Iran: Religious Elements of the 1979 Islamic Revolution

September 30, 2013

This case study investigates the social, economic, and political dynamics of 1970s Iran that led the Iranian people to accept, and then maintain, religion as the basis of a new political system after deposing Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979. The case study looks at the events in Iran through four questions: What are the historical origins of religion-influenced politics in Iran? How did religious factors inspire challenges to the Shah’s rule? How did domestic and international political factors intersect with religion? In what ways did religious factors inspire the ongoing revolution in the 1980s? Complementing the case study’s core text are a timeline of key events and a bibliography of select sources for further study of the Iranian Revolution.


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