Events are taking place across Iran to mark 40 years since the 1979 revolution, which sent Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi into exile and ended more than 2500 of Persian monarchy. The commemorations will culminate with Victory Day on February 11 – exactly four decades after revolutionaries loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini won control of state television channels and the military abandoned its support for the Shah and declared itself neutral.
Iran’s revolutionaries have remained in control of the country ever since. But while the theocracy has weathered continuous opposition from successive US administrations – including the ever-present spectre of US-led military action to topple the leadership – in recent years it has also faced waves of popular discontent at home. Conservative Iranians say the ideas of the revolution must be carried forward to guard against foreign interference, but others say successive Iranian governments have been as corrupt and discriminatory as during the time of the Shah. Sanctions recently re-imposed by the United States following its unilateral exit from a much-heralded deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions have led to a sharp rise in inflation and pushed many Iranians into hardship – leaving Iran’s moderate president Hassan Rouhani with precious little room to manoeuvre.
As Iranians mark 40 years since the revolution The Stream will look back at the seismic changes Khomeini brought to the country, consider whether the ideals of the revolution still hold, and ask what aspirations Iranians hold for the future.
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