Background and causes of the Iranian Revolution
Part of a series on the
Its causes — why the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) was overthrown and why he was replaced by an Islamic Republic — are a subject of historical debate. The revolution was in part a conservative backlash against the westernization and secularization efforts of the Western-backed Shah, and a not-so-conservative reaction to social injustice and other shortcomings of the ancient regime. The Shah was perceived by many Iranians as beholden to — if not a puppet of — a non-Muslim Western power (the United States) whose culture was contaminating that of Iran. The Shah's regime was seen as oppressive, brutal, corrupt and extravagant; it also suffered from basic functional failures — an overly-ambitious economic program that brought economic bottlenecks, shortages and inflation.
- 1 Background 1906–1977
- 2 General causes
- 3 See also
- 4 References and notes
- 5 Further reading
- 6 External links
Shi'a clergy (or Ulema,) have had a significant influence on the majority of Iranians, who have tended to be religious, traditional, and alienated from any process of Westernization. The clergy first showed themselves to be a powerful political force in opposition to Iran's monarch with the 1891 Tobacco Protest boycott that effectively destroyed an unpopular concession granted by the shah giving a British company a monopoly over buying and selling Tobacco in Iran. To some the incident demonstrated that the Shia ulama were "Iran's first line of defense" against colonialism.
The dynasty that the revolution overthrew — the Pahlavi dynasty — was known for its autocracy, its focus on modernization and Westernization and for its disregard for religious and democratic measures in Iran's constitution.
The founder of the dynasty, army general Reza Pahlavi, replaced Islamic laws with western ones, and forbade traditional Islamic clothing, separation of the sexes and veiling of women (hijab). Women who resisted his ban on public hijab had their chadors forcibly removed and torn. In 1935 a rebellion by pious Shi'a at the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashad was crushed on his orders with dozens killed and hundreds injured, rupturing relations between the Shah and pious Shia in Iran.
Shah comes to power
Reza Shah was deposed in 1941 by an invasion of allied British and Soviet troops who believed him to be sympathetic with the allies' enemy Nazi Germany. His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was installed by the allies as monarch. Prince Pahlavi (later crowned shah) reigned until the 1979 revolution with one brief interruption. In 1953 he fled the country after a power-struggle with his Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Mossadegh is remembered in Iran for having been voted into power through a democratic election, nationalizing Iran's British-owned oil fields, and being deposed in a military coup d'état organized by an American CIA operative and aided by the British MI6. Thus foreign powers were involved in both the installation and restoration of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The shah maintained a close relationship with the United States, both regimes sharing a fear of/opposition to the expansion of Soviet/Russian state, Iran's powerful northern neighbor. Leftist, nationalist and religious groups attacked his government (often from outside Iran as they were suppressed within) for violating the Iranian constitution, political corruption, and the political oppression by the SAVAK (secret police).
Rise of Ayatollah Khomeini
Shia cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution, first came to political prominence in 1963 when he led opposition to the Shah and his program of reforms known as the "White Revolution", which aimed to break up landholdings owned by some Shi’a clergy, allow women to vote and religious minorities to hold office, and grant women legal equality in marital issues.
Khomeini declared that the Shah had "embarked on the destruction of Islam in Iran" and publicly denounced the Shah as a "wretched miserable man." Following Khomeini's arrest on June 5, 1963, three days of major riots erupted throughout Iran, with Khomeini supporters claiming 15,000 were killed by police fire Khomeini was detained and kept under house arrest for 8 months. After his release he continued his agitation against the Shah, condemning the regimes's close cooperation with Israel and its "capitulations" — the extension of diplomatic immunity to American government personnel in Iran. In November 1964, Khomeini was re-arrested and sent into exile where he remained for 14 years until the revolution.
