Fri Mar 01, 2024
March 01, 2024

Iran, 1979: An interrupted revolution

The Iranian revolution was extraordinary and will pass into history as one of the most important witnessed by humanity.

By: Marcos Margarido

The early 1970s saw the first simultaneous and generalised recession in the imperialist countries in the post-Second World War. The 20 years of economic boom which had begun around 1950 had come to an end. 1975 was marked by a staggering fall in the GDP of the United States, Germany, Japan, France and England. Industrial production in the second quarter of 1975 fell by 14% in the USA, 20% in Japan and 10% in England. After two decades of “full employment”, an official total of 17 million unemployed was reached in all the imperialist countries, in addition to a rise in inflation which reached unbearable levels in all the countries.

In the 1970s, the U.S. suffered its first clear military defeat in Vietnam. The Portuguese revolution of 25 April 1974 (the Carnation Revolution) opened a process that, besides defeating the Salazar dictatorship, enabled the liberation of its African colonies and set the Black Continent on fire. In the Middle East, confrontations with Israel succeeded each other, in which the Arab countries were defeated, as in the Yom Kippur war, while the Palestinian guerrillas continued resisting and Lebanon burned in the middle of a civil war. The late ’70s also saw the Nicaraguan and Iranian revolutions.

In this scenario, the Arab countries members of OPEC decided to quadruple the price of oil in 1973, in retaliation for their defeat to Israel in the Yom Kippur war, generating an extra income for oil-exporting countries, the petrodollars, estimated at US$ 180 billion in 1980. [1]

Iran, like the other oil-producing countries, was inserted in the world division of labour as an exporter of raw materials – oil – and with a capitalist development subordinated to imperialist interests. The oil revenues scale up imperialist greed and inter-bourgeois conflicts for its possession, generating an increase in the misery of the population parallel to capitalist accumulation. In Iran, this combination has reached explosive levels, which we shall now analyse.

The King of Kings

Mohammad Reza Pahlevi was the second Shah of the Pahlevi dynasty. He was sworn in after the occupation of the country by the armies of Britain and the Soviet Union in 1941, replacing his father, Reza Khan, a soldier in the Iranian army, who had also come to power through a coup against the reign of the Qajar dynasty in 1921.

The early 1950s saw the rise of a nationalist wave that swept the Middle East and culminated in Nasserism, the movement led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, which sought relative independence from imperialism in order to establish better terms of negotiation with it. In Iran, such a movement was led by Mohammed Mossadegh, elected Prime Minister in 1951, a month after the nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company by the Iranian parliament, a blow to the main imperialism in the region.

For this audacity, the imperialist governments of the United States and Britain, through their secret services, planned the overthrow of Mossadegh, achieved after a first unsuccessful attempt, which resulted in the fall and exile of the Shah. General Fazlollah Zahedi was appointed Prime Minister and Reza Pahlevi was reinstated, sealing his submission to American designs.

In 1963 he instituted the White Revolution [2], with the aim of transforming Iran into the fifth world power and bringing it closer to the Western world. The “modernisation” sought by the Shah followed the logic of imperialist domination of a semi-colonial country, with its opening to foreign capital, eager for oil revenues. About $250 billion accumulated by Iran between 1974 and 1980 from the oil boom was used to import capital and consumer goods. Meanwhile, the national merchant bourgeoisie, known as the Bazaar, was reduced to the role of a “beggar” who feeds on the leftovers of the banquet of capitalist exploitation.

The country’s industrial expansion ensured the massive presence of U.S. companies – some 500 according to Fortune magazine – and the expansion of the Iranian military to 475,000 soldiers, for the protection of their properties. The United States was thus able to impose its control on the region from the Israeli enclave and from Iran, the only country in the Muslim world that recognised the State of Israel.

The association with foreign capital was carried out through the control of the opposition and the use of force against the population. In 1975 the political parties were abolished and a one-party regime, the Resurrection Party, was founded, clearly justified by the Shah:

A person who does not join the new political party and does not believe in the three cardinal principles has only two options. Either he is an individual who belongs to an illegal organisation or he is linked to the clandestine Tudeh Party, in other words, he is a traitor.

Pahlevi said that traitors belonged in prison or