The Islamic Republic of Iran

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Flag of Reza Shah from 1933-1964 CE

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Imperial Flag used from 1964-1979 [2]

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Flag of Interim Government 1979-1980 [3]

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Flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran 1980-present [4]


D'Arcy Oil Concession

In 1901, the Qajar government of Persia (present day Iran) granted the Middle East's first oil concession to William Knox d'Arcy. This concession contained 18 articles and gave overwhelming power to consortia, operating outside of the purvue of a state, to exploit the natural resources of a foreign country. In his book The Modern Middle East James Gelvin points that historians often trace the exploitation of Middle Eastern oil back to this very concession. (Gelvin, 248)
It is very apparent, from reading over the articles of the agreement, that this concession was written in a manner to benefit the concessioner. The concessioner, for instance, maintained exclusive rights to exploit any petroleum, asphalt, and ozokerite for a period of 60 years. The concessioner was also extended the right to obtain any uncultivated land necessary to obtain said resources, or to build wells, pipelines, or refineries. In exchange for these rights, the concessioner was required to pay the Imperial Government 16% of its net profits in addition to 2,000 Tomans annually.
d_Arcy Oil Concession.pdf

The New Order

Shortly after becoming the Cossack Brigade commander in 1920, Reza Khan was encouraged to force his way into the Persian high government by the British. Reza responded by marching his 3,000 man brigade on Tehran, forcing the Shah to capitulate the position of defense minister. In 1926, after shrewd political actions, Reza Khan declared himself to be Shah. In the same vein of Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, and Benito Mussolini of Italy, Reza saw himself as a nationalist and a modernizer. Calling this the "New Order", Reza instituted sweeping reforms such as economic development, national consolidation, and westernization.
In an effort to consolidate his desired national identity, Reza bolstered the military and bureaucracy while at the same time declaring war on any secessionist movements that may threaten said identity. One of the most lasting, and obvious, changes Reza made to his country's identity was its name. Through tracing his nation's lineage he found it rooted in the Aryan nomadic warriors. So in the 1930s Persia became known as Iran. In another effort to distinguish Iran from the Arab states and Turkey, the Shah commissioned the Iranian academy to purify the Persian language (Farsi) of any Turkish or Arabic words. This was an impossible task however, as Farsi borrows roughly 40% of its vocabulary from these two languages.
The Shah also implemented several measures in order to reform his nation's economy. He nationalized forms of infrastructure such as the telegraph system, post offices, and customs. Reza also canceled all foreign concessions, and set up a national bank to take the place of Britain's Imperial Bank. In an attempt to modernize by withdrawal from the world economic system, the Shah sought to become economically independent and produce all products domestically. To assist the domestic industries he enforced high tariffs on all imports so as to reduce the attractiveness of foreign goods.
One of the primary tenants of the Shah's "New Order" was the concept of Westernization. Primarily Reza associated Westernization with secularization, and he took many measures in this direction. He took the ulama out of positions of authority, and effectively replaced shar'ia law with the implementation of the French Civil Law Code and the Italian Penal
Code. Not content with secularization, Reza sought to regulate the clothing of his citizenry. He forbade women to wear the veil and forced men to wear western style clothing and brimmed hats which did not permit one of the positions for prayer. Iran also began mandating education for women. This was not a purely altruistic measure, however, as the Shah saw this in the same light as Mussolini, a means to ensure "Public Patriarchy". [5]

Women in Revolutionary Iran

زنان در انقلاب ایران

Visit this link

Visit this link. The Iranian Chamber Society claims that the Iranian Revolution benefited women.

Influential Figures

Shirin Ebadi (1943 - )
Shirin Ebadi was born to a family of practicing Muslim academics and attended primary and secondary school in Iran. She attended Tehran University and obtained a law degree and then received her doctorate in 1971. She
became the first woman to serve as a judge within the Iranian justice system. Because of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Ebadi was removed from her post along with all of the other women involved in law. After some social struggles, Ebadi became "housebound" for some years and finally obtained a license for her own law practice in 1992.
Since then, she has represented many national high-profile cases within Iran, teaches university level classes and has started a family of her own. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. On the website, the organization quotes "for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children."

