Page 1

: A FIELD GUIDE


Iran understanding the making of the islamic republic


fig. 1.1

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INTRODUCTION by Marjane Satrapi

EXCERPT FROM THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS, 2002

In the second millennium B.C., while the Elam nation was developing a civilization alongside Babylon, Indo-European invaders gave their name to the immense Iranian plateau where they settled. The word “Iran” was derived from “Aryana Vaejo,” which means “the origin of the Aryans.” These people were semi-nomads whose descendants were the Medes and the Persians. The Medes founded the first Iranian nation in the seventh century B.C.; it was later destroyed by Cyrus the Great. He established what became one of the largest empires of the ancient world, the Persian Empire, in the sixth century B.C. Iran was referred to as Persia -- its Greek name -- until 1935 when Reza Shah, the father of the last Shah of Iran, asked everyone to call the country Iran. Iran was rich. Because of its wealth and its geographic location, [Iranh] was often subject to foreign domination: from Alexander the Great--its Arab neighbors to the west--Turks and Mongolian conquerors. Yet the Persian language and culture withstood these invasions. In the twentieth century, Iran entered a new phase. Reza Shah decided to modernize and westernize the country, but meanwhile a fresh source of wealth was discovered: oil. And with the oil came another invasion. The West, particularly Great Britain, wielded a strong influence on the Iranian economy. During the Second World War, the British, Soviets, and Americans asked Reza Shah to ally himself with them against Germany. But Reza Shah, who sympathized with the Germans, declared Iran a neutral zone. So the Allies invaded and occupied Iran. Reza Shah was sent into exile and was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was known simply as the Shah.

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THE GREEN MOVEMENT THE 2009 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THE GENERATION OF THE REVOLUTION

POST-REVOLUTION FUNDAMENTALIST CRACKDOWN: MASS EXECUTIONS OF OPPOSITION GROUPS IRAN-IRAQ WAR KHOMEINI’S REIGN OF TERROR

1978-9 REVOLUTION

PRE-REVOLUTION

SHAH’S POLICE & AUTHORITARIAN RULE “WHITE REVOLUTION,” CAMPAIGN TO WESTERNIZE POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN PARLIAMENT & SHAH OVER NATIONALIZINING OIL 1935- PERSIA OFFICIALLY RENAMED IRAN SHAH INSTALLED 1926- BEGINNING OF PAHLAVI DYNASTY ANTIQUITY - EARLY MODERN ERA 7


ANTIQUITY Achaemenian, Selucid, & Parthian Dynasty Cyrus the Great--Cambyses (son of Cyrus) extended persian empire into Egypt--Darius I builder of Persepolis--Xerxes marched on Greece--Alexander the Great looted & burned Persepolis--his generals founded the Selucid Dynasty--Parthian Dynasty fought off Romans for 300 years Sassanian Dynasty 224-651 AD Renaissance of Persian Culture; Art and Architecture flourish. Sasanian dynasty rules Persia; Zoroastrianism is dominant religion. In 636 Arabs take Persepolis; Beginning of Arab (and Islamic) domination. 9th-13th Century Emergence of modern Persian language (or Farsi), written using a form of Arabic script. 1202 Mongol forces of Genghis Khan invade. Rise of Turk Dynasties.

EARLY MODERN ERA - SAFAVID DYNASTY 1502-1524 Shah Ismail I becomes first ruler of Islamic Safavid dynasty; Shi’ism imposed through “example, zeal, massacre, pillage and torture.” 1588-1795 Succeeding Shah Abbas I ends ends 150 years of war against Ottoman Empire by signing Treaty of Qasr-e Shirin. Capital moved to Isfehan-away from Ottomans. Succession of weak and disconnected rulers. Afghanistan invades & rules Eastern Persia.

