The Crowd in the Iranian Revolution of 1977-79

by sadegh

An interesting lecture by Prof. Ervand Abrahamian, one of the most important scholars of modern Iranian politics on the nature and role of the crowd in the course of the Iranian revolution...


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Best wishes........

by Nadias on


Sadegh and Anonymous4now

I  want to thank you, once again for all the political information. It has been a pleasure


solh va doosti/paz a vosotros/paix et amitié





Anonymous4now: Excellent

by Not Anonymous (not verified) on

Anonymous4now: Excellent analysis and links. With your wealth of knowledge, you should write your own book. It would be a best seller; at least among Iranians.

Shah's nationalism did not confuse the sound and fury of hatred with hard, patient work of gaining the practical capability needed to contend politically, economically, scientifically, and technologically.

By the end of his reign, Iran was taking off in every arena of modernization: science, technology, economy, culture, environment, and especially women’s rights. Internationally, Iran was at peace with all countries, east to west and north to south, despite the tensions inherent in a bipolar world.

The Islamism revolution destroyed all this and scared away the valuable human and material assets that had made possible Iran’s progress in so many different fields. Instead, it invited violence and war. To take a true measure of the calamity that befell our nation, we must consider the opportunity cost of the Islamic Republic: What Iran would now be if the revolution had not occurred compared to what it is now. In the last 15 years the Shah's reign our annual industrial growth exceeded 20 percent, our industrial plants and work force doubled, our GNP increased 13 times from $4 billion to $53 billion, per capita income eight times, passing $2400 in 1978. Today, after 28+ years of Islamist rule, our per capita income is less than what it was in 1978. But this is not all.

The Islamists introduced murder as politics by other means. As one of their most notorious judges said, Khomeini, their leader, considered those who had served under the Shah guilty; all that was needed to execute them was to ascertain their identity. This callous disregard of the law was soon extended even to groups that had been instrumental in the Islamist’s victory. As agents of terror and assassination, the Islamists did not discriminate. Even now, they incarcerate and torture innocent people for no reason at all in order to scare others into submission by reminding them of the boundaries they have set beyond which no one may tread.

After 28+ years of (mis)rule, the Islamic Republic has now offered Iranians a fanatic named Ahamdinejad as president. This is an affront to our history. Some have suggested the new president appeals to masses. He does not. Nor is baseness to be justified on the pretext that some people at some time may be deceived. Iranians may not always correctly identify the foundations of their own or their nation’s felicity in a complex global world. A leader, however; may not be excused for intellectual vacuity or moral depravity.

Ahmadinejad represents a leadership awash in both. The effect is that the regime fails in economic, social and cultural fields. It also routinely places the country and the people in harm’s way, even when it may be in the right otherwise, as when the regime argues that Iranians may master nuclear technology for peaceful use.

Clearly, the future is not reassuring for our people. The regime has placed Iran at odds with the world’s major powers. At the moment, these powers are confused about how to deal with the Islamic Republic. There is talk of accommodating the Islamists. This only whets their appetite. There is talk of bombing Iran. This is wrong not only morally, but also because it will likely strengthen the regime.

The truth is that the future Iran, and consequently the prospect of peace in the Middle East, is in the hands of Iranian people. The world must support their right to freedom and dignity. That is the most constructive thing it can do.

The Iranian opposition leaders, however, must do more. They must learn to address the people’s everyday needs, especially the excruciatingly difficult hurdles the young men and women face. Appeals to democracy and human rights must be supported by politics that address the nitty-gritty of the people’s everyday life or they depreciate to bland and insipid slogans.

To win, the opposition must give the people options they can relate to, offer alternative policies, tell people clearly why the policies it offers will improve their condition and why the present regime is structurally unable to devise and implement such policies eve if it so desires. More important, the opposition must learn to take risks and tell Iranians honestly that unless they are prepared to take risks, all else will likely prove ineffectual.

To Mrs. Solh va doosti:

Dear Mrs. "Solh va doosti", since you've inquired: I have no political affiliations; past or present. I also have no wish to engage in any further conversation with you on this thread or any others. Leave me in Peace. Thanks.


Thanks for the links

by sadegh on

Thanks for the links Anonymous4now...very much appreciated...

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh



Don't you just love it when........

by Nadias on


 unregistered commenters pop up like daisies and start making demands like the following:

"What is this Professor's political affiliation and what ideology does he subscribes to??"

