,
extravagant restaurants, and night clubs and streets loaded with
expensive automobiles served as daily reminders of a growing income
spread. This created a perfect environment for many conflicts to arise
between the classes.

Iran's elite class consisted of wealthy land owners,
intelligencia, military leaders, politicians, and diplomats. The Elite
continued to support the monarchy and the Shah. The peasants were
victim of unfulfilled political expectations, surveillance by the
secret police, and the severe social and economic problems that
resulted from modernization. The middle class favored socialism over
capitalism, because capitalism in their view supported the elite, and
does not benefit the lower classes. The middle class was the most
changeable element in the group, because they enjoyed some of the
privileges of the elite, which they would like to protect. At the same
time, they believed that they had been cheated by the elite out of
their share of the industrialization wealth (Orwin 43).

About this time, the middle class, which included students,
technocrats, and modernist professionals, became discontent with
the economy. The key event should have further stabilized the royal
dictatorship, but the increase in oil prices and oil income beginning
in 1974 caused extreme inflation. This was due to the investment
strategy followed by the Shah, which led to a spectacular 42% growth
rate in 1974. (Cottam 14). And because of the Shah's support structure
which enabled the new rich to benefit from inflation, the government
effort to deal with inflation was aimless. Poor Iranians and Iranians
with a fixed income suffered major losses in real income. Better
ezdards of living were no longer visible. Thus, the majority of the
Iranian people developed a revolutionary predisposition.

As the middle class became discontent in Iran throughout the
1970's, the desertion of intellectuals could be found in great excess.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini represented much of the discontent of the
religious sector of Iran. For speaking out against the Shah's
autocratic rule, Khomeini was exiled to Turkey in 1963. In 1965,
Khomeini moved to Iraq where he became the central spokesperson for
expatriate opposition to the Shah. On October 6, 1978, Khomeini was
expelled from Iraq and moved to Paris, where he was accessible to a
larger body of opposition forces. He was also accessible to the
Western Press. Khomeini preached that he would displace the Shah and
expel the foreigners. He also said he would enforce religious and
traditional values, and redirect Iran's wealth away from large
industrialization schemes and toward reforms needed by the common
people.

Throughout the 1970's, Khomeini gained tremendous popularity
with the masses, and he became the symbol of the opposition towards
the Shah. As Khomeini gained popularity, many religious groups grew in
numbers