Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

Right off the bat I should note that today’s post is somewhat ahistorical. February 11 is generally considered the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, and I’m not sure I agree with that. The date is not insignificant—it was on February 11, 1979, when the royal Iranian army surrendered, marking the end of organized resistance to the revolution, which is an important milestone. But I’m not sure why it’s a more important milestone than the shah’s departure from Iran (January 16), the dissolution of the regency council he left to run the country in his absence (January 22), Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return from exile (February 1), the creation of the Islamic Republic (March), or the adoption of its constitution (December). Really everything after the shah’s flight out of Tehran took off seems a little anticlimactic.

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One thought on “Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

  1. Interesting point about the revolution not necessarily being entirely religious in nature. Heard Lancaster University’s Simon Mabon speak recently, and he seemed to be arguing something similar with regards to historical perceptions of Iran and its rivalries with countries like Saudi Arabia — too often people view Iran through a realist framework, with everything being about either power or religion; it’s often more complicated than that, and in the West we tend to simplify and Otherize nations we don’t fully understand (or don’t fully want to understand!).

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