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fig. 1.3

ANTIQUITY - EARLY MODERN ERA 9


QAJAR DYNASTY & GREAT BRITAIN 1813-1896 1813-1828 Two wars are lost to Russia; Iran cedes control of Caucasus to Russia after second Russo-Persian war. Bah’ai Faith is created and considered heresy. 1848 Naser od-Din Shah started “modernization” of Persia after several visits to Europe--Began selling tobacco concessions to European companies. 1890 1890 - “Tobacco Riots”: Naser od-Din Shah forced to withdraw trade concessions granted to Britain after mass protests. shah assassinated. 1896-1913 1901 Succeeding shah gives British right to Iranian oil--Riots; 13,000-20,000 take refuge in British Embassy. 1907 A constitution limiting the absolutist powers of rulers is introduced.

“REZA SHAH” & THE PAHLAVI DYNASTY 1914-1923 Iran declares neutrality but is a scene of heavy fighting during World War I. 1921 - Military commander, Reza Khan seizes power after staging a coup against the Qajar Dynasty. In negotiations, clergy rejects republic; and accepts reza as shah in 1923. 1935 “Persia” officially renamed “Iran”.

Reza Shah Pahlavi

initiates various moves against religious authority; wearing of veil banned in

1935. Shah’s troops massacre hundreds of Reza Shrine in Mashhad.

protestors in Imam

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fig. 1.4

ANTIQUITY - EARLY MODERN ERA 11


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PRE-REVOLUTION

ANTIQUITY - EARLY MODERN ERA 13


MOHAMMAD REZA SHAH (SON) & THE EMERGENCE OF KHOMEINI 1941 World War II allies Britain and Soviet Union invade Iran to secure railway to supply Soviet Union. Britain and Soviet Union depose Reza and install weak, playboy son as new Shah 1953 Under the new shah, Prime minister Mossadegh dissolves the Parliament and rules by decree. the Shah dismisses Mossadegh as prime minister. Mossadegh refused to step down and instead arrested the royal messenger delivering the dismissal order. In a panic, the

Shah flees to Italy. CIA and British “Operation Ajax” with conservative Iranians to overthrow Mossadegh. Shah returns to Iran. intelligence initiate and execute

1961 October-November: Khomeini organizes opposition to the Shah’s Local council election bill. The Bill introduced by Shah’s government allows women to vote for the first time and non-Muslims to run for councils. Religious pressure forces government to back down completely and abandon the bill.

Khomeini emerges from fight as “the regime’s principal

political foe”

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PRE-REVOLUTION

fig. 2.2

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fig. 2.3

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28 January, 1977

“In 10-12 years we shall reach the quality of life enjoyed by you Europeans.”

- The Shah, in roundtable discussion with French TV

PRE-REVOLUTION

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fig. 2.4

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SHAH VS. KHOMEINI 1961-1963 Shah proposes “White Revolution”. 1963 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini emerges into political prominence in leading opposition to the Shah’s programs, issuing a manifesto listing the various ways in which the Shah had violated the constitution, condemned the spread of moral corruption in the country, and accused him of comprehensive submission to America and Israel. Shah orders to arrest Khomeini two days later, and major protest riots spring across cities in Iran. Martial law is declared and hundreds are killed. Khomeini spends thirteen years in exile.

fig. 2.5

1964 Khomeini released from jail; promptly resumes criticism of Shah; Exiled to Najaf, Iraq -- continues criticism w/ leaflets and cassettes. 1971-1975 Shah’s grandiose celebration of 2,500 years of empire at Persepolis. SAVAK increases spying, repression, torture and killing through 1970’s. SAVAK arrests, interrogates and tortures Rafsanjani, Montazeri and Khamenei. Economic hardship; inflation; lower oil revenue; spending on arms; budget deficit. 1977-1979 Khomeini’s 49-year old son dies suddenly; SAVAK suspected. Shah’s police kill hundreds of protestors in Qom, Tabriz, elsewhere. Khomeini’s exile moved to Paris; gains access to international press. Shah flees Jan 16; Khomeini arrives Feb. 1; Islamic Revolution begins...

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PRE-REVOLUTION


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13 January, 1977

“The United States is counting on Iran. Iran, today, is a stabilizing factor in the middle east.”

