Syed Mohammad Burhan
11TH February 1979 marks the victory of Islamic revolution in Iran. This year marks the fortieth year landmark since the revolution took place. The revolution was the brainchild of a veteran cleric born in a small Iranian village, Khomein who later came to be known as Imam Khomeini. Iran was ruled by a monarch who had trampled upon the political, social and religious rights of Iranians. Nearly half of Iran’s populace lived in poverty. He had succeeded in turning Iran into a colony of the West. The Iranian capital had, under the Shah, become a hub of immoral activities and people from far away states would come to Tehran for satisfying their carnal desires.
Decades of oppression upon religious people, oppressed women wearing headscarves had added to anger of the people. Shah’s hatred for religion brought people closer to Islam and Imam Khomeini. He managed to unify the voices of leftists, Islamists, secularists and nationalists against the shah and paved way for a revolution which changed the relationship of Iran with the western world forever. As people flooded streets all over Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi who was ruling Iran fled the country only to take refuge in United States and seeking help from them to topple the revolution.
This revolution brought an end to 2500 years of monarchical rule in Iran and was a big blow to the United States which lost a key ally in the Middle East. People valued Khomeini’s slogan of “No East, No West Islam is the best” and paved way for a new Iran which was at odds with the West. After the revolution, a referendum was held among people which saw overwhelming voting in favour of the Islamic Republic. A new constitution was framed with the slogan of Independence, freedom and Islamic Republic.
The ultimate authority as per the new constitution would rest with the Supreme leader who would head the country and the president would hold the second position in terms of power sharing
Soon after the victory of the revolution Khomeini called for exporting the revolution, telling Muslims to rise against dictators in Muslim countries. His dream to export the revolution was short-lived as immediately Iraq attacked Iran in 1980 and war was thrust which lasted for eight long years. It lasted till 1988 and left behind a trail of destruction in both the countries; a new revolutionised Iran was weaker than ever. Only after a year Imam Khomeini left this world in 1989.
Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei, a disciple of Imam Khomeini was elected as the next supreme leader of Iran by the Assembly of Experts (A body 89 clerics responsible for electing the Supreme leader) by consensus. The United States felt a hope in the death of Khomeini hoping to win the lost ground in Iran but Khamenei kept the principles of the revolution alive. It is almost three decades now since Khamenei has taken over but he has refused to kneel down before the west.
The United States has since long been seeking regime change in Iran. Since the revolution’s victory in 1979 , the US tried to demonize the Iranian nation and put in the harshest sanctions against the clerical regime in a bid to regain its influence in the Middle East. The US accuses Iran of human rights violations and accusing it of being state sponsor of terrorism while it continues to arm the Zionist regime of Israel with weapons that have been unleashing a reign of terror on Palestinians since many decades. The accusation of the West against Iran being a violator of human rights is only a pretext to attack the regime. On the contrary, the United States maintains a very healthy relationship with states that have a worse human rights record than Iran. The enmity of United States against Iran is only because of the unwillingness to bow down before it.
The present US dispensation seems to be obsessed with sanctions and Muslims. In a bid to hurt Muslims and appease Israelis, the US relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Recently this administration has banned the entry of Muslims from seven Muslim countries to the United States. As a result of this ban, Iranians were also barred from entering the United States. The policies of the Trump administration have amplified the anger of the Muslim community and all sane human beings across the world. Crossing all the limits of decency, the US Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo, some months back made a brazen statement saying that Khamenei won’t live forever. This statement shows the level of hatred the US administration has for a country that has consistently refused to bow down to its dictates and demands. This action by the US government should work as an eye-opener for nations who want to pursue a foreign policy of independence.
Iran’s desire for freedom and independence has come at a huge cost for it with problems both at domestic and international level.
The Islamic Republic has good relations with Russia, China, and India .It also enjoys a good relationship with its neighbours Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. While the US claims that it has been able to isolate Iran from rest of the world, the reality is quite the opposite. Since the Trump administration took office , the image of the United States has been damaged.
Four decades on, Iran is at the crossroads. Those opposed to the Islamic establishment want the slogan of “Death to America” not be heard on the streets of Iran while the religious conservatives see the slogan as a legacy of the revolution .People can love or hate the Islamic regime in Tehran but what remains an established fact is that it has been a serious headache for the United States and its allies in the region. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are all over the region. They are in Iraq and Syria. They provide huge monetary and military support to Lebanese Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. While the Trump administration has imposed its harshest sanctions on Iran in a bid to change the regime in Tehran, whether the Islamic Republic lives up to its slogans of Independence and freedom or not, remains to be seen.
The author studies at Media Education Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org