A period of "disaffected calm" followed. Despite political repression the budding Islamic revival began to undermine the idea of Westernization as progress that was the basis of the Shah's secular regime and form the ideology of the revolution. Jalal Al-e-Ahmad's idea of Gharbzadegi — that Western culture was a plague or an intoxication to be eliminated; Ali Shariati's vision of Islam as the one true liberator of the Third World from oppressive colonialism, neo-colonialism, and capitalism; and Morteza Motahhari's popularized retellings of the Shia faith, all spread and gained listeners, readers and supporters. Most importantly, Khomeini preached that revolt, and especially martyrdom, against injustice and tyranny was part of Shia Islam, and that Muslims should reject the influence of both capitalism and communism with the slogan "Neither East, nor West - Islamic Republic!" (Persian: نه شرقی نه غربی جمهوری اسلامی)
To replace the shah's regime Khomeini developed the ideology of velayat-e faqih (guardianship of the jurist) as government, that Muslims — in fact everyone — required "guardianship," in the form of rule or supervision by the leading Islamic jurist or jurists. Such rule would protect Islam from deviation from traditional sharia law, and in so doing eliminate poverty, injustice, and the "plundering" of Muslim land by foreign unbelievers. Establishing and obeying this Islamic government was "actually an expression of obedience to God", ultimately "more necessary even than prayer and fasting" in Islam, and a commandment for all the world, not one confined to Iran.
Publicly, Khomeini focused on the socio-economic problems of the shah's regime (corruption, unequal income and development), not his solution of rule by Islamic jurists.
But his book was widely distributed in religious circles, especially among Khomeini's students (talabeh), ex-students (clerics), and traditional business leaders (bazaari). A powerful and efficient network of opposition began to develop inside Iran, employing mosque sermons, smuggled cassette speeches by Khomeini, and other means. Added to this religious opposition were secular and Islamic modernist students and guerrilla groups who admired Khomeini's history of resistance, though they were to clash with his theocracy and be suppressed by his movement after the revolution.
Opposition groups and organizations
The very first signs of opposition in 1977 came from Iranian constitutionalist liberals. Based in the urban middle class, this was a section of the population that was fairly secular and wanted the Shah to adhere to the Iranian Constitution of 1906 rather than religious rule. Prominent in it was Mehdi Bazargan and his liberal, moderate Islamic group Freedom Movement of Iran, and the more secular National Front.
The clergy were divided, allying variously with the liberals, Marxists and Islamists. The various anti-Shah groups operated from outside Iran, mostly in London, Paris, Iraq, and Turkey. Speeches by the leaders of these groups were placed on audio cassettes to be smuggled into Iran. Khomeini, who was in exile in Iraq, worked to unite clerical and secular, liberal and radical opposition under his leadership by avoiding specifics — at least in public — that might divide the factions.
Marxists groups were illegal and heavily suppressed by SAVAK internal security apparatus. They included the communist Tudeh Party of Iran; two armed organizations, the Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas (OIPFG) and the breakaway Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas (IPFG); and some minor groups. The guerillas aim was to defeat the Pahlavi regime by assassination and guerilla war. Although they played an important part in the 1979 overthrow of the regime, they had been weakened considerably by government repression and factionalization in the first half of the 1970s.
Islamists were divided into several groups. The Freedom Movement of Iran, made up of religious members of the National Front of Iran who wanted to use lawful political methods against the Shah and led by Bazargan and Mahmoud Taleghani. The People's Mujahedin of Iran, a quasi-Marxist armed organization that opposed the influence of the clergy and later fought Khomeini's Islamic government.
The Islamist group that ultimately prevailed was that containing the core supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini. Amongst them were some minor armed Islamist groups which joined together after the revolution in the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization. The Coalition of Islamic Societies was founded by religious bazaaris (traditional merchants). The Combatant Clergy Association comprised Morteza Motahhari, Mohammad Beheshti, Mohammad-Javad Bahonar, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Mofatteh, who later became the major leaders of the Islamic Republic. They used a cultural approach to fight the Shah.
Because of internal repression, opposition groups abroad, like the Confederation of Iranian students, the foreign branch of Freedom Movement of Iran and the Islamic association of students, were important to the revolution.
Several events in the 1970s set the stage for the 1979 revolution:
In October 1971, the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire was held at the site of Persepolis. Only foreign dignitaries were invited to the three-day party whose extravagances included over one ton of caviar, and preparation by some two hundred chefs flown in from Paris. Cost was officially $40 million but estimated to be more in the range of $100–120 million. Meanwhile drought ravaged the provinces of Baluchistan, Sistan, and even Fars where the celebrations were held. "As the foreigners reveled on drink forbidden by Islam, Iranians were not only excluded from the festivities, some were starving."
