Islamic Revolution of 1979

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"The Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed in 1979 after followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini drove the U.S.-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi into exile." [1]

"On balance," the Iranian revolution of 1979 "was more about introducing new ideas into the religio-political lexicon of Muslims than it was about asserting Iranian independence and sovereignty," Mahan Abedin wrote January 3, 2007, in Asia Times.

"From the very beginning the revolution's leaders made clear that theirs was an 'Islamic' revolution and as such it constituted the greatest Islamic revivalist project of the modern era. Iranian revolutionaries saw the charismatic leadership of ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as the culmination of the legacies of Islamic revivalists beginning with Seyed Jamaledin Afghani (Asadabadi), Mohammad Abduh, and Mohammad Rashid Rida and continuing with Hassan al-Banna and Sayed Qutb," Abedin wrote.

"First and foremost, it marked the first time that modern 'Islamists' were propelled into power. Second, Iranian revolutionaries embarked on an ambitious long-term plan to Islamize Iranian society. Third, the new regime (despite its Shi'ite appearance) was wholeheartedly wedded to exporting the 'Islamic revolution' to sympathetic audiences the world over. ...

"To consolidate and export the revolution, Iranian leaders developed an entire infrastructure of new Islamic rhetoric based on timeless Islamic terms and concepts. Such terms as mustazafin (dispossessed), estekbar (arrogance) and taghout (satanic rule) gained wide currency throughout the Arab world. Today, these terms are widely used by the so-called Jihadi Salafis who - on the surface at least - profess profound contempt for the Islamic Republic.

"More broadly, these terms constitute the basic language of Islamists everywhere, irrespective of their position toward the Islamic Republic. While the Iranian revolution has failed to develop a significant political constituency in the Muslim world (with the obvious exception of Lebanon), its language and imagery have been adopted everywhere. On this account Iranian leaders can claim a measure of success," Abedin wrote.

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