World, Middle East

Iran marks 41st anniversary of revolution

Iran became an official Islamic republic after referendum held on April 1, 1979

Muhammet Kursun   | 12.02.2020
Iran marks 41st anniversary of revolution


Iran on Tuesday commemorated the 41st anniversary of the revolution in the shadow of the economic crisis and U.S. sanctions.

Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left the country on Jan. 16, 1979 due to a popular uprising that erupted in 1978.

Ayatollah Khomeini returned from Paris and declared the Islamic Revolution in Iran on Feb. 11, 1979.

The Tehran-Washington conflict began when the "revolutionists" overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, accusing Washington of supporting the Shah.

The U.S. sanctions, which started nine months after the revolution, ended with a 2015 landmark nuclear agreement.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in May 2018 and reintroduced sanctions in two stages in August and November of that year.

Reza Shah 

Reza Pahlavi founded the Pahlavi Dynasty in 1921, overthrowing Ahmad Qajar, the last shah of Qajar Dynasty. Pahlavi became prime-minister in 1925.

The Soviet Union and the U.K invaded Iran when Reza Pahlavi abolished an oil treaty in 1941.

He appointed his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as the leader of Iran and fled to South Africa in 1941.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi took the throne as the Shah of Iran at the age of 21.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

The first years of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's rule saw relative calm due to his adoption of a more tolerant policy than his father.

He began what he called "White Revolution" in 1963. The Shah was aiming to make the country one of the five most developed countries.

The agricultural policies of Mohammad Reza, which were not in harmony with the needs of the country, accelerated rural to urban migration.

Khomeini was the person who showed the clearest and harshest opposition to the Shah's White Revolution and privileges enjoyed by the American troops.

Khomeini was imprisoned for his criticism and exiled to Paris in 1964. From exile, he ran a campaign to overthrow the Shah.

Khomeini's voice resonated strongly in the local mosques and bazaars. The Muslim clerics' Khomeini-led wing began plotting to seize power starting 1963.

In 1971, although the Iranian economy was deteriorating, the Shah held a very flamboyant celebration for the 2,500th anniversary of the Iranian Empire.

After this celebration, which impacted the Shah's image, protests intensified.

The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) laid an embargo on the U.S. for its support to the Arab-Israel war in 1973-1974 and Iranian oil revenue began rising again. The Shah decided to buy ammunition with the revenue leading to mass opposition.

More than 100 people were killed in protests on Jan. 9, 1978, when an article against Ayatollah Khomeini was published. The government declared martial law on Sept. 8, 1978.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country as the protests grew out of control on Jan. 16, 1979. Khomeini returned to the country on Feb. 1, 1979, and declared he wanted Iran to be loyal to Islam.

With Khomeini's return to the country, the 58-year-old Pahlavi Dynasty came to an end. Iran became an official Islamic republic after a referendum held on April 1, 1979.

In December 1979, the country approved the sharia and religious leadership of Khomeini.


The American administration stopped oil imports from Iran on Nov. 12, 1979 due to the taking of embassy employees as hostages, and about $8 billion of the Iranian assets were frozen on Nov. 14.

Iran signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with China and North Korea in 1995 and acquired a 10-megawatt nuclear research reactor from India. The U.S. administration started implementing new sanctions in 1999 against Iran for developing its nuclear program.

On Dec. 23, 2006, the sale of sensitive nuclear material and ballistic missiles to Iran was banned.

Since Iran did not comply with commitments of decisions by the International Atomic Energy Agency, assets of 13 organizations and 15 individuals related to missile and nuclear activities were frozen on March 24, 2007 and weapons originating from Iran were banned.

All state and international organizations were also asked not to make financial agreements with Iran.

The UN Security Council imposed sanction seven times between 2006 and 2015 with the resolutions 1696, 1737, 1947, 1803, 1835, 1929 and 2247.

The Iran nuclear accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed in 2015 between Iran and Russia, China, France, the U.K. and the U.S. plus Germany.

Tensions have risen between the U.S. and Iran since May 2018, when Washington unilaterally withdrew from the landmark deal.

The U.S. has since embarked on a diplomatic and economic campaign to put pressure on Iran in order to renegotiate the agreement.

As part of its campaign, the U.S. has re-imposed sanctions on exports of Iranian crude oil, which have severely affected Iran’s economy.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.