By late 1974 the oil boom had begun to produce not "the Great Civilization" promised by the Shah, but an "alarming" increase in inflation and waste and an "accelerating gap" between the rich and poor, the city and the country. Nationalistic Iranians were angered by the tens of thousand of skilled foreign workers who came to Iran, many of them to help operate the already unpopular and expensive American high-tech military equipment that the Shah had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on.
The next year the Rastakhiz party was created. It became not only the only party Iranians were permitted to belong to, but one the "whole adult population" was required to belong and pay dues to. The party attempted by to take a populist stand fining and jailing merchants in its "anti-profiteering" campaigns, but this proved not only economically harmful but also politically counterproductive. Inflation morphed into a black market and business activity declined. Merchants were angered and politicized.
In 1976, the Shah's government angered pious Iranian Muslims by changing the first year of the Iranian solar calendar from the Islamic hijri to the ascension to the throne by Cyrus the Great. "Iran jumped overnight from the Muslim year 1355 to the royalist year 2535." The same year the Shah declared economic austerity measures to dampen inflation and waste. The resulting unemployment disproportionately affected the thousands of recent poor and unskilled migrants to the cities. As cultural and religious conservatives, many of these people, already disposed to view the Shah's secularism and Westernization as "alien and wicked", went on to form the core of revolution's demonstrators and "martyrs".
In 1977 a new American President, Jimmy Carter, was inaugurated. Carter sought to make American post-Vietnam foreign policy and power excersise more benevolent, and created a special Office of Human Rights. It sent the Shah a "polite reminder" of the importance of political rights and freedom. The Shah responded by granting amnesty to 357 political prisoners in February, and allowing Red Cross to visit prisons, beginning what is said to be 'a trend of liberalization by the Shah'. Through the late spring, summer and autumn liberal opposition formed organizations and issued open letters denouncing the regime. Later that year a dissent group (the Writers' Association) gathered without the customary police break-up and arrests, starting a new era of political action by the Shah's opponents.
That year also saw the death of the very popular and influential modernist Islamist leader Ali Shariati, allegedly at the hands of SAVAK, removing a potential revolutionary rival to Khomeini. Finally, in October Khomeini's son Mostafa died. Though the cause appeared to be a heart attack, anti-Shah groups blamed SAVAK poisoning and proclaimed him a 'martyr.' A subsequent memorial service for Mostafa in Tehran put Khomeini back in the spotlight and began the process of building Khomeini into the leading opponent of the Shah.
The Iranian Revolution had a number of unique and significant characteristics. It produced profound change at great speed; and replaced an ancient monarchy with a theocracy based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (or velayat-e faqih). Its outcome — an Islamic Republic "under the guidance of an 80-year-old exiled religious scholar from Qom" — was, as one scholar put it, "clearly an occurrence that had to be explained.…"
Surprise and absence of customary causes
Some of the customary causes of revolution that were lacking include
- defeat at war,
- a financial crisis,
- peasant rebellion,
- gigantic national debt,
- disgruntled military;
The regime it overthrew was thought to be heavily protected by a lavishly financed army and security services. As one observer put it: "Few expected the regime of the Shah, which had international support and a modern army of 400,000, to crumble in the face of unarmed demonstrators within a matter of months."
Another historian noted the revolution was "unique in the annals of modern world history in that it brought to power not a new social group equipped with political parties and secular ideologies, but a traditional clergy armed with mosque pulpits and claiming the divine right to supervise all temporal authorities, even the country's highest elected representatives."
Explanations advanced for why the revolution happened and took the form it did include actions of the Shah and the mistakes and successes of the different political forces:
Policies and policy mistakes of the Shah
- His strong policy of Westernization and close identification with a Western power (the United States) despite the resulting clash with Iran's Shi'a Muslim identity. This included his original installation by Allied Powers and assistance from the CIA in 1953 to restore him to the throne, the use of large numbers of US military advisers and technicians and the capitulation or granting of diplomatic immunity from prosecution to them, all of which led nationalistic Iranians, both religious and secular to consider him a puppet of the West;
- Unpopular disregard for Islamic tradition in his 1976 change from an Islamic calendar to an Imperial calendar, marking the beginning of the reign of Cyrus the Great as the first day, instead of the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. Overnight, the year changed from 1355 to 2535.