I say let the unregistered individual state his/her political affiliations and ideologies that they subcribe to as well.  

It is not like we can read his/her blogs/articles to get a good idea of what he/she believes in because there are none.

It is more like a "hit an run" statement or question.

By reading any books, articles and watching any video clips on an individual, one can gain a  better understanding of what an individual thinks.  

solh va doosti/paz a vosotros/paix et amitié





by Anonymous4now on

Here are some sites I have used in the past for downloading Farsi books.





Thanks Anonymous4now...and

by sadegh on

Thanks Anonymous4now...and thanks for the link...btw, how can i use that website to search for more books in Farsi?

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh



Sadegh Jaan:

by Anonymous4now on

Thank you for your response.


I don’t think you need too many theories for what happened in Iran.  In retrospect, it was all written on the wall.  The Shah, despite all his character flaws, more or less typical of all human beings, was a nationalist and wanted the most accelerated path for growth, in Iran.  His only experience was the dizzying rate of growth from impoverishment and insignificance to industrialization and the awakening of Iran and Iranians, during his fathers reign.  So naturally he believed that if he could put a blind fold on Iranians and then deliver them into paradise they would all understand.  As he said himself, he wanted to put Iran in a path of democracy, but he believed that hungry stomachs need food and can't appreciate democracy (in a way his point is proven in today’s IRI, when people seem to live under extreme tyranny and indignation, but are busy making ends meet).  As can be realized this is flawed thinking and democracy is a process and not a switch that can be turned on. 

There had been 5 attempts on his life and a serious challenge to his reign (1953), and two of his Prime Ministers, Razmara and Mansur had been assassinated (Rafsanjani boasted about providing the gun for Mansur’s assassination) and there was the constant threat posed by the influence of the Russians through the leftist sympathizers and leftist doctrine which the young and educated seemed to gravitate to, and the Islamists who had a base amongst the majority of the population.  His system of government then tried to keep people unexposed to the political ideology of the left by banning books and appeasing the religious establishment so as to neutralize the religious masses.  This created a large population of politically illiterate people with extreme naiveté on world affairs.  Those affected by the extreme pace of development complained that Iran was not a properly administered country like one of the Western nations, and those unaffected, were at extreme odds with the culture that this sudden change had brought about.  Naturally, this naive population was susceptible to propaganda, each segment in its own way.  

The stories of torture and executions were blown out of proportion.  Golesorkhi had picked up arms and had planned to kidnap and kill the Royal family.  The Fadeyin Eslam, the Fadayein khalgh, the Mojahedin were all terrorist organization who had picked up arms and were not political movements any more.  Their members were tortured and in extreme cases (Siahkal, Goleh Sorkhi, Rezaie brothers,…) were executed for armed struggle.  The point is that the potent propaganda machine of the left made much out of these issues and exaggerated them to extreme.  The so called intellectuals like Shariaty (master of safsateh) had impressed the naïve population who had believed the propaganda whole heartedly and were looking for guidance.  In the early 70’s (1971-72), people who seemingly were not of a religious bend would flock into the uptown mosque of magidieh ershad, as they did into other mosques, to hear what they wanted to believe to be their salvation from this corrupt and ruthless regime, which the left had made it out to be (there was corruption, but no more or less than any other country).  Propaganda was so prevalent that Amnesty International took the numbers and assertions at face value and published them (that is why they are now shy about publishing numbers about IRI atrocities because they were misled before).

I was witness to an example of it myself.  In 1977 CBS aired an episode of 60 minutes which featured an Iranian dissident who had escaped the wrath of the Shah’s brutal regime and was living in Washington D.C.  The man who had an embarrassingly bad English accent limped and, as he claimed, had lost partial use of one leg because of the torture he had suffered at the hands of SAVAK.   Mike Wallace spoke directly into the camera when he proclaimed that American tax Dollars were being spent to train SAVAK to torture political dissidents such as this man.  In 1978 when Khomeini was in Paris, I saw the man at Khomeinis right hand with no limp and as smartly dressed as always, and immediately recognized him.  He was Sadegh Ghotbzadeh.  I do not know how to look for that clip, since it is not in the CBS archives online. 


