Causes of Iranian Islamic Revolution

In Iranian Islamic Revolution two names are outstanding : Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini. These two people and their competition which was occur among them shaped this revolution. All these contentions derived from Shah’s reform which was named as White Revolution. After the White Revolution which was made by Shah, lots of socio-cultural changes and reforms occured in Iran and the belief that the public eliminated reforms. In addition, Iranian society started to criticize Shah Regimes with White Revolution. The Ayatollah who comes from Mollas started to preach against to Shah and the Ayatollah set up SAVAC ( kind of intelligence agency ) and Khomeini started to support requirements of Islamic law.

On the other hand, during the revolution lots of different groups emerged in Iranian people, most of them traditional or secular Muslims. These traditional, secular groups revolted all across Iran. The Religious Fundamentalists were a minority of those Iranians who were protesting. When the Shah abdicated, there was an intent to create a Republic that represented the Iranian people, however, after the Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini removed different groups that was supported by the Ayatollah Khomeini to overthrow the Shah and between April and October of 1979 ( after the Shah had already departed the country and the Islamic Republic of Iran declared ) the Ayatollah were able to consolidate power and create the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran which vested the Religious Fundamentalists with political power.

To understand completely the Iranian Revolution, we will look at the conditions and causes of Revolution. Iranians in generally were opposed to the Shah and opposed him from nearly every political perspective. All these include some beliefs that was against the Shah. According to someones, the Shah was not religious enough. Some believed that the Shah’s policies were too oppressive. On the other hand, some believed that the Shah was modernizing without preserving Iran’s cultural heritage and others were angry that he was moving too slowly. In addition, some believed that the Shah did not grant women enough rights and others thought that women had too many rights, however, the Ayatollah try to collect the power against the Shah from given to use these rights. At the same time some believed that should have encouraged more middle class growth and others believe he should have put more capital into industry. Moreover, some wanted more privatization and others wanted more nationalization.

All these conditions have an effective position to the formation of the causes of Revolution. These causes can be group into three main categories which are economic, political and socio-cultural, on the other words, as concerns the specific reasons for the Iranian protests and the eventual revolution, they were numerous some sub-categories, which comes from 3 main categories, which are wealth and employment issues, religious conservatism, puppet to foreigners, brutal secret police, authoritarianism and issue for fundemantalists.

Economic Conditions

There was the wealth inequality between the Shah and the nobility and common Iranian citizens most importantly. There was immense poverty throughout the country and high unemployment, underdevelopment, low wages, and few protections for laborers. In addition, the inability of the Shah to fulfill promises of increasing wealth and well being to a country that seemed too large to let benefits of oil revenues reach population quickly. Wealth is well known to trickle down, not to wash over a country and Iran was case point. As well as, American’s Human Rights Policy have a crucial role to play in enhancing tax.

When we look further back, Iranian people try to industrialization fastly after the Iranian Revolution. After the White Revolution, lots of peasants started to sell their land to prevent themselves against to pressure. Iran started seen as importing country. Foreign capital increased gradually in Iran and in Middle East. After that lots of tourists started to come Iran thus Western culture started to spread all country. Religious groups began to displease about this situation. All these different groups which are against all changes that comes from the White Revolution are caused to deal with the Ayatollah.

With the revolution, Economic crises began in Iran which has known as oil-rich and at the same time which has second largest natural gas reserves after the Russia. Unemployment has increased gradually but this situation were not reflected by media other ways. National income per capita was arisen as well. Finally, privatization has become visible within the state.

Political Conditions

When we look at the Iranian Revolution, we see that overall structure is political. As we know, Iranian Revolution started with calls for ‘democracy’, however, it is not finished what we expected. We need to understand these conditions, we need to look at that ‘How the government’ before the revolution. At this point, ‘authoritarianism’, which means that it is a form of government that is characterized by absolute authority as against individual freedom, is an important concept for these process because, in Iran, The Shah was an authoritarian who prevented people from expressing their own opinions. Iranian wanted to be in control of their own affairs. Iranian wanted some form of self-government or democracy. As well as, The Shah was also seen as a Western puppet, especially when the CIA overthrow Iranian President Mossadegh in 1953 to re-install the Shah of Iran and considering how Iran profited very little from its own petroleum.

Briefly, before the revolution, although politically and militarily Iran was most powerfull country in the Middle East; after the revolution, Iran lost their power in the international arena gradually and Iran was among the countries that support terrorism. Consequently, with Iranian Revolution, the USA has lost its ally in the Middle East.

Socio-Cultural Conditions

There are lots of different groups which was generally based on religious in Iran, recently, namely, differences began occur in the Iranian society. Clashes between these groups began to shape this revolution.

The most important issues about this situation are that religious conservatism and religious fundamentalism. Most Iranians were religiously conservative, which is similar to the American Bible-belt as opposed to the Fundamentalist, and resisted the Shah’s Westernization and Secularization movements in Iran. The Shah made clear that religion was not important to him as a ruler, whereas it was a concern among the people. On the other hand, in the fundamentalist camp, the fundamentalists in Iran felt that the Shah summarized as Western culture of greed and materialism, because he tried to establish a more secular government. At the same time, Ayatollah Khomeini taking advantage of these situation, he began to support requirement of Islamic Law. The Shah tried to suppress these political dissents, nevertheless Ayatollah Khomeini established an Islamic Religious Government with the Iranian Revolution.


As a result, if we need to collect all of causes and process of Iranian Revolution, we see that there was a powerful democratic government in Iran two decades before the Islamic revolution and these government has passed the collapse as a politically, economically, sociologically and culturally, because of the divisions between society, American policy which played on the Iranian society and so on. Briefly, Iranian Revolution is a turning point for Iranian people and these revolution changed destiny of Iranian society.


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