- Extravagance, corruption and elitism (both real and perceived) of the Shah's policies and of his royal court.
- His failure to cultivate supporters in the Shi'a religious leadership to counter Khomeini's campaign against him.
- Focusing of government surveillance and repression on the People's Mujahedin of Iran, the communist Tudeh Party of Iran, and other leftist groups, while the more popular religious opposition organized, grew and gradually undermined the authority of his regime.
- Authoritarian tendencies that violated the Iran Constitution of 1906, including repression of dissent by security services like the SAVAK, followed by appeasement and appearance of weakness as the revolution gained momentum; The idea of Alexis de Tocqueville that "when a people which has put up with an oppressive rule over a long period without protest suddenly finds the government relaxing its pressure, it takes up arms against it."
- Failure of his overly ambitious 1974 economic program to meet expectations raised by the oil revenue windfall. A short, sharp period of economic contraction and decline in 1977-78 following a considerable period of economic growth, that according to scholar of revolutions Crane Brinton creates disappointment much greater "than if people had been left in poverty all along." 
- Bottlenecks, shortages and inflation that were followed by austerity measures, attacks on alleged price gougers and black-markets, that angered both the bazaar and the masses.
- His antagonizing of formerly apolitical Iranians, especially merchants of the bazaars, with the creation of a single party political monopoly (the Rastakhiz Party), with compulsory membership and dues, and general aggressive interference in the political, economic, and religious concerns of people's lives.
- His overconfident neglect of governance and preoccupation with playing the world statesman during the oil boom, followed by a loss of self-confidence and resolution and a weakening of his health from cancer as the revolution gained momentum. The shah's terminal illness was a secret at the time, but the shah knew he was dying of cancer, and his medication made him "depressed and listless". In addition several of the shah's closest advisers had recently died, and palace personnel were reportedly fired wholesale in the summer of 1978.
- Underestimation of the strength of the opposition — particularly religious opposition — and the failure to offer either enough carrots or sticks. Efforts to please the opposition were "too little too late," but no concerted counter-attack was made against the revolutionaries either.
- Failure to prepare and train security forces for dealing with protest and demonstration, failure to use crowd control without excessive violence (troops used live ammunition, not Plexiglas shields or water cannons), and use of the military officer corps more as a powerbase to be pampered than as a force to control threats to security. This lack of training turned many protests to disasters, the most notorious one being the events on the 8th of September 1978, also known as Black Friday.
- The personalised nature of the Shah's government, where prevention of any possible competitor to the monarch trumped efficient and effective government and led to the crown's cultivation of divisions within the army and the political elite, and ultimately to a lack of support for the regime by its natural allies when needed most (thousands of upper and middle class Iranians and their money left Iran during the beginning of the revolution). The monarch "took a personal interest in the most picayune governmental matters, discouraged initiative by frequently overruling and dismissing officials, and refusing to allow officials to cooperate, for fear of regicidal conspiracies. The shah was careful to meet with each of his top aides and generals individually. In the absence of a fully functioning shah, the system could not function." 
Failures and successes of other Iranian political or cultural forces
- The Ayatollah Khomeini's self-confidence, charisma, and most importantly his ability to grip the imagination of the masses by casting himself as following in the footsteps of the beloved Shi'a Imam Husayn ibn Ali, while portraying the Shah as a modern day version of Husayn's foe, the hated tyrant Yazid I. or alternately as the Hidden Imam in distant Paris, sending his messages through special representatives. In so doing he was seen by millions as a savior figure, and inspiring hundreds to feats of martyrdom fighting the regime.
- Success of modernist Islamists Abolhassan Banisadr and Ali Shariati in presenting an Islamic ideology that "appeared modern, liberal and appealing," and in so doing won over much of the Iranian middle class.
