The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran
The shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, would remain on the throne for the foreseeable future: This was the firm conclusion of a top-secret CIA analysis issued in October 1978. One hundred days later the shah--despite his massive military, fearsome security police, and superpower support was overthrown by a popular and largely peaceful revolution. But the CIA was not alone in its myopia, as Charles Kurzman reveals in this penetrating work; Iranians themselves, except for a tiny minority, considered a revolution inconceivable until it actually occurred. Revisiting the circumstances surrounding the fall of the shah, Kurzman offers rare insight into the nature and evolution of the Iranian revolution and into the ultimate unpredictability of protest movements in general. As one Iranian recalls, The future was up in the air. Through interviews and eyewitness accounts, declassified security documents and underground pamphlets, Kurzman documents the overwhelming sense of confusion that gripped pre-revolutionary Iran, and that characterizes major protest movements. His book provides a striking picture of the chaotic conditions under which Iranians acted, participating in protest only when they expected others to do so too, the process approaching critical mass in unforeseen and unforeseeable ways. Only when large numbers of Iranians began to think the unthinkable, in the words of the U.S. ambassador, did revolutionary expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A corrective to 20-20 hindsight, this book reveals shortcomings of analyses that make the Iranian revolution or any major protest movement seem inevitable in retrospect.
Mobilization of the Mosque Network Organizational Explanations EARLY 1978
Shii Appeals Cultural Explanations MID1978
General Strike Economic Explanations FALL 1978
Failure of the Fist Military Explanations WINTER 19781979
A Viable Movement AntiExplanation WINTER 19781979
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activists Ahmad Asnad-e Enqelab-e Eslami author in Istanbul Ayandegan Ayatollah Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti Bank Markazi Iran bazaar Bazargan beh Ravayet-e Asnad-e Beheshti Carter clerical crowd cultural Davani December demonstrations document economic Engelab-e Eslami beh Eslami beh Ravayet-e explanations February Hamaseh-ye 19 Dey Harvard Iranian Oral Hossein Imam interviewed in Shirkhani Iran's Iranian Oral History Iranian Revolution Isfahan Islamic Revolution Islamists Istanbul January 9 June Kayhan International leftist liberal martyrs Mashhad Mehdi Bazargan military mobilization Mohammad Mohammad Reza Pahlavi mosque mosque network mourning Muslims National Security Archive Nehzat-e Ruhaniyun November October officials opposition oppositionist Oral History Collection Pahlavi Parsa participate percent police political pronouncement Ravayet-e Asnad-e SAVAK regime religious scholars reported repression Revolution in Iran revolutionary movement Ruhollah Khomeini Saduqi SAVAK memorandum security forces September shah shah's Shari'at-Madari Shi'i Shiraz Social Movements strike Tabriz Tehran tion U.S. embassy memorandum workers Yaran-e Emam Yazd Zamimeh-ye Khabar-Nameh
Page 12 - Iran, because of the great leadership of the Shah, is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world. This is a great tribute to you, Your Majesty, and to your leadership, and to the respect and the admiration and love which your people give to you We have no other nation on earth who is closer to us in planning for our mutual military security.
Page 14 - For it is not always when things are going from bad to worse that revolutions break out. On the contrary, it oftener happens that when a people which has put up with an oppressive rule over a long period without protest suddenly finds the government relaxing its pressure, it takes up arms against it.