- Henry Kissinger, Former US Secretary Of State, Banquet At Iranian Embassy In Washington Dc

PRE-REVOLUTION

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THE SERIES OF EVENTS THAT SET OFF THE 1978-9 REVOLUTION 1971-1977 Critics of the Shah’s extravagant 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire at Persepolis. “As the foreigners reveled on drink forbidden by Islam, Iranians were not only excluded from the festivities, some were starving.” The oil boom of the 1970s produced alarming increase in inflation and waste and an “accelerating gap” between the rich and poor, the city and the country. By mid-1977 economic disparity united liberals and conservatives alike to form the core of revolution’s demonstrators and

“martyrs”.

Shah 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.’ All Iranians were required to join and pay dues to a new political party, the Rastakhiz party – all other parties being banned. Death of influential modernist Islamist leader Ali Shariati at the hands of SAVAK (Shah’s secret police). Both angered his followers, and removed a potential rival to Khomeini. In October Khomeini’s son Mostafa died of a heart attack, his death also blamed on SAVAK. A subsequent memorial service for Mostafa in Tehran put Khomeini back in the spotlight.

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PRE-REVOLUTION

fig. 2.6

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10 September, 1977

“To those who are asking only for freedom, we ask, you want the freedom to do what?”

- The Shah, interview with Kayhan, Tehran

PRE-REVOLUTION

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fig. 2.7

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1978-9 REVOLUTION

PRE-REVOLUTION

SHAH’S POLICE POLICE & & SHAH’S AUTHORITARIAN AUTHORITARIAN RULE RULE “WHITE REVOLUTION,” “WHITETO REVOLUTION,” CAMPAIGN WESTERNIZE CAMPAIGN TO WESTERNIZE POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN PARLIAMENT & SHAH OVER PARLIAMENT & SHAH OVER NATIONALIZINING OIL NATIONALIZINING OIL 19351935 - PERSIA PERSIA OFFICIALLY OFFICIALLY RENAMED RENAMED IRAN IRAN SHAH SHAH INSTALLED INSTALLED 19261926 - BEGINNING BEGINNING OF OF PAHLAVI DYNASTY PAHLAVI DYNASTY ANTIQUITY - EARLY MODERN ERA 27


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14 October, 1977

“Black reactionaries wish to take the nation back 2000 years.�

- The Shah, speaking to parliamentary leaders, in reference to recent student demonstrations

1978-9 REVOLUTION

29


January - February, 1970

“We must establish a government that will enjoy the trust of the people ... An Islamic government does not resemble states where the people are deprived of all security and everyone sits at home trembling for fear of a sudden raid or attack by the agents of the state. It was that way under Mu’awiya and similar rulers: the people had no security, and they were killed or banished, or imprisoned for lengthy periods on the strength of an accusation or a mere suspicion, because the government was not Islamic.”

- Khomeini in exile, January - February, 1970

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1978-9 REVOLUTION

fig. 2.8

fig. 2.9

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10 November, 1977

“Iran condemns torture.”

- Ashraf Pahlavi, the Shah’s twin sister, at the UN, Rastaakhiz, Tehran

1978-9 REVOLUTION

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fig. 3.0

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1978-9 REVOLUTION

35


fig. 3.1 Iranian students in the U.S. demonstrate near the White House during Mohammad Reza Shah’s official visit to the U.S. in November, 1977.

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15 November, 1977

“Demonstrations in the US had no effect on our talks with Carter.�

- The Shah, press conference in Washington DC, referring to antiShah demonstrations in front of the White house during his visit.

1978-9 REVOLUTION

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fig. 3.2

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1978: THE YEAR OF ‘BLACK FRIDAY’ September 8, 1978

Black Friday is the name given to September 8, 1978 (17 Shahrivar 1357 AP) and the shooting of protestors in Zhaleh (or Jaleh) Square in Tehran, Iran. The deaths and the reaction to them has been described as a pivotal event in the Iranian Revolution when any “hope for compromise” between the protest movement and the Shah’s regime was extinguished.[1] “From the middle of 1978, street demonstrations reached an unprecedented level. The Shah 1978-9 REVOLUTION replaced Amuzegar with Sharif-Emami (August 27). Many cities were placed under martial law. It was too late. People poured to the streets to defy the Shah. Sharif-Emami, once more, sent the army in front of the people. This time tanks were used to disperse demonstrators. The tactic was not successful. Soldiers were ordered to shoot. They did, and according to the opposition, more than 600 people were killed in Zhaleh Square alone. This day (September 8) became known as the Black Friday and that square’s name was changed to the Square of Martyrs. Since the beginning of his appointment Sharif-Emami had tried to reach a kind of compromise with moderate groups of opposition; Black Friday made any compromise impossible. Shah, once more, changed the prime minister. This time he appointed a military man, General Azhari (November 6). It was useless. Along with daily demonstrations, workers strikes in major industries-including oil-had paralyzed the country.” [1]