- Overconfidence of the secularists and modernist Muslims, of liberals and leftists, in their power and ability to control the revolution, a belief that "the clergy would not be capable of governing the state ... and would have to hand over power to others," so that "even the opponents of the Islamicists accepted their leadership of the revolution" at first, and failure to anticipate Khomeini's "total domination of the Iranian revolution" and to study his writings and try to understand what his true goals were.
- The 40-day (Arba'een) cycle of mourning by Shia that commemorated with new street protests the deaths of earlier protesters, thus strengthening and spreading the anti-Shah sentiments for many months.
- Shrewdness of the Ayatollah Khomeini in winning the support of these liberals and leftists when he needed them to overthrow the Shah by underplaying his hand and avoiding issues (such as rule by clerics or "guardianship of the jurists") he planned to implement but knew would be a deal breaker for his more secular and modernist Muslim allies.
- Cleverness and energy of Khomeini's organizers in Iran who outwitted the Shah's security forces and won broad support with their tactical ingenuity — amongst other things, convincing Iranians that the Shah's security was more brutal than it was.
Failures and successes of foreign forces
- Policies of the American government, which helped create an image of the Shah as an American "puppet" with their high profile and the 1953 subversion of the government on his behalf, but helped trigger the revolution by pressuring the Shah to liberalize, and then finally may have heightened the radicalism of the revolution by failing to read its nature accurately (particularly the goals of Khomeini), or to clearly respond to it.
- Waning support for the shah among Western politicians and media—especially under the administration of U.S. President Jimmy Carter—as a result of the Shah's support for OPEC petroleum price increases.
- Alleged treachery of the Americans and other foreigners. Among those who blame American or Western forces for the collapse of the shah's regime include the director-general of the French intelligence service, who claimed that American President Jimmy Carter `decided to replace` the Shah; one of the shah's generals, who claimed the U.S. `took the Shah by the tail, and threw him into exile like a dead rat,`  Iranian expatriates surveyed in Southern California", and Iranians surveyed in Isfahan. These beliefs have usually been mentioned by historians as examples of how "Iranians hostile to the revolution appeared to feel more comfortable blaming outside forces than their own compatriots," rather than as plausible explanations for the revolution. Still another conspiracy theory is that when American general Robert E. Huyser, Deputy Commander of US forces in Europe," went to Iran to encourage the Iranian military to either support the new but non-revolutionary Bahktiar government or stage a coup detat, he was approached by "representatives of the revolutionary forces" who made it clear to him that "if the United States did not wish its personnel to be harmed or to allow uncontrolled, armed guerrillas, some with pro-Soviet sympathies, to gain access to its sophisticated weapons" he had "better see to it that the military surrendered to the popular revolutionary forces." Thus, according to Sepehr Zabih, Huyer chose between American personnel/materiel, and America's strategic ally in the Persian Gulf, and this explains why Huyser's mission to Iran was accompanied by "the disintegration of the Imperial Army" in final days of the revolution. It has also been argued that the revolution could not have succeeded without help from inside of Iranian military at some level.
- OPEC policies that discouraged infighting among members in order to create a united front to best take advantage of the oil boom. OPEC had Iran and Iraq sat down and made to work aside differences, which resulted in relatively good relations between the two nations throughout the 1970s. In 1978 the Shah made a request to then-Vice President Saddam Hussein to banish the expatriate Ayatollah Khomenei from Iraq, who had been living there in exile for the past 15 years. In light of keeping up good relations with Iran and that Khomenei was not overly supportive of the current Iraqi regime, Hussein agreed to do this. From this point Khomenei moved to France where he better coordinated the nascent Islamic Revolution.
Doubts about causes
Charles Kurzman, author of The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran  has postulated that the explanations offered by observers for why the revolution occurred "are only partially valid," and that "the closer we listen to the people who made the revolution - the more anomalies we find." 
Kurzman points out that one explanation for the Shah's overthrow - the 40-day (Arba'een) cycle of commemorating deaths of protesters - "came to a halt" on June 17, 1978, a half year before the revolution's culmination. Moderate religious leaders (Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari) called for calm and a stay-at-home strike which prevented more casualties to commemorate 40 days later. Kurzman also argues that the mourning rituals in Iran had been a political act only once before.
