The Film Archives: C-SPAN’s BookNotes With Brian Lamb: Robin Wright- A History of Iran From 1979-1989
Part of the fault for the 1979 Islāmic Revolution in Iran that brought an Islāmic Republic to Iran after they were a monarchy with the Shah as its head of state, (dictator really), has to be given to the Shah of Iran. Because he was a dictator at the time ruling a very large country, but with only 20-25M people, that is deep in natural resources. He wasn’t all bad, he did managed to build up their economy to a certain extent and build an education system and other things. (Sort of like Fidel Castro in Cuba) But he was a dictator who was accountable to basically no one, except for the United States and United Kingdom, to a certain extent. That both put the Shah in power and could’ve removed him at any point and this was also a political problem for the Shah with his people.
To America and Britain, the Shaw was a puppet for them, instead of his own man only accountable to the Iranian people. Who also held down his own people and they got tired of being held down without much freedom or recourse. And they saw these Islāmic leaders in Iran and turned to them to take down the Shah and his regime. Not knowing the consequences of this, because in taking down the Monarchy they replaced one authoritarian dictatorship with another one. With an Islāmic Theocracy that over thirty-two years later is still in power in Iran. With its strict restrictions on political freedom and women’s rights and so-forth. They’ve taken in Iran which has the natural resources, physical size and population to be a first world country and the most dominant power in the Middle East, backwards. And making it look like a country from the 15th Century with how it treats its women. With dress codes and limiting people to the things in the media that they can see and so-forth.
What Shah Reza of Iran, should’ve been doing as he was building up his large country, was to educate his people as well. And give them the freedom to live their own lives, not overnight, but overtime. And moving Iran from a monarchy towards a republic, where the Shah would be more of a ceremonial power, or perhaps have more governmental powers. But where most of the power would be with the executive, a President or Prime Minister, with a Cabinet and so forth. That would govern the country with a multi-party elected Parliament at some point. With provincial and local government’s, as well that would also be elected. And then the Shah could’ve run for president and probably would’ve been elected, perhaps several times.
Shah Reza was in power in Iran for about forty-years and had plenty of time to establish a system like this and as he could’ve brought these progressive changes to Iran. With a national constitution and everything else. To go along with the economic and educational development. He could’ve released the grip that the United States and United Kingdom had on him and his government. Which would’ve only of helped him politically, because he would’ve no longer be seen as a puppet of the U.S. and U.K. Iran today as the Islāmic Republic of Iran, instead of the Federal Republic or United Republic of Iran, or something, most of that blame has to fall on the Islāmic Revolution. Because maybe Iran is a developed nation today instead of a third world nation. But some of this blame also has to fall on Shah Reza for keeping his people down before they rose up and went with the Islāmic Revolution.