[1]

“Black Friday”. Archived from the original on 2003-05-20.

http://www.internews.org/visavis/BTVPages/Theislamicrevolution.html#Black_Friday

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fig. 3.3

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3 February, 1979

“Any change in the form of government of Iran should be through free elections and not through demonstrations by an emotional crowd in the streets.�

- Shahpour Bakhtiar, last prime minister of the imperial regime

1978-9 REVOLUTION

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fig. 3.4

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1978-9 REVOLUTION

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fig. 3.5

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3 February, 1979

“This ‘Islamic Republic’ is an unknown for me ... I will compromise neither with Shah nor with Khomeini. I will not give permission to Ayatollah Khomeini to form an interim government ... I will implement all of Ayatollah Khomeini’s views in law ... I shall reply to molotov cocktails by molotov cocktails ... An Islamic government limited to Qom is permissible, and we shall then have a Vatican too ...”

- Shahpour Bakhtiar, prime minister, Tehran radio interview

1978-9 REVOLUTION

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fig. 3.6

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3 February, 1979

“We have lost our most important provider of oil.”

- Israeli Minister of Justice

1978-9 REVOLUTION

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fig. 3.7

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POST-REVOLUTION

1978-9 REVOLUTION

PRE-REVOLUTION

SHAH’S POLICE POLICE & & SHAH’S AUTHORITARIAN AUTHORITARIAN RULE RULE “WHITE REVOLUTION,” “WHITETO REVOLUTION,” CAMPAIGN WESTERNIZE CAMPAIGN TO WESTERNIZE POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN PARLIAMENT & SHAH OVER PARLIAMENT & SHAH OVER NATIONALIZINING OIL NATIONALIZINING OIL 19351935 - PERSIA PERSIA OFFICIALLY OFFICIALLY RENAMED RENAMED IRAN IRAN SHAH SHAH INSTALLED INSTALLED 19261926 - BEGINNING BEGINNING OF OF PAHLAVI DYNASTY PAHLAVI DYNASTY ANTIQUITY - EARLY MODERN ERA 49


fig. 3.8

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4 February, 1979

POST-REVOLUTION

“What we had not predicted was that a 78 year old man, an Ayatollah who had spent 14 years in exile, could forge together these forces and turn all of these volcanos into one immense volcano, into a national and real revolution.�

- Stansfield Turner, Director of the CIA

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“The religious dignitaries do not want to rule.” - Khomeini on October 25, 1978 in exile in Neauphle-le-Chateau France

Fallacy #1 Islamic Clerics will help lead the revolution but then step aside to let others rule.

--

“Those who pretend that religious dignitaries should not rule, poison the atmosphere and combat against Iran’s interests.” - Khomeini on August 18, 1979, less than a year later and about 6 months after his triumphal return to Iran.

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KHOMEINI’S REVERSAL OF PROMISES

POST-REVOLUTION

fig. 3.9

53


“The Islamic government will answer criticism by reason and logic.” -

Khomeini in exile, November 9, 1978

Fallacy #2 Criticism of Islamic government will be tolerated.

--

“I repeat for the last time: abstain from holding meetings, from blathering, from publishing protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth.” - Threat issued to opponents of clerical rule by Khomeini in Iran October 22, 1979.

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KHOMEINI’S REVERSAL OF PROMISES

POST-REVOLUTION

fig. 4.0

55


“We must establish a government that will enjoy the trust of the people - God knows that your capacity and courage are not less than those of others - unless, of course, the meaning of courage is oppressing and slaughtering the people; that kind of courage we certainly don’t have.” -

We

Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970 Fallacy #3

will put an end to political oppression and killing.

