The modern-day Middle East is still reeling from the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring. Protest movements, often praised by the west as uprisings and revolutions in places like Libya, Egypt and Syria, have given way to bloody wars, a rise in extremism and an increasingly troubling outlook for the future of the entire region.
But the one uprising in the Middle East that spelled an indisputable sea of positive change was the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution.
February 11 marks 37 years since the collapse of Iran’s monarchy under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, which preceded the creation of the Islamic Republic. During a referendum a few months later, Iranians gave their seal of approval to a new constitution, whereby Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became Supreme Leader.
Rejecting both the influence of capitalism and communism, the ideas behind the revolution inspired the slogan “Neither East, nor West – Islamic Republic!” “My proposal for establishing an Islamic government does not mean a return to the past. I am strongly for civilization and progress”, said Imam Khomeini in January 1979.
Tehran-based political commentator Emad Abshenas points out that, “Before the Revolution the Iranian culture of ruling the country was based on dictatorship. After the revolution, the new government came to serve the people. In the new era, Iranians elect their officials. They ushered in a new style of Islamic democracy, not seen before. Now a lot of regional countries are trying to duplicate it.”
Today, Iran’s size, sovereignty and independent foreign policy are a source of envy for many other national entities. With an identity as a civilizational state that is almost as old as China’s, Iran enjoys a functioning political system, which integrates participatory politics and elections with principled institutions of Islamic governance.This model, which has been able to thrive despite decades of subversive policies on the part of Washington and its global allies, has made Iran a regional power following almost 40 years of social, economic, diplomatic and military advancements.Aside from ridding the country of the monarchy, Iran’s revolution resisted sabotage, political subversion, assassinations, isolation, military encirclement, destabilization campaigns and an endless media campaign to bring down the Islamic Republic’s government.
The creation of Lebanon’s resistance group Hizbullah with Iranian assistance opened up a second front against “Israeli” colonial ambitions, which was previously unimaginable.
While countering Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi-driven, destructive regional policies, the Islamic Republic can be largely credited with boosting the Damascus government and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units in their fight against terrorism and pioneering Islamic anti-imperialism.
“According to Iran’s constitution, the government is obliged to support all of the oppressed people in the world. Thus the Iranian government is doing everything it can to help the Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and of course Palestinians. The Iranian contribution to resistance groups in Palestine is based on the belief that “Israel” is the source of all of the region’s instability,” said Abshenas.
Over the years, Iran has gained both influence and strength as a nation with an ideology independent of ‘east and west’.The primary tactic adopted to prevent Iran from coming into its own was sanctions. Imposed both unilaterally and multilaterally, the sanctions were an avenue chosen by the west to create hardship for the Iranian nation.The US and the EU led the sanctions regime against Tehran, passing numerous bills that constantly aspired to extending the embargo even further. Due largely to western-led pressure, a multitude of international shipping agencies, traders, bankers and global insurance companies suspended their dealings with Iran.
Three decades on, these policies because unsustainable and the sanctions were on the verge of collapse. Russia, China and even the EU became extremely eager to do business with the regional powerhouse, which had become the beacon of social and political stability and the only true adversary to the savage wave of terror unleashed across the Middle East.
The Vienna agreement signed on July 14, 2015 concluded twelve years of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, and led to the subsequent lifting of all sanctions against the Islamic Republic earlier this year.
The deal, which allows Iran to continue low-level enrichment necessary for nuclear power generation, represents a resounding victory for Tehran and a crushing defeat for US hegemony in the region as well as Israeli militarism, which has been on the retreat for years.
This year’s anniversary of the Islamic Revolution is especially significant, coming on the heels of another hard-fought step by Tehran, further highlighting that Iran’s revolution has long-since become an evolution.
Source: al-Ahed news