Reza Shah Pahlavi
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Reza Khan was born in 1878 in the remote village of Alasht. He would serve in both the Cossack Brigade and the Iranian army, eventually being ranked colonel in 1915. A British coordinated coup in 1921 would lead Reza to become war minister of Iran. In 1923 he would become Prime Minster and in 1925 with help of the Parliament he would remove Ahmad Mirza, the Shah of Iran. Reza would become Shah of Iran and took the name Reza Shah Pahlavi at this time. During his time as Shah would make many reforms in government, society, education, politics etc. However, because of his pro-Nazism he would be overthrown by the British and Russians and replaced with his son, Mohammad Reza. He would die in 1944 exiled from his county. (citation

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi
He was born in Tehran in 1919 to Reza Shah, who would later become Shah of Iran. He would go to school in Switzerland and a military school in Tehran. In 1941 he would replace his father as shah of Iran. Like his father he tried to modernize Iran, including creating the White Revolution. His modernizations, secularization, and autocracy would lead to dissent in Iran. After many uprisings, the shah would leave Iran in 1979. Iran would then become an Islamic Republic. He would die in exile in 1980. (citation

Ayatollah Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini
The leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. A national referendum after the revolution named him the Supreme Leader, the highest religious and political position within the Islamic Republic and one he held until his death in June of 1989. He is essentially the main advocate of the form of an Islamic government, or in other words, a political system in which clerics called Islamic jurists are the leaders. The theory of Islamic government he advanced in his writings is called velayat-e faqih, and it calls for a guardianship of the clerics over the people. The referendum for installing an Islamic Republic in place of the monarchy was approved by an amazing 98% of the people in 1979. That same year, Khomeini was named Man of the Year by Time Magazine. The magazine contained many articles about the Iranian Revolution including the U.S.'s perception of the event as well as an interview with Ayatollah Khomeini. It is interesting to note the cover of the magazine which portrays the Khomeini as a mean, harsh, and essentially scary man. This is the general image archetype of the Supreme Leader that Americans were shown during this era.


Mohammed Khatemi (1943- )
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad (1956- )

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Cinema of Iran

**Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran**

Reading the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran tells you a lot about the way the Iranian
state is supposed to work. It encompasses a host of ideas that may seem, at first blush, contradictory. It combines authoritarian and
democratic ideas and institutions; universal religious tendencies (enshrined in the Qur'an) and concerns limited to Iranian national interests; and
strong sense of equal justice for all with clear preferences for attitudes and sensibilities that are clearly limited to pious Muslims.

The White Revolution

The White Revolution was a series of reforms set up in 1963 by Reza Shah. The Shah claimed that the reforms were a step towards modernization. The White Revolution was a series of 19 programs that were introduced by the Reza Shah from 1963 to 1978.

Land Reforms Program: The Iranian government bought land from landlords and sold it to the people who had been already working the land below what the land was actually worth. The land reforms made it possible for 1.5 million peasant families to own land, but not everyone that lived in the rural areas benefited from the reforms.
Nationalization of Forests and Pasturelands: Introduced to protect the national resources and stop the destruction of forests and pasturelands and to further develop the lands.
Privatization of the Government Owned Enterprises: Created a new class of factory owners who could now help to industrialize the country.
Profit Sharing: Gave factory workers and employees 20% share of the net profits of the places where they worked as well as bonuses based on higher productivity or reductions in costs.
Extending the Right to Vote to Women: Finally gave women the right to right, even though it was criticized by the clergy.
Formation of the Literacy Corps: Set up to get rid of illiteracy in the villages of Iran and in Tehran.
Formation of the Health Corps: Public health care to the villages and rural regions of Iran.
Formation of the Reconstruction and Development Corps: Set up to teach people how to improve farming and livestock.
Formation of the Houses of Equity: Village elders were elected to act as authorities to help settle small disputes and offences.
Nationalization of all Water Resources: Projects and policies were set up to conserve Iran’s limited water resources.
Urban and Rural Modernization and Reconstruction: Built up infrastructure: public baths, schools and libraries; installed water pumps and generators for running water and electricity.
Didactic Reforms: Set up to improve the quality of education by expanding the curriculum
Workers' Right to Own Shares in the Industrial Complexes: Shares of the private companies would be offered for sale to the workers of the establishment at first and then to the general public.
Price Stabilization: Set up to stop unreasonable profiteering in 1975.
Free and Compulsory Education: Provided a daily free meal to kids from kindergarten to 14.
Free Food for Needy Mothers: Provided food for all newborn babies up to the age of two.
Introduction of Social Security and National Insurance: For all Iranians; the National Insurance system provided for up to 100% of the wages during retirement.
18. Stable and Reasonable Cost of Renting or Buying of Residential Properties: Set up in 1977 to place controls on land prices.
19. Introduction of Measures to Fight against Corruption: Set up to stop corruption within the bureaucracy.

