Sample Paper on Iranian Islamic Revolution

Iranian Islamic revolution that occurred in 1979 is depicted as a reaction to western values and influence (Bashiriyeh, 2011). The revolution that was led by Ayatollah Khomeini aimed at opposing the governance of Pahlavi Shahs, which was supported by the America and British government. Shah came into power in 1941 to succeed his father who was the king of Iran at that time (Bashiriyeh, 2011).  At this time, Iran lacked major infrastructure such as transport and communication infrastructures, and the literacy level was very low. During this period, government was mainly controlled by Islamic religious leaders using Islamic values. Shah with the support of the Western governments tried to modernized Iran by using oil generated wealth to build roads, schools, dams, electricity and other infrastructures and made Iran a self-sufficient country. The Shah government also opposed the Russian communism policy and carried out land reformed that allocated land to individual farmers. In order to sustain his relationship with the Western countries, Shah also allowed non-Muslim believers to practice their faith that was against the Iranian constitution (Kurzman, 2009).  Despite Shah’s effort to modernize Iran and make it a self-sufficient country, most of the Iranian did not like his governance. Most Iranian saw his leadership as an influence of western culture and this marked the beginning of the Iranian revolution that ended in 1978 when Shah fled into exile and Khomeini took over (Afary, & Anderson, 2010).

Several reasons exist to why the Iranian revolution seemed to be a reaction to western values and influences. First, the revolution was as a result of Shah Leadership to honor Islamic traditions. Prior to his regime, Islamic religious leaders had a big role to play in the government and were responsible for making the constitution. However, during the Shah regime he neglected Islamic religious leaders and adopted western policies in his government (Afary, & Anderson, 2010). Moreover, he allowed non-Muslim believer to exercise their faith that was against Islam constitution. He saw Muslim leaders as opposition to his government and alienated them from his governance. On the other hand, Iranians believed on their Islamic traditions and believed that western morals were corrupt. The revolution also aimed at opposing land reform that was enacted by Shah Regime with the help of western government. During the reforms, Shah deviated from the communism policy and allocated land to few farmers who supported his government. Although this improved food production in Iran, it created a huge gap between poor and the rich since it affected several people who were benefiting from the communism system (Afary, & Anderson, 2010).

According to Moaddel (2009) the revolution also aimed at restructuring the distribution of wealth in the country. During Shah Regime, the Iran economy improved drastically under the control of America and Britain. However, the distribution of wealth was unjust to Iranians since it only benefited Britain, American and Shah Supporters while other citizens suffered from unfair economic policies that were enacted by the government (Kurzman, 2009). The revolution was also against the use of machines brought from America and Britain to cultivate agricultural lands that led to the high rate of unemployment in Iran. The Islamic revolution was also against the political police made by the Shah government with the help of America and Britain to deal with political issues. The secret police were brutal to Iranian by torturing and killing those who were against the Shah regime.

Finally, the Iranian revolution is depicted as a reaction to western values and influence since it was started by a group of educated Iranians who had increased awareness of the unjust situation brought by the Shah government (Moaddel, 2009).




Afary, J., & Anderson, K. B. (2010). Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism. University of Chicago Press.

Bashiriyeh, H. (2011). The state and revolution in Iran (Vol. 27). Routledge.

Kurzman, C. (2009). The unthinkable revolution in Iran. Harvard University Press.

Moaddel, M. (2009). The Iranian revolution and its nemesis: The rise of liberal values among Iranians. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 29(1), 126-136.