Seldom has it happened that the entire globe has spent an era of sheer piece and calmness, without any subtle and apparent adversities and animosity among the mankind and the nations that he endorses. Somewhat similar is the case with the 20th century; no matter how advance and sophisticated the lives of mankind would become, seldom does it find rest; and in numerous instances, this unrest within mankind (nations), result in the most significant revolutions of the history.

Iranian Revolution

As mentioned earlier, that the unrest found in mankind and his nations result in the most significant revolutions, which do not find it hard to make their ways to the most read pages of history; somewhat similar is the case with the most acknowledged revolution of the 20th century, which is the Iranian revolution. Intrinsically, the Iranian revolution had its roots adhered to the basic principles of Islam; this is the sole reason why the Iranian revolution is also called Islamic revolution. Consolidating it firmness since 1977 and finally taking the full potential in the year 1979, the prime context of this Iranian or Islamic revolution rested at the overthrowing of the monarchy of Iran, under the supreme leadership and astute supervision of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It was due to this revolution that Iran’s existing monarchy was deliberately substituted by the Islamic republic. It was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who was not only the diligent and brave leader of the revolution, but also grasped the dwindling foothold of Iran right after the revolution. 

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Its Causes

It will not be wrong to state that the internal conditions and the manners of rule and authority paved way for the Iranian revolution. For quite a long time, Iran had been led into rather western and secular society; where, the norms, practices and other aspects of the society were gradually impersonating the aspects of the western and the secular societies. For a rather extensive period, Iran was an excessively centralized monarch or royal state. An over sized and extremely lavished and heavily financed army, as well as other security forces would be equipped and prepared for guarding and protecting the royal structure of the state. Numerous historians are of the view that the revolution was in reality a backfire of this excessively westernized and secular approaches being adopted by the establishment, as well as a repercussion of the ongoing social injustices. 

Soon enough the Iranian nation started to see the path on which their country was headed, and the subtle western approaches of their shah. These acknowledgements by the nation played a pivotal role in diminishing the popularity scale of the shah among the population of the country. What was perceived to be the results of the censure and sheer criticism by Ayatollah Khomeini, against shah and his approaches, resulted in his (Ayatollah Khomeini’s) exile from the country. The nation, quite soon started to perceive their shah as the quite puppet of the western secular powers, especially America, whom they believed had beheld their shah in a rather abstruse manner.

Seeing the ever increasing disapproval of public and their hatred, the regime of shah started to do everything at its disposal to subdue to subtle uprising, and as a consequence resorted to brutality, corruption and oppression, which further segmented and enhanced the uprising against him and his regime.  This confused state of mind of shah, made the country suffer in economic and other terms, as well; causing the failure of some significant functions, economic debacle and much more. Such incidents gradually started to place one ideology (that of modern Iran) and the ideology of the revolutionists, and there began the period of the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Overview of the Historic Background

The history of the revolution goes beyond the westernization and the prime establishment of the shah. The real roots of the revolution can be attributed to the influence the Ulema of shia’ites had on most of the population of Iran, who would be more prone towards the Islamic lifestyle, norms, and traditions, and abhorred any possible form of the western approaches in the lifestyles of common people. Such a group had earlier depicted its political strength, opposition and criticism to the prevalent monarchy in Iran in the late 19th century, by forcefully boycotting the ongoing monopoly of the British company over the tobacco industry of Iran. Not late enough, the circumstances brought the clergy and monarch against each other again, after decades; however, this time it was rather difficult for the clergy, and the monarch managed to maintain an upper hand. What further augmented the opposition and rivalry between the two was the replacement of the Islamic laws, with the western laws, and the traditional Iranian dressing with that of the western attires, and most importantly the ban on the veils that were worn by women, by the army general and monarch of that time, Reza Pahlavi. Numerous innocent people lost their lives, in the endeavor of opposing the suppression being caused by the shah. Both America and Britain kept on aiding and assisting the shah to maintain his rule and supremacy over the country.

Eventual Outcome

The background and the circumstances of the revolution are rather extensive in nature and extremely broad, with respect to the impacts, the laid ground work, and the aftermaths it rendered for the monarchy of Iran. However, the eventual outcome of the revolution resulted in the overthrowing of the monarchy, and the establishment of the pure Islamic regime in Iran, which astutely reinstated the Islamic laws, norms, and ways of life style for both men and women. Soon enough, the traditional Iranian and Islamic norms started to return in the processes, approaches and functions of the country, and hence, it was revered as the Islamic revolution.

Its Significance In The 20th Century History

Iranian or Islamic revolution holds a great significance in the history of the 20th century. Primarily because of the repercussions and the outcome it holds. The most important factor of this revolution is the manner in which it broke the shackles of the western clutch and grip, and found its own way towards the identity and real face of what an Islamic country should be. During the 20th century, the western influence was a common factor on almost every state of the world; however, very few of them fought their way to evade this ever increasing influence, which was detrimental to their own identity, values, norms, beliefs and cultures. Iran showed that level of fortitude and courage to bring down the massive influence and find back their lost identity and tradition. This is the reason, why this revolution holds so much importance, amidst the ever increasing grip of western influence on countries. 


Finding its way amongst the top revolutions of the world, the Iranian revolution clearly changed the face of the country, with respect to what the people were enduring under the rule of the shah, and what they longed for, and eventually achieved. It is imperative to revere the dedication and the courage of Iranian population that did not dread any sacrifice, which they had to render, in order to achieve this revolution for their present and upcoming generations.

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