There was a small industrial revolution at the same time of the Revolution. Infrastructure and connectivity were improved, and many new factories were opened up creating some jobs. Including all elementary and secondary schools and colleges, enrollment increased from 2,034,885 to 4,966,210 – almost a 2.5 increase in the enrollment numbers. During this time women’s rights also improved as they gained the right to vote and to run for elected offices.

The Shah did not expect the Revolution to lead to other social tensions. The two main groups that opposed the Shah were the landlords and the powerful clergy. The landlords were angered because the land reforms took their land away to be redistributed. The land reforms did not do what the Shah had expected though. In the place to the landlords were three new groups of people in the rural areas: successful commercial farmers, small landowners, and village workers. The commercial farmers were the only group to actually benefit from the reforms. The small landowners were given 10 hectares of land which was only enough to sustain their families, and many of them were angered that they did not receive more land. The group of village workers did not get any kind of land and survived as farm hands and shepards, but many, being out of work in the rural areas, moved to urbanized areas to search for work. The new migration of people created new unemployment in the urban regions because there were not enough jobs for the influx of people.

The clergy criticized the Shah because he took away their traditional powers over education and family laws. The Shah also lessened the clergy’s very strong influence over the rural areas with the new rules of the land reforms.

The While Revolution led to some progress in Iran, but the country still had many problems. Iran still had one of the highest infant mortality rates and still 68% of the adult population was illiterate, and 60% of the children of that time still did not finish primary schools.

The most important consequence of the White Revolution was the rising popularity of clergyman Ruhollah Khomieni. Once he began to actively speak out against the Shah, people from all different social classes began to see him as the person to stand behind. Khomeini, the clergy, and the elites would be some of the main factors of the Shah’s downfalls and the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

The Green Revolution

No, this is not about exporting agricultural technology. In June 2009-- less than a year ago-- a massive outpouring of support for a rival to current President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad sparked hope for change in the minds of many Iranians, young and old. Instead, a campaign of intimidation and violence ended in the Ahmdinejad holding on to power. Here are two articles that discuss this phenomenon: Tehran, June 2009 and An Artist as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Read these in preparation for class on Wednesday.
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On Saturday June 13, 2009 after Ahmadinejad was pronounced the winner of the election supporters of Mousavi took to the streets in protest. By the next day, the protests grew along with more violence in the cities of Iran. On that night the pro-Ahmadinejad Basij group raided Tehran University and injured many in the process. All three of the opposition candidates to Ahmadinejad claim that their votes were not counted correctly and say the election for a fraud.

Protests and violence continued in Tehran and other major cities. On Thursday June 18, more than 100,000 protesters held a candle-light vigil in Tehran after Mousavi called for a day of mourning for the people killed in the protests. The following day the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini during the religious services said that the election was legitimate and called the larger voter turnout and victory for Ahmadinejad a “divine assessment.” He threatened that protests would no longer be tolerated. He was also quoted saying, “Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction.” Khameini called for the execution of “leading demonstrators as they are people who wage war against God.”
On June 20th a young woman, identified as Neda Agha-Soltan, was shot and killed by a Basij man, an Ahmadinejad supporter, videos of her death were almost instantaneously posted on YouTube and Neda became the face of the revolution.

On August 5, 2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term as President of Iran. Protesters met outside of the Parliament building the inauguration and chanted “death to the dictator.” The Iranian government has admitted to at least 27 deaths in Tehran, while reports from CNN and other new organizations say there were at least 150 unconfirmed casualities from the June 20th protests.

Photo of Mousavi held up by a protester
  1. ^ "Flag of Reza Shah the Great." Iranian Politics Club. Web. 18 Feb 2010. <>.
  2. ^ "Imperial Flag with Pahlavi Crown." Iranian Politics Club. Web. 18 Feb 2010. <>.
  3. ^ "Flag of the Interim Government." Iranian Politics Club. Web. 18 Feb 2010. <>.
  4. ^ "Flag of Islamic Republic of Iran." Iranian Politics Club. Web. 18 Feb 2010. <>.
  5. ^ Gelvin, James. The Modern Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. 194-196. Print.