The triumph of the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago today established in Iran a theocratic system that resists in power despite pressure from the United States and some regional powers and discontent on the part of citizens.
The protests against Sha Mohamad Reza Pahlaví (1941-1979) intensified in January 1978 in the holy city of Qom, after the Etelat newspaper published an article denouncing that Ayatollah Ruholá Khomeini was not of Iranian origin and wore a style of libertine life.
Students at the Qom seminars took to the streets and there were clashes with the police in which two people died, according to Sha’s regime, and about 70, according to their opponents.
“Qom represents the origin of the revolution and its seminars are the Spiritual column of the movement that shook the world,” Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said last month.
The clerks soon joined the owners of the bazaar shops, fundamental in the economy of the time, which was a great boost to the uprising against the monarchy, also led by leftist parties such as the National Front, Tudeh and Fedayeen.
The next bloodbath was recorded in September 1978, the so-called “Black Friday”, when security forces opened fire on demonstrators shouting in Tehran “the Shah has to leave”.
According to a report by the Martyrs of Iran Foundation, more than 2,700 protesters died between October 1977 and February 1979, most of them in the capital.
Mohamad Reza Pahlaví finally fled the country on January 16, 1979 and on February 1 of that year returned to Iran Khomeiní, who achieved the resignation of the Government of Shapur Bajtiar, appointed by the Shah.
“This is the voice of true Iran, the voice of the Islamic Revolution.”
On February 11, 1979, after the troops withdrew from the streets, the Tehran radio announced in a historic bulletin: “This is the voice of the real Iran, the voice of the Islamic Revolution.”
On the “prominent” role of the Armed Forces, Khamenei said in a recent speech that “one of the blessings of the revolution was that the Army joined the movement of the nation.”
For his part, Iranian President Hasan Rohaní defined the Islamic Revolution a few days ago as “the victory of good over evil and democracy over dictatorship.”
“The Islamic Revolution was a hope for the oppressed and an earthquake for the US and the Zionists (Israel),” stressed Rohani, who criticized Washington’s current pressures against Iran.
The pressure of the USA
The US, which broke diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980 after the assault on its embassy in Tehran and the taking of 52 American officials as hostages, returned last year to impose sanctions on the Persian country.
The US president, Donald Trump, decided to restore sanctions and abandon the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, while some officials of his administration have spoken openly of a regime change in Iran. Iranian theocratic system is also firmly opposed by Middle Eastern powers such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, with which Tehran has exchanged war threats.
In addition to external pressures, the situation in the interior of the country is not very encouraging either. The economic crisis has fostered sporadic protests, the strongest a year ago, which have led to criticism against the system.
For the moment, any attempt at opposition has been appeased by the authorities, although without reaching the repression recorded after the victory of the revolution, when they were arrested and executed numerous leaders and supporters of the leftist parties opposed to the Islamic drift of the system .
The growing role of clerics in the seizure of power after the approval in referendum in April 1979 of the Islamic Republic system, added the censorship of newspapers and the obligatory veil to women, among other restrictions.
“Now, after 40 years, we see that unfortunately we have collapsed economically and that Iran’s foreign policy has not worked.”
The interim prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan, said that in reality the one who governed was Khomeini and resigned his post after the capture to the US Embassy.
In the opinion of Bahar, a 60-year-old woman who attended protests against the Shah, many of the revolutionaries regretted in the early years “because of social pressures.”
Bahar explained to Efe that he became involved in the revolution due to “social differences and existing poverty”, and that he believed that an Islamic system could offer equality.