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 standards 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