In 1977 The Shah, succumbed to International pressure and earlier than he had anticipated, signaled a change.  This was taken to be a sign of weakness by the left and more importantly, by Khomeini.  The sequence of events snow bowled into the events of 1978 when the Shah publicly apologized for past mistakes.  Khomeini saw his opportunity to stick the dagger in.  The so called intellectuals and the left believed that they could handle an old and less than coherent man of God and so they went for an all or nothing deal.  Shapoor Bakhtiar was the last chance for a secular and progressive regime, but his National Front bodies betrayed him, believing they were going to have it all without any compromise. 

Spontaneous combustion does describe the Iranian revolution.  A much more befitting description is arson. 

Rober Graham, in his book written in 1979, Iran, The Illusion of Power”, called it a tragedy of errors.  Highly critical of the Shah, he chronicles all the changes and their effects on the different segments of the population and how each participated in the revolution for a different cause.  


 Read Hossein Brrojerdi’s account of the events behind the scenes, starting from the early 70s, in Iran, to get a better perspective of the depth of anti regime activities, much earlier than 1977.  // 


Best regards,



The cause of Sudden Leniency

by hereiswhy (not verified) on

The cause of Sudden Leniency was to produce a velvet/soft revolution.

"As if a light were switched off, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, portrayed for 20 years as a progressive modern ruler by Islamic standards, was suddenly, in 1977-1978, turned into this foaming at the mouth monster by the international left media. Soon after becoming President in 1977, Jimmy Carter launched a deliberate campaign to undermine the Shah. The Soviets and their left-wing apparatchiks would coordinate with Carter by smearing the Shah in a campaign of lies meant to topple his throne. The result would be the establishment of a Marxist/Islamic state in Iran headed by the tyrannical Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Iranian revolution, besides enthroning one of the world's most oppressive regimes, would greatly contribute to the creation of the Marxist/Islamic terror network challenging the free world today.

At the time, a senior Iranian diplomat in Washington observed, "President Carter betrayed the Shah and helped create the vacuum that will soon be filled by Soviet-trained agents and religious fanatics who hate America." Under the guise of promoting" human rights," Carter made demands on the Shah while blackmailing him with the threat that if the demands weren't fulfilled, vital military aid and training would be withheld.

strange policy, carried out against a staunch, 20 year Middle East ally, was a repeat of similar policies applied in the past by US governments to other allies such as pre Mao China and pre Castro Cuba. Carter started by pressuring the Shah to release "political prisoners" including known terrorists and to put an end to military tribunals.

The newly released terrorists would be tried under civil jurisdiction with the Marxist/Islamists using these trials as a platform for agitation and propaganda.

This is a standard tactic of the left then and now. The free world operates at a distinct dis-advantage to Marxist and Islamic nations in this regard as in those countries, trials are staged to "show" the political faith of the ruling elite. Fair trials, an independent judiciary, and a search for justice is considered to be a western bourgeois prejudice...more


Darius Kadivar

answer to dirfahm : I am a Constitutionalist if you will

by Darius Kadivar on

What I don't like when it comes to historical debate is propaganda be it monarchist or republican or Islamist or Leftist. A historian needs to be objective and unpassionate in order to convince with arguments and not with emotion or emotivity. That does not mean that I am not a supporter of a restoration of the monarchy in Iran if as I hope so it is done through democratic and peaceful means. Spain is the best example where it was restored after Franco's death or Great Britain after Cromwell. Examples are numerous.

However history should not be hostage to a romantic attachment to any system of government. It is about trying to understand an era in the light of new documentation and new knowledge of an era. As an intellectual and by conviction or call it philosophy I am attached to the monarchy as an institution but that should not mean that I have to have some kind of blind adoration for the King or Queen that reigns on a given country and ours in particular be it yesterday or in the future.

The Monarchy as a system of government with a constitution that clearly divides powers and defines the role of the king and or queen withing a ceremonial form and gives full control to an elected parliament that can vote or veto the laws passed by the government as is the case in all european monarchies today does not seem to be an aberation, absurdity or a call for a dicatorial reign. On the contrary it is an evolution that I hope for and call for as far if our country wishes or even calls for a restoration of the monarchy in Iran. What matters is a strong constitution and one that defines the executive and legistlation powers.

But what no one wants and I think many monarchists who are realistic and pragmatic would agree upon is that we cannot afford or support an absolute reign anymore of King or Ayatollah or President.