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KHOMEINI’S REVERSAL OF PROMISES

Since 1979, the Islamic Republic has systemPOST-REVOLUTION atically adopted policies aimed at crushing all individuals and organizations which refuse to conform with its totalitarian ideology. On June 20, 1981, half a million residents of Tehran took to the streets to start organized resistance to the Khomeini regime. Revolutionary Guards fired on the crowds, killing scores, and thousands were arrested. Since then, leaders of the People’s Mojahedin estimate that at least 70,000 opponents of the regime have been killed, and 140,000 imprisoned.

fig. 4.1

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fig. 4.2

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March 9, 1989

POST-REVOLUTION

“Khomeini has now lost control over the situation. The illogical measures and policies that Khomeini adopts must be viewed in this context. It is all done out of absolute desperation.”

- Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i, founder, Iranian League for the Defense of Democracy and Independence, and member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Washington, DC

59


“Behesht-e-Zahra is more than a place of burial. It is a chronicle of the turbulent and tragic 1980s in Iran…” =

fig. 4.3

BEHESHT-E-ZAHRA, TEHRAN 60


KHOMEINI’S REIGN OF TERROR

POST-REVOLUTION At least 4400 persons, ranging from cabinet ministers to prostitutes from coup plotters to street protestors, were executed by the Islamic regime in the first few years of the revolution.

Another 3000 and perhaps as many as 600010,000 political prisoners were executed in September and October 1989. Most of these were Mojahedin guerillas, but many were nonviolent demonstrators.

Accompanying these executions was a systematic political elimination of the Khomeini’s erstwhile revolutionary allies turned opposition. The government banned their periodicals and arrested their leaders. Pro-government Islamist thugs beat their protestors, and smashed and looted their news stands, bookstores, and offices.[1]

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fig. 4.4

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April, 1989

POST-REVOLUTION

“Everywhere they are saying that we are murderers, that we are killing people. Until now, not one person has been killed. We are faced with enemies bent on destroying our nation, our humanity, and our religion. We have tried to refine their manners. If we do not succeed, then we imprison them. if this does not work, then we refine them for good. This has been done by all the prophets since the beginning of time.�

- Ayatollah Khomeini on opposition in Iran

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fig. 4.5

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March 9, 1989

POST-REVOLUTION

“As reports spread of massacres of nightly batches of 100 prisoners in each of two prisons in the capital area, relatives frantically seeking information created daily traffic jams around the cemetery where truckloads of corpses were delivered... In Tabriz, blood-soaked clothes were delivered to the parents of victims to inform them of the executions of their sons and daughters. In Tehran, 15-yearold Sima Harari was executed along with five other members of the Harari family. Also in Tehran, Mostafa Mirza’i, who was only 10 when he was imprisoned in 1981, was executed at age 17...”

- Richard H. Curtiss, State Department Human Rights Report

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fig. 4.6

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April 1989

POST-REVOLUTION

“Executions are for carrying out divine orders. They may or may not solve a problem ... Do you think we should give candy to those who have links from inside prison with the Monafeqin (hypocrites—the regime’s term for the Mojahedin) who mounted an armed attack inside Iran’s borders? In our view they deserve death. We execute them, and we don’t hide it.”

- President Ali Khamenei, in a question-and-answer session with Tehran University students

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1980-1989: IRAN-IRAQ WAR, INTERNAL CONFLICT CONTINUES...

“The mosque turned into a military command center because this is where everyone came when we knew the Iraqis were advancing. The men who had weapons--any kind of weapon--went outside the town to try to delay the Iraqi dvance... The women stayed here to tear cloth for bandages. When the fighting came closer, some of them left for the field to be nurses. None of it made any difference. The Iraqis kept coming. We pulled everything we could move into the road. They just kept coming and we kept retreating back toward the mosque. At the end, we were throwing Molotov cocktails at tanks. And then it was over.�

Jamal Rahmani, one of the defenders of Khorramshahr, October 1980.

fig. 2.3

-

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POST-REVOLUTION

fig. 4.7

Both the internal war between the political clerics and their opponents and the external campaign to export the Islamic Revolution took place against the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war.

[1]

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Khomeini... Khameini... =

“At the time of Khomeini’s death Khamenei was not a marja or even an ayatollah, and the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran required the Supreme Leader to be a marja. However, Ayatollah Khomeini had not been satisfied with the field of candidates to replace him and in April 1989, three months before his death, assigned a team to revise the constitution so that the Supreme Leader of Iran need only be an expert on Islamic jurisprudence...” =

JUNE 1989, KHOMEINI’S FUNERAL. 70

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POST-REVOLUTION

71

fig. 4.8


1980-1989: IRAN-IRAQ WAR, INTERNAL CONFLICT CONTINUES...

fig. 4.9

“War served as the canvas for revolutionary creativity. Combat, which painted on that canvas in blood, provided the opportunity for martyrdom to the recruits of the Basij, the child of the Revolutionary Guards. The Basij operated from nine thousand mosques, enrolling boys below eighteen, men above forty-five, and women. Primarily the zealous products of poor, devout families from rural areas, they volunteered for temporary duty in God’s war between school terms or in the interim dividing one season’s harvest and the next season’s planting. Boys as young as twelve, shaped by the fanaticism of the revolution, walked across minefields to clear the way for the advancing Pasdaran, followed by the army. Thousands joined the ranks of the dead. Many now lie in those seemingly endless graves in Behesht-eZahra.” [1]

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POST-REVOLUTION

fig. 5.0

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fig. 5.1

fig. 5.2

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THE GREEN MOVEMENT

POST-REVOLUTION FUNDAMENTALIST FUNDAMENTALIST CRACKCRACKDOWN: DOWN: MASS MASS EXECUTIONS EXECUTIONS OF OF OPPOSITION OPPOSITION GROUPS GROUPS IRAN-IRAQ WAR IRAN-IRAQ WAR KHOMEINI’S KHOMEINI’S REIGN OF OF TERROR TERROR REIGN 1978-9 REVOLUTION

PRE-REVOLUTION

SHAH’S POLICE POLICE & & SHAH’S AUTHORITARIAN AUTHORITARIAN RULE RULE “WHITE REVOLUTION,” “WHITETO REVOLUTION,” CAMPAIGN WESTERNIZE CAMPAIGN TO WESTERNIZE POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN PARLIAMENT & SHAH OVER PARLIAMENT & SHAH OVER NATIONALIZINING OIL NATIONALIZINING OIL 19351935 - PERSIA PERSIA OFFICIALLY OFFICIALLY RENAMED RENAMED IRAN IRAN SHAH INSTALLED INSTALLED SHAH 1926BEGINNING OF OF 1926 - BEGINNING PAHLAVI PAHLAVI DYNASTY DYNASTY ANTIQUITY - EARLY MODERN ERA 75


fig. 5.3

76


THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

THE GENERATION OF THE REVOLUTION

“He’s part of the Generation of the Revolution, who grew up after

1979 and account for more than two-thirds of the country’s 70 million people. Variously described as jaded and lacking belief in their futures— “a burned generation,” as Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi put it— they are increasingly leaving for Europe and elsewhere. Some have a rich consciousness of their Persian past while at the same time supporting the idea of Islamic unity; some feel only Persian or only Islamic; and others immerse themselves in Western culture through television programming received on illegal satellite dishes.”

- Margeurite Del Giudice, The Generation of the Revolution

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fig. 5.4

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THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

THE GENERATION OF THE REVOLUTION

“At times the government has tried to diminish the importance of Now-

ruz or replace it with a different New Year, such as the birthday of Imam Ali, the historical leader of the Shiite Muslims. “They would bring forces and arrest people,” my friend Ali said. “ But they couldn’t get rid of Nowruz because we’ve been practicing Nowruz for 2,500 years! They don’t really control us, because they can’t control what’s inside us. ...Many Iranians by nature are not particularly religious, in the sense of being mosque-goers and fasters… There’s a tendency to follow more of a Zoroastrian model from antiquity, with its disdain for rules and for the presumption that an intermediary, such as mullah, is required to know Allah. The spiritual journey had tended to be more inward, in keeping with the Persian proverb “Knowledge of self is knowledge of God.

At his home one night, half

a dozen friends sat in a circle and confided how awful it was to be trapped in an environment of fear and secrecy, not knowing if a friend or a loved one has been put in a position to make reports on what you’re thinking and saying and doing. “The ayatollahs and the ordinary people—everyone has to pretend… You don’t know who is telling the truth; you don’t know who is really religious and who isn’t.”

- Margeurite Del Giudice, The Generation of the Revolution

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June 10, 2009. Khoramabad, Iran

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THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

81 fig. 5.5


fig. 5.6

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THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

POST-ELECTION: 2009 ASHURA PROTESTS December 27, 2009 The 2009 Ashura protests were a series of protests which occurred on 27 December 2009 in Iran against the outcome of the June 2009 Iranian presidential election, which demonstrators claim was rigged. The demonstrations were part of the 2009 Iranian election protests and were the largest since June. In December 2009, the protests saw an escalation in violence. The Iranian Government security forces opened fire on protesters on the Shi’a holy day of Ashura, a day “symbolically about justice” and during which any kind of violence is forbidden.[2]

“From Imam Hussain Square to Freedom Square, from

east to west along Revolution Street, the political and religious symbology of Iran’s Islamic regime was turned on its head on Sunday, Dec. 27. Hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters brought Shi’ite tradition to bear against an increasingly brutal government, and the blood of martyrs was once again spilled. Reports had at least five dead. One of those killed was the 35-year-old nephew of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Witnesses say one woman was run down and killed by a Basij member driving a car. And Monday saw a number of opposition figures arrested, including senior aides to Mousavi, as well as reports of more clashes. The opposition website Norooz claimed that police had fired tear gas to disperse a group of Mousavi supporters who were demonstrating outside the hospital where the opposition leader’s nephew Seyed Ali Mousavi had been kept.”

[1]

TIME Staff (December 28, 2009). “On a Holy Day, Protest and Carnage in Tehran”.

TIME,com. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1950176,00.html

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“I am certain that this night of darkness will not last. The moon of freedom will emerge from behind the clouds of religious tyranny.� -Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji, in a letter from prison on the forty-third day of a hunger strike, July 23, 2005

=

TEHRAN, IRAN 84


THE GREEN MOVEMENT

85 fig. 5.7


fig. 5.8

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THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

POST-ELECTION: 2009 ASHURA PROTESTS December 27, 2009 “...As the growing crowds approached the Hafez

overpass, a shout arose to take the bridge. Hundreds streamed into the road. But the same moment saw the first wave of police attacks. More than a dozen police bikes drew up to the crowd. The lead rider pulled out a tear-gas pistol and shot into the crowd at close range. Pandemonium ensued. During earlier protests, chants of “Death to the dictator” would have been heard — calls that automatically follow scenes of open police brutality. But today something snapped. “Death to Khamenei” was the call of escaping protesters. Crowds scattered. Police singled out individuals and showed little mercy with their batons and whips. An officer was severely beating one man repeatedly over the shoulders and head as he crouched in the dirt by the sidewalk. A woman in a chador tried to pull him away, but she became the officer’s next target. Somehow, though, the policeman found himself alone, and enraged protesters assailed him with rocks. One man hurled half a brick at his helmet from a distance of less than a yard. In the back alleys, a tall, well-built man who had been severely beaten walked, head held high, alongside his wife. Blood streamed from a growing bulge on his forehead. He smiled. Perhaps he had given as good as he had received. Many had now been forced away from the main route and were heading west via other routes. The next major gathering was at the junction of Valiasr Street and Taleghani Street, where young men were urging thousands of still tentative protesters to join the main crowd of tens of thousands...” [1]

TIME Staff (December 28, 2009). “On a Holy Day, Protest and Carnage in Tehran”.

TIME,com. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1950176,00.html

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fig. 5.9

fig. 6.0

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THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

POST-ELECTION: 2009 ASHURA PROTESTS December 27, 2009 ...Twice, police charges were forced back by the sheer weight of numbers and the readiness like never before of protesters to confront security forces and throw rocks. “This is a civil movement,” said a youth juggling a jagged piece of rock in his hand. At one of the many Ashura refreshment stalls placed incongruously in the heart of the battle, a man described a clash he had just witnessed. He said the crowd had taken down one policeman and lifted his helmet in the air like a trophy. Others at the refreshment stall listened as they ate lentil soup and drank tea with dates. No more than 100 yards away, police clashed once again with protesters, while the black-shirted, chador-wearing Shi’ite faithful gathered around the stall cried, “Death to the dictator!” Farther west but still to the north of Revolution Street, Farmers’ Boulevard was heavy with traffic and alive with the constant monotonous din of honking horns. The junction of Workers’ Street was the scene of possibly the largest gathering of the day. Thousands were already marching toward Revolution Square directly to the south. In the middle of the road, protesters were encouraging a crowd just as large to join the main crowd farther down. On the traffic island, six men considered cutting the wires to the traffic lights to induce further chaos. “Does anyone have any pliers?” a man asked the stationary motorists. Rhythmic, deep booms came from the north like the sound of thunderous footsteps. Again the protesters were reclaiming religious practices. This time they had improvised the battle drums associated with the Ashura festival with metal trash cans, which they wheeled down the street and pounded with heavy planks of wood and lumps of concrete... [1]

TIME Staff (December 28, 2009). “On a Holy Day, Protest and Carnage in Tehran”.

TIME,com. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1950176,00.html

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fig. 6.1

fig. 6.2

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THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

POST-ELECTION: 2009 ASHURA PROTESTS December 27, 2009 ...Tens of thousands of Iranians brandishing green ribbons and bandannas followed the war drums down toward the square. On the corner, a billboard bearing the image of Ayatullah Khomeini looked on benevolently. That crowd never made it. Ripples of fear prompted a stampede after a concerted police charge. Tear gas and batons held the day once more. But word later came through that many had in fact reached Revolution Square and some had even gone to Tehran’s iconic Freedom Monument. On Sunday, Iran’s opposition made the symbolic journey from a square named after its most revered hero toward a monument dedicated to freedom, along a street called Revolution. The last remaining protesters used V signs to hail their taxis home.”

[1]

TIME Staff (December 28, 2009). “On a Holy Day, Protest and Carnage in Tehran”.

TIME,com. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1950176,00.html

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fig. 6.3

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THE GREEN GREEN MOVEMENT MOVEMENT THE

THE GENERATION OF THE REVOLUTION

“An irony is that the Islamic revolution… appears to have strengthened the very ties to antiquity that it tried so hard to sever...There has been this constant onslaught on our identity, and the reaction has always been to return to that deepest identity...

In official documents, where possible, references to Iran were replaced

with references to Islam. Zoroastrian symbols were replaced with Islamic symbols, streets were renamed, and references to the Persian Empire sdfsdfk disappeared from schoolbooks. For a time it seemed that Ferdowsi’s tomb—a big, pale stone mausoleum outside the holy city of Mashhad, with a beautiful reflecting pool leading up to it and chirping birds racing about the columns—might be destroyed. Even Persepolis was in danger of being razed. “But they realized this would unite the people against them,” Ali said, “and they had to give up.”

- Margeurite Del Giudice, The Generation of the Revolution

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“If there is anyone who believes that there will be another wave [of unrest] in Iran, I totally disagree. In Iran, an event will not take place easily. Because the clergy and the religious forces are the most rooted classes of this society ... There are a hundred thousand mosques and Hosseiyyehs, surrounded by a lot of good people, and the clergy has the leadership. Now that we are in power; the mosques must be accountable to the opposition. If someday a government takes over that is against these [religious classes], putting them in opposition, they will give such a government hell.� -Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 2004

=

TEHRAN, IRAN 94

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Iran: A Field Guide - Understanding the Making of the Islamic Republic  

Anthology of photographs, journalism, art, and revolutionary propaganda collected for the investigation, to better understand and make acces...

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