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Italian journalist Orianna Fallaci lived an exceptionally colorful life, in which her pioneering work as a political correspondent unfortunately became overshadowed by the anti-Muslim polemics she wrote in her later years.

The Iranian Revolution: why 1979’s uprising still shapes the Middle East

Kraft was said to be a confidante of the Iranian establishment, hardly an unusual status since the Pahlavi elite openly courted opinion makers in the West. His first-hand account of his conversations with a wide range of Iranians—the shah, opposition leaders, influential clerics, academics, and government officials—just as the maelstrom of the revolution overtook the monarchy is poignant both for its prescience and its misplaced expectations.

The Iranian revolution has confounded experts from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. What precipitated the revolution and what enabled this movement to succeed where so many others have failed?

Political History

Kurzman, a sociologist who has conducted research in Iran and among Iranian emigres, examines the traditional theories around revolutions, which in turn emphasize economic, political, cultural, organizational, and military factors, and finds no single explanation sufficient. This is not strictly a book about the revolution, but it begins and concludes in the prisons of the nascent theocracy, where the man who had served the monarchy as prime minister for nearly 13 years spent his final days.

In this tour de force, Azar Nafisi invites the reader into her home for an intimate look into the psychosocial fallout of the revolution through the eyes of Iranian women. Nafisi illustrates the harrowing ways daily lives were altered during the Iranian cultural revolution. This GQ article draws on interviews with over 50 Americans and Iranians who were in some way involved with or impacted by the siege, including former hostages, their captors, government officials and experts.

If you come away eager for more details on the U. This graphic novel features stark black-and-white drawings and sharp dialogue, as Marjane Satrapi draws on her personal experiences growing up in Iran during the revolution to detail its immediate impact on the daily lives of ordinary Iranians.

The Iranian revolution—A timeline of events

Satrapi gives us the view of these historic events from the perspective of a rebellious young girl. For an episode that had such dramatic impact on U. From his vantage as chief National Security Council official on Iran during the revolution and the hostage crisis, Sick provides a dispassionate play-by-play of the policy process within the Carter administration during this tumultuous period.

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Renowned political scientist Theda Skocpol is the author of, among many other works, an authoritative tome on social revolutions. This twofold turn of events provoked widespread disbelief. The shock spread to the triumphant revolutionaries, who could not believe the speed of the transformation and, arguably, the relatively low cost of that victory. The real reckoning occurred only after his departure, when the revolution turned on itself.

The Iranian revolutionary Ebrahim Yazdi liked to comment that the real leader of the Islamic Revolution was, in fact, the shah, because only he was able to unite the disparate groups into a single opposition. Once he had departed the scene, that focus was removed — with devastating results. A third group, the secular nationalists, found themselves squeezed out in the bloody struggle that was to follow. Two fractures in international relations — one self-inflicted, the other imposed — also served to shore up a tenuous stability. The justification given was that the Americans, having admitted the ailing shah into the United States for cancer treatment, were intent on repeating the coup that had toppled the nationalist prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.

The occupation of the embassy was intended to be a temporary protest. Instead, it became a protracted day exercise in hostage-taking that transformed an already fraught relationship into one of growing enmity. The eight-year war with Iraq and the growing antipathy with the United States had a profound effect on the direction of the revolution and the Islamic Republic it spawned.

They created an acute sense of ongoing crisis that the political settlement, marred by inconsistencies and contradictions, did little to assuage. For all its democratic pretensions, the Islamic Republic remained stubbornly authoritarian, as the office of the Supreme Leader — as the religious jurist became known — gradually grew in size and took on the characteristics of the monarchy it had replaced. Ayatollah Khomeini died on 3 June , under a year after the end of the war with Iraq. One of his immediate legacies was another international crisis: on 14 February he issued a fatwa on British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie for alleged blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses.

In this, they have been well served by successive US administrations. The revolutionary elite have become so preoccupied with their continuing confrontation with the United States that they have neglected urgent domestic problems such as the economy and the environment, at great long-term cost to the stability of the Islamic Republic.

Not only were the geopolitics of the Middle East transformed and political Islamism thrust uncompromisingly into the lime-light, but the dramatic fall of the shah also had a profound effect on a generation of developing-world leaders. In that febrile atmosphere, Russian president Vladimir Putin saw an opportunity to show regional allies — notably Bashar al-Assad of Syria — that, unlike the US, the Russians can be relied on.

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The impact of all this has been so profound that , rather than , might be considered the truly transformative year of our modern age. June 18, at am.

Iran Anatomy of a Revolution | Iran | Al Jazeera

Khomeini appealed to both left-wing and religious dissidents, and made pointed attacks on the character of the shah. It was clear the shah was losing control, not least because he appeared unwilling to make any decisions. More than , took to the streets to protest against strict new edicts, one of which required all women to wear a headscarf to cover their heads in public.

Photo by Getty Images. Hostage crisis: Blindfolded American hostages, among 66 taken as Iranian students seized the US embassy in Tehran on 4 November , beginning days of occupation. The last of the hostages were released on 20 January The death of Sir Winston Churchill and the top-secret plans for his funeral.

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