The role of a constitution is to consider the worst case scenarios and what should be done in such circumstances in order to maintain civil peace particularly in case of a vacuum of power as with a Coup, War, a revolution or national uprisal due to a political or economic crisis ( like May 68 in France). Take Belgium for instance the constitution of which was used to draft that of the Iran's royal constitution. Currently the country is going through a major crisis of identity where the country is divided between the French speaking and Danish speaking population. Some in the South want even to see their territory join France because they have much in common. There was  vaccum of power and the King was not able to name a prime minister who was discredited and he had to enter the political sphere under the supervision of a constitutional assembly until the Prime Minister was accepted by all political parties represented in the Parliament. The crisis is still very profound but it has not led to civil war despite calls for dividing the country in two andy even aboloshing the monarchy. That proves the importance of a constitution that is solid and flexible enough to allow the country to be run and still maintain a democratic exercise of power without seeing the country threatened by a Coup or an undemocratic behavior.






by sadegh on

Dear Anonymous4now,

Thanks for you lengthy post. Unfortunately I really don't have the time to respond to all of your points. Abrahamian's point however was that the mood changed post '77...and up to that point the Shah had relied on the brutality of the intelligence services to carry out the suppression of dissidents...his point is therefore why the sudden change? It wasn't always the case (Abrahamian documents the torture carried out by the Shah's regime and the 1988 massacres carried out by the IRI in his book Tortured Confessions) so why now this new level of leniency? Golsorkhi and many others were sentenced to death during the '60s (I'm not comparing the figures with those of the IRI which are far higher and the methods more savage)...the reality as far as I can tell is that post-Kennedy the Shah became a prominent target of human rights organizations, he was concerned about his own image, and whether this stemmed from vanity or a desire to propagate a civilized image of his nation I have no idea...Anyway that is Abrahamian's couldn't have emanated from some kind of innate goodness of the Shah because the regime's repressive methods were only moderated post-77...this is what i gather is his point...I have not checked this out myself so I would appreciate it if the royalists on this forum would refrain from insulting and slandering me...I am merely attempting to expound Abrahamian's argument as set forth in this single lecture...

Baback thanks for the book there any way you can provide a link?..I looked it up but could not find it...

Mr Kadivar, thanks for the vids...

AmirAshkan...thanks once again for your response...I am pretty much in agreement with much of what you have said...thanks again...

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh



Mr Kadivar

by dirfahm (not verified) on

when you say

"the monarchy the message of which I am not particularly endorsing"

do you mean you are not a monarchist?

AmirAshkan Pishroo

I agree with you, Sadegh,

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

I agree with you, Sadegh, that the problematic of the "ideological configuration of allies was transient and merely superstructural," but this is beyond the point. My point is when we study a society, we ask:

What groups are contending for power? What claims are they making on the central government? What ability do contending groups and the government have to mobilize resources—money, manpower, weapons, information, and leadership—in order to enforce their claims?

Revolution is only likely when powerful groups press competing claims on the government, and the government lacks the resources to either satisfy the claims of contending groups or to defeat them.

The Iranian revolution is a product of the recent history that spanned several decades. To understand it we ought to combine a concern for the power of the state with a focus on large-scale social relationships that may reinforce or limit state power—relationships between state and elite and contending groups, and between major social classes and state. We need to look and find weaknesses in the very structures of the state and society.


The review of theories of the Iranian revolution

by baback on

The book "The Unthinkable revolution in Iran" by Charles Kurzman interestingly covers the various theories about the Iranian revolution, and finds faults with each theory. You might find it an interesting read.


What is this Professor's

by Not Anonymous (not verified) on

What is this Professor's political affiliation and what ideology does he subscribes to??



by Anonymous4now on

I have not read his book “Iran between two revolutions” but I have it on my list of books to read.  I made some observations and have some information I wanted to share with you.

Why is it that Iranian scholars cannot criticize objectively and without prejudice, and give credit when it is due.  He is dancing around why the revolution was bloodless, not wanting to bring himself to admit that the regime, as the “blood sucker of the century” himself said, did not have the desire to “be built on people’s blood”, and in those few cases when the soldiers did shoot on the crowds, violence was instigated by elements within the crowds.  In the 40th minute he finally concedes that the regime did try to minimize killings by shooting over the crowds but that was not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because the regime was incapable of carrying out such a bloody campaign.  Of all the unheard of excuses!  Anything but admitting that he was a softy at heart and despite the fact that he wanted to act tough like his father, he was a weak and vacillating man.  He forgave all those who made attempts against his life.  Khomeini had recognized the Shah’s weakness and became resolute, especially after the Shah apologized for past wrong doings.  He said “this boy is afraid and he must leave”.    

