Forty-three years on, the Iranian revolution keeps shaping the dynamics of the Middle East amid the crisis-stricken events. The country has changed much through the years with famous musicians, movie directors, fashion stylists, and artists.
Asghar Farhadi, the two-time Iranian Oscar winner, lost the chance to secure a third one a few days ago. Farhadi’s accomplishments might be, somehow, revealing about the developments over the past forty years after Iranian revolution.
The Iranian Revolution was, for sure, a significant event in the twentieth century. The fall of the Shah with his western inclinations and the creation of a distinct Islamic regime changed Iran and transformed the region’s power balance substantially. The Iranian revolution posed major challenges to the geo-strategic system, which remain serious today.
Later in 1979, the US Embassy crisis and the accompanying security crisis culminated in an embittered break between Washington and Tehran that has yet to be repaired. The change of power also faced western response in for of a war precipitated by Iraq against Iran. Besides, an extension of the American military involvement in the Middle East was considerable in the past 43 years.
The eight-year war with Iran imposed harsh economic and political pressure over a country that had just passed a revolution. Iranian leaders managed the war into the years of constructions following Saddam Hussain’s call for ceasefire.
The wave of reforms that ensued the economic constructions was also considerable in shaping local cultural ambience. The Islamic revolution embraced the cultural diversities and identified with the nation in a complex process.
Forty-three years after the Iranian revolution, there is a time for analyzing the developments, cultural, political and societal, inside the country. Furthermore, observing the regional condition would be more revealing if we look at it through the lens of the Iranian revolution.
Iranian Revolution and the Middle East
The Iranian Revolution, like earlier historic experience in France, was not bound inside the borders. The founder and Iran’s new governing class were keen on exporting the revolution, but the results were not immediately visible. The new leadership was patient enough to solidify, work through internal issues, and manage a war in early years.
Iran’s regional activism in the following years proved determinative in shaping the Middle East truth. From the early years, Tehran rejected Israel as a formal, legal state considering it as an occupier in Palestinian lands. Iran-Israel antagonism is certainly one of the most important dualities in the region and always fertile for escalation.
Tehran’s collaboration with Palestinian movements also pushed it close to Lebanon. Hezbollah owes much of its power in Lebanon to Iran’s political and military patronage.
In war-stricken countries like Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, Iran’s interventions are decisive. Take recent developments in Yemen as an example and you’ll see other actors have no choice but to take Iran’s policies into consideration. In Syria and Iraq, where a US war led to extremism, Iran proved a fundamental actor.
American forty-year involvement in the Middle East has always been impacted by Iranian policies. The takeover of Iraq and Afghanistan would have led to no such failure if it had not been for Iran’s political and military activism. Tehran’s considerable interaction with Afghanistan’s new rulers, following US withdrawal, is illuminating in understanding its futuristic strategies.
Iran has also had a major role in shaping the emerging eastern bloc against the US and its European allies. Former US president Donald Trump’s role, by the way, isn’t negligible in breaking the chain of unity in Western bloc. Iran, China, and Russia may be the leading forces in shaping future global dynamics.