Could we have said in early 1977 that because Iranian culture includes a forty-day mourning cycle, the country was more likely than other countries to undergo a revolution? I think not. Rather, a knowledgeable observer would probably have noted that this mourning cycle had been put to protest purposes only once in Iranian history, in 1963, and that movement had come to naught.
Alexis de Tocqueville's idea that "steadily increasing prosperity, far from tranquilizing the population, everywhere promoted a spirit of unrest", has been offered by several observers as an explanation for the 1978-79 revolt. But this does not explain why "there was very little oppositional activity" in the recession of 1975-6 when unemployment and inflation were at similar levels to those of 1978. Furthermore, revolutions were conspicuously absent in other "high-growth autocracies" — Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq — in the 1970s and 1980s despite the fact that those countries also suffered from oil wealth problems (corruption, debt, fraud, repression).
Another cause, or partial cause, in doubt is the Shah's liberalization as a result of the encouragement of President Jimmy Carter. Kurzman points out that "even as the shah arrived in Washington" for a state visit in late 1977, "his regime's partial tolerance of oppositional activity was disappearing. ... In November 1977, as the shah ingratiated himself with Jimmy Carter, liberals were in retreat." 
Another author, Moojan Momen, questions whether Carter "could have said or done" anything to save the Shah — aside from foregoing his human rights policy — since "any direct interference by America would only have increased resentment" against the pro-American Shah.
- Timeline of Iranian revolution
- Organizations of the Iranian Revolution
- History of political Islam in Iran
References and notes
- Del Giudice, Marguerite (August 2008). "Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran". National Geographic.
- Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, (1982), 534-5
- Brumberg, Reinventing Khomeini (2001).
- Shirley, Know Thine Enemy (1997), p. 207.
- Harney, The Priest (1998), pp. 37, 47, 67, 128, 155, 167.
- Iran Between Two Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian, p.437
- Mackay, Iranians (1998), pp. 236, 260.
- Graham, Iran (1980), pp. 19, 96.
- Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, Norton, (2006), p. 117
- Mackey, The Iranians, (1996) p.184
- Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution by Shaul, Bakhash, Basic Books, c1984 p.22
- Taheri, Amir, The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution, Adler and Adler, c1985, p. 94-5
- Rajaee, Farhang, Islamic Values and World View: Farhang Khomeyni on Man, the State and International Politics, Volume XIII (PDF), University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-3578-X
- Nehzat by Ruhani vol. 1 p. 195, quoted in Moin, Khomeini (2000), p. 75.
- Islam and Revolution, p. 17; Later, much lower estimates of 380 dead can be found in Moin, Baqer, Khomeini: Life of the Ayatolla, (2000), p. 112.
- Graham, Iran 1980, p. 69.
- Mackay, Iranians (1996) pp. 215, 264–5.
- Keddie, Modern Iran, (2003) pp. 201-7
- The Last Great Revolution Turmoil and Transformation in Iran, by Robin WRIGHT.
- Dabashi, Theology of Discontent (1993), p.419, 443
- Khomeini; Algar, Islam and Revolution, p.52, 54, 80
- See: Velayat-e faqih (book by Khomeini)#Importance of Islamic Government
- Abrahamian, Ervand, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic, Berkeley : University of California Press, c1993. p.30,
- cited by J. Cockroft, `Iran's Khomeini,` Seven Days, 23 February 1979, pp. 17-18, cited in Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, (1982), p. 479?
- See: Hokumat-e Islami : Velayat-e faqih (book by Khomeini)#Why Islamic Government has not been established
- Khomeini and Algar, Islam and Revolution (1981), p.34
- Taheri, The Spirit of Allah (1985), p. 196.
- Graham, Iran (1980), p. 213.
- Abrahamian, Iran Between (1980), pp. 502–3.
- Mackay, Iranians (1996), p. 276.
- Abrahamian, Iran Between (1980), pp. 478–9
- "Ideology, Culture, and Ambiguity: The Revolutionary Process in Iran", Theory and Society, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 349–88.
- Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran, (2004), p. 145-6
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), p.80
- Hiro, Dilip. Iran Under the Ayatollahs. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1985. p. 57.