He then dances around the fact that the student demonstrators were tried in civilian courts and given lenient sentences, not because the Shah wanted to or had the desire to open up his society, but because he was under pressure form external forces, the same forces that “our intellectuals” were telling us were running the country and had the Shah’s reins in their hands.  In contrast, how much effect has this “pressure” had on the current regime to stop its atrocities?  Can it be said that had it not been for the Shah’s willingness to succumb to such “pressure” it would never have happened?  The Shah was extremely conscious about the international image of Iran, and since his attempts to suppress opposition in order to advance his goals for modernization and progress were being seen in a negative light, he did change the political climate, perhaps earlier than he would have been ready - given the history of the left and its potent propaganda machine, in Iran.  Can anything positive be said about the Shah?        

The truth about the Rex cinema in Abadan, as the IRI sees it, is that SAVAK did it to frame the opposition.  In the mock trial that they created to implicate the old regime it became apparent, to the live TV audiences, that the Islamists had done it.  Hossein Broojerdi, an ex-passdaar, in his poshteh pardeyeh enghelaab memoirs, gives an account of the involvement of Khamenei in that incident.  It is the first time I have heard a new theory on this issue, in that neither SAVAK nor the Islamic opposition were the culprits.  Does anyone know what theory Abrahamian is proposing?

I am also disappointed with the revisionist history with regards to Mossadegh.  Mossadegh did not make a mistake by telling his supporters not to come out into the streets, it was a calculated move to prevent control from falling into the hands of the commies.  His mistake was not to take the 50-50 deal from World Bank, on the advice of the leftist advisors who had brought themselves close to Mossadegh at the expense of alienating the nationalists.  With that single move he would have ended the economic strangulation of Iran and salvaged his own movement.  He later regretted taking their advice. 

My father, as a young army officer and Mossdeghi, was quite involved in the events of the day and has vivid memories of those days.  In truth, Mossadegh called for his supporters, in the few days before the collapse of his government, not to protest in the streets because he had realized that the tudeh party had high jacked his movement and had already decorated the masts at the Artillery Square (meydaaneh toopkhaaneh) with the Soviet flag, complete with hammer and sickle.  Paarsa and Farahmand, two of the tudeies in Mossadegh’s inner circle, with whom my father served his short prison term, told him that their goal was to ride out the Mossadegh revolution and then displace him with their communist ideology, the exact same thing the left thought it could do with Khomeini, in 1979. They had laid the foundations to smear Mossadegh, much like they had done against the Shah, as a puppet of imperialism – in Mossadegh’s case, replacing one imperial power, England, with another, the U.S. (Mossadegh had asked Eisenhower for financial aid to ride out the oil embargo imposed by the Brits.   He also mentioned, in that letter, that Iran was in danger of falling into communist hands).  The military under the command of colonel Momtaaz defended Mossadegh’s house against Ayatollah Kashani’s supporters (in fear of a communist take over) and a small force sent by Zahedi to arrest Mossadegh, in addition to “undesirables” who had been paid to create mayhem.  Momtaaz had been assigned as Mossadegh’s defender, and despite Zahedi’s attempts to convey to him that his assignment had become nullified, he insisted on seeing the written declaration for Mossadegh’s arrest.  He finally surrendered, and Mossadegh escaped his house and went into hiding for 48 hours, and then went to the Officer’s club and gave himself up to Zahedi, his war minister.  Momtaaz was praised at his trial for his valor and commitment. 

Darius Kadivar

FYI/Food For Thought and Eyes

by Darius Kadivar on

This is a propaganda clip in the favor of the monarchy the message of which  I am not particularly endorsing but nevertheless it does join the subject of Prof. Ervand Abrahamian lecture. 

This is a clip from a documentary titled "Crisis in Iran" by the History Channel with Mike Wallace


Abarmard: I'm not talking

by Not anonymous (not verified) on

Abarmard: I'm not talking about Iran. I was talking about revolutions in general.

I don't believe in any ideology/dogma and have no desire to have one.


Not Anonymous!

by Abarmard on

From where to where? Why am I afraid of a revolution? What would be a revolution? What's the ideology? I have not heard of any news that there was suppose to be a revolution, let me know, I will read the ideology and hopefully will join!

