APRIL 2, 2012: The Iranian Revolution
Shah’s white revolution: growth and promotion of the secular educational system
Page 28 of Persepolis
The Shah’s two pillars of control were the army and SAVAK
Vilayat-i taqlid is the deputyship of the jurist: means that the jurists can rule on
behalf of the 12 Imam while waiting for him to return. This allows Khomeini to
seize power because he develops the idea in a really comprehensive way
Ulama are the religious scholars
**The fact that the clerics in Qom during the period of the Shah were given money
by the Shah to build modern schools
The economy: an explanation for the Iranian Revolution. The Shah spent huge
amounts of money on the military, and the annual budget went from 60 million in
1954 to 5.5 billion in 1975. By 1975, Iran had the largest navy in the Persian Gulf,
the 5 largest army in the word, and the biggest air force in Western Asia. Most of
these state resources going into the military and SAVAK came from oil.
Under the Shah, state bureaucracy grew, and there were over 300,000 bureaucrats
by ______. It was a very inefficient bureaucracy.
There was a lot of money in the shah’s court- he had a large family and many family
and friends involved in the court. The court ran the Pahlavi foundation, which his
wife, Empress Farah, had a lot to do with. She became hugely unpopular figure
during the revolution. His top officials were paid extremely well.
There was huge industrialization, which created a new salaried middle class. Civil
servants, teachers, lawyers, engineers, etc. was a new class. Simultaneously, a huge
urban working class was developing in Iran’s largest cities and there were mass
migration into the big cities.
There is a very wealthy upper middle class including court connected entrepreneurs, the
Pahlavi family, and the bureaucrats, the new middle class, and the urban working class.
Land reforms: in the countryside the land reforms robbed the traditional land owning
class of their source of income, which brought a lot of people into the cities to find
The bazaar was a key tipping point in the revolution. They were the social fabric of
Iran’s traditional economy, and the Shah went after these guilds and merchants into his
new party so they were answerable directly to him. This alienated them, and some say
it was this more than anything (the support of the bazaar) that was a key cause for the
The shah put out slogans like “Islam belongs to the oppressed, not the opressors” “Islam
represents the slum dwellers, not the palace dwellers,” the poor die for the revolution,
the rich plot against it” “we are for Islam, not for capitalism or feudalism” “In Islam
there will be no landless peasants,” “Islam originates from the masses not the rich”
His only real support came from the oligarchy surrounding him, from SAVAK, and from
The new middle class did not come out in defense of the Shah
The left was the other key cause of the revolution- particularly on university campuses.
The left grew enormously under the Shah. The Tudeh Party and the Peoples Muhajeden