- Wright, Last (2000), p. 220.
- Graham, Iran (1980) p. 94.
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), p. 174.
- Graham, Iran (1980), p. 96.
- Abrahamian, Iran (1982), p. 444.
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), p. 163.
- Graham, Iran (1980), p. 226.
- Abrahamian, Iran (1982), pp. 501–3.
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), pp. 183–4.
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), pp. 184–5.
- Taheri, Spirit (1985), pp. 182–3.
- Amuzegar, Jahangir, The Dynamics of the Iranian Revolution, SUNY Press, p.10
- Benard, "The Government of God" (1984), p. 18.
- Amuzegar, The Dynamics of the Iranian Revolution, (1991), p.4, 9-12
- [world.time.com/category/middle-east/jordan/ Jordan | World | TIME]
- Arjomand, Turban (1988), p. 191.
- Harney, Priest (1998), p. 2.
- Abrahamian Iran (1982), p. 496.
- Iran’s tide of history: counter-revolution and after. Fred Halliday, 17 July 2009
- Iran Between Two Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian, p.430-5
- Mackay, Iranians (1998), pp. 259, 261.
- Khomeini's speech against capitalism, IRIB World Service.
- Persian pilgrimages By Afshin Molavi
- Taheri, The Spirit of Allah (1985), p. 136.
- Arjomand Turban (1998), p. 192.
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), p. 178.
- Hoveyda Shah (2003) p. 22.
- Abrahamian, Iran (1982), pp. 533–4.
- Mackay, Iranians (1998), p. 219.
- Katouzian (1981), The Political Economy of Modern Iran: Despotism and Pseudo-Modernism, 1926–1979.
- Kapuscinski, Shah of Shahs (1985).
- Taheri, The Spirit of Allah (1985) pp. 234–5.
- Harney, The Priest (1998), p. 65.
- economist Jahangir Amuzegar quoted Tocqueville in his book, Dynamics The Dynamics of the Iranian Revolution: The Pahlavis' Triumph and Tragedy, SUNY, 1991, p.241, 243.
- According to Kurzman, scholars writing on the revolution who have mentioned this include:
- Sick, All Fall Down, p.187;
- Fischer, Iran: From Religious Dispute to Revolution, Harvard University Press, 1980, p.189;
- Keddie, `Iranian Revolutions in Comparative Perspective,` American Historical Review, 1983, v.88, p.589;
- Bakhash, The Reign of the Ayatollahs, p.13
- Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions (1982) pp. 442–6.
- Taheri, The Spirit of Allah (1985) p. 205.
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), p. 188.
- Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran, (p.107)
- Graham, Iran (1980) p. 231.
- Graham, Iran (1980) p. 228.
- Harney, The Priest (1998).
- Graham, Iran (1980), p. 235.
- The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution By Abbas Milani, pp. 292-293
- Seven Events That Made America America, By Larry Schweikart, p.
- The Iranian Revolution of 1978/1979 and How Western Newspapers Reported It By Edgar Klüsener, p. 12
- Cultural History After Foucault By John Neubauer, p. 64
- Islam in the World Today: A Handbook of Politics, Religion, Culture, and Society By Werner Ende, Udo Steinbach, p. 264
- The A to Z of Iran, By John H. Lorentz, p. 63
- Islam and Politics By John L. Esposito, p. 212
- Arjomand, Turban (1998), pp. 189–90.
- Taheri, The Spirit of Allah (1985), p. 233.
- Brumberg, Reinventing Khomeini (2001), pp. 44, 74–5.
- Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.288
- Taheri, The Spirit of Allah (1985), p. 238.
- Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.287
- Schirazi, The Constitution of Iran (1997), pp. 293–4.
- Schirazi, Asghar, The Constitution of Iran : politics and the state in the Islamic Republic, London ; New York : I.B. Tauris, 1997, p.292
- Zabih, Sepehr, Iran Since the Revolution, Johns Hopkins Press, 1982, p.9
- Moin, Khomeini (2000), p. 200.
- Harney, The Priest (1998), p. 177.
- Graham, Iran (1980) p. 233.
- Zabih,Blah Blah Iran (1982), p. 16.
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