Or are we going to first overthrow then think about it, since we have never done that before ;)


Thank you very much for

by sadegh on

Thank you very much for your compelling response AmirAshkan...but doesn't the 'agency' or 'spontaneity' to which you allude find its provenance in exactly those civil society organizations, both formal and informal, secular and islamic, to which Abrahamian refers and extensively documents? I completely agree that a mass of diaffected and disenfranchised individuals are ultimately impotent unless their grievances are somehow chanelled and translated into political action...but the variable of which you speak surely was that loose configuration of groups and individuals who were tenuously bound together by means of a lexicon of Islamic-radicalism-third-worldist liberation ideology-promises of income redistribution etc...all beneath the umbrella of an anti-Shah and anti-imperialist discourse...of course in large part it was economic development and the Shah's authoritarian process of modernizing the country which allowed such a discourse to resonate with a number of classes, whom under normal circumstances wouldn't congregate or find themselves allies...e.g. the bazaaris traditional living was threatened, and western educated intellectuals were susceptible to leftism, anti-imperialisism, liberalism, and the experiment in political islamism...there were therefore a series of strange bedfellows who would later tragically consume one another and be extirpated by the Khomeinist faction...this precarious ideological configuration of allies was transient and merely superstructural (if we still wish to use such neo-marxian categories) but perhaps uneven economic development was the condition of its emergence???? Thanks again...I really enjoyed hearing your perspective...

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh



AmirAshkan Pishroo:

by Not Anonymous (not verified) on

AmirAshkan Pishroo: Absolutely spot on. Thank you.


Abarmard: Why are you so

by Not Anonymous (not verified) on

Abarmard: Why are you so afraid of revolution??? I see it as a "necessary evil" to rid us of our intrinsically imperial nature as human species and individuals.

It is not up to you to determine what's good or bad for the collective conciouness of humanity to purify itself...When we understand the purification process ... we will be refined through that fire, and made into purest gold.

AmirAshkan Pishroo

Above all, I thank you,

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

Above all, I thank you, Sadegh, for taking my comment worthy of a reply.

Another way of putting my point is this: interestingly, Abrahamian’s work does illuminate in masterful detail, many factors that are essential for explaining the logic of Iranian Revolution, but they remain irrelevant and unfit to his theoretical generalization of the root cause of revolution.

True, large-scale, structural changes, such as capitalist development and state formation, set the stage ready for violent conflict and revolution, but they so in an indirect manner by affecting the social composition of classes waging struggle for local and central power.

For example, the big-city lumpen-proletariat in modernizing countries tends to be a passive or even conservative political force.

Under the circumstances of uneven development large numbers of industrial men might become discontented, but people do not automatically mobilize for collective action, no matter how angry, hostile, or aggravated they may feel.

They need the offices of a directing, coordinating organizations, formal or informal. Otherwise, the unhappy merely breed passively on the sidelines.
What is more, pure spontaneous mass explosion (which supposedly occur when uneven development come to the boiling point) in fact has never led to revolution.

This is because spontaneity exists only in books containing fairy tales. Never have there been revolutions without some kind of contending organizations and/or opportunities to act.

Undoubtedly, for revolution to occur, then various combinations of structural patterns – the specific interrelations of class and state structures, and the complex interplay of domestic and international development – are needed.

Assuming uneven development is the root cause of revolution, revolutions are possible any time the level of the critical variable – the gap between the state and civil society – is "too high", and so begs the question it claims to answer:
Why revolutions occurred in Iran and Nicaragua, but not in Iraq and Brazil?

In the previous comment I was referring to Huntington's Political Order in Changing Societies.


Dear not Anonymous

by Abarmard on

That's an interesting observation. Would you assume the same outcome for Iran then? Who would be the Napoleon of Iran? Or would it go to another direction.

The interesting thing about history is that we look at the situations based on the current affairs and short decisions by the politicians broadcasts over media. The reality however is much more detailed and long term. We must realize that without pain, hard work, trial and error, no nation has ever reached greatness.

Are we any different? I certainly do not want Iran to end up like Turkey or UAE. The story is long and the outcome full of surprises, we should not judge the content by the current image!

Darius Kadivar

Or Cromwell's Revolution in Great Britain

by Darius Kadivar on

Personally I find alot of parrallels with the British Theocracy established by Cromwell except that we never beheaded our monarch like the British Charles Ist or the French with Louis XVI. Cromwell's Theocratic regime was very much like Khomeiny's theocracy and led to a great deal of executions and the establishment of religious laws and banishing music and anything deemed corrupt and anti religious.

in the case of Great Britain upon Cromwells death the British reestablished the son of Charles the First who was Charles II which restored the monarchy but after Charles II, Great Britain truly became a Constitutional monarchy and the Parliament was no more controlled by an absolute King. They even got to achieve democracy before the French who after beheading Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette they established a reign of Terror only to be followed by Napoleon's rule and self crowning into an Emperor of all French.

Democracy in France in the Republican form took a very long and bloody road to become what it is today.

Now we Have Sarkozy ...

I prefer the Queen of England ;0)


The French Revolution bears

by not Anonymous (not verified) on

The French Revolution bears striking parallels to the IRan's revolution of 1978 in all aspects; most importantly, the rise of Jacobins to power in France and the ascendancy of their Islamic counterpart, The Islamists Jacobins in Iran.

You can find a great deal of similarities between the two landscapes. Historical parallels from earlier landmark revolutions will help to understand what happened in 1979-78.

The political, social, and economic background of 1978 Revolution provides an extremely useful model for interpreting how future revolutions could play out.

Historical models help in seeing trends, in highlighting how various factors can influence revolutions. The circumstances of each era are particular to itself. With that in mind, I think Iranian intellectuals should explore the French revolution that bears a striking parallels to the revolution of 1978.


Dear AmirAshkan you

by sadegh on

Dear AmirAshkan you certainly make some interesting points...though from my familiarity with Abrahamian's work I'm not sure if he lays the cause of the revolution entirely at the door of the type of disjunction you refer to...i recently re-read 'iran: beyn e do enghelab' and my impression at least was that abrahamian subtly addresses the cultural and socio-economic causes of the revolution which fall under the notion of a gap between civil society and the state brought about by means of a top-down, authoritarian process of modernization...e.g. iranian nationalism (hostility to foreign interference) vs the perception of the Shah as a US-stooge, political islamism and the revolt against gharbzadegi; also the latter's fusion with the current of third wordlist/non-aligned ideology (e.g. Shariati et al), increased literacy (in large part brought about by that very process of modernization), rapid urbanization (the Iranian revolution was after all one of the most prominent examples of an urban revolution), repudiation of the shah's authoritarian tendencies, SAVAK etc..., the threat posed by modernization to the clerical/bazaari classes, particularly to the former's livelihood as a result of increasing secularism in the legal domain, etc...etc...

One of the reasons he intimates why the revolution speedily took on an 'Islamic' character was the Shah's destruction of civil society and therefore the possibility of alternative secular voices (leaving the network of hawzehs, mosques, husseiniyehs and various other informal religious-civil societal organizations as the only means of formulating opposition to the monarchical dictatorship)...all of whom were relatively enfeebled and easily steam-rolled upon the clerics assumption of power and institutionalization of velayat-e-faqih...again thanks for sharing; you have given me much food for thought...I'm just not sure I understand why you believe such an approach flawed when as far as I can see it was clearly an assemblage of the causes I delineated above which contributed to the fall of the Shah, even if none were decisive in the final instance) which text of Huntington's are you referring to? I'd be interested to know...I very much look forward to your response... 

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh


Jahanshah Rashidian

Impetus of Islam

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

The growing gap between the rich and poor, the despotism of Pahlavi regime, the corruption of the royal Court, the result of the anti-US / UK struggles of Mossadegh, and other socio-economical factors were not the impetus of the revolution.

The revolution could surprisingly take place because the reforms and modernisation of the Shah were interpreted by both the religious and, unfortunately, the secular opposition as "westoxication". So, Islam became a bastion of protest and an ideal for a sudden diversion from the reality and an impetus of the "regression" or the revolution .

The non-Iranian Islamic identity, became as a national identity, also accepted or tolerated by our secular intellectuals. This is now much more evident that without the impetus of Islam, and its political backward utopia, cultivated by Jalal Al-Ahmad, Shriati, and other pseudo-intellectuals, we would not fall into the Khomeini's trap.


Thanks all...I greatly

by sadegh on

Thanks all...I greatly admire the work of Professor Abrahamian and as soon as I saw this lecture I could only think to share it with everyone on your kind words are very much appreciated as always...

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh


Darius Kadivar

Finally a Balanced Historical Analysis

by Darius Kadivar on

Interesting lecture and finally an unpassionate and objective approach to the history of the Revolution.

Thansk for sharing.



by Sadaia_qesa on



Your posts are out standing. I did not get to finish this video ... I will
have to watch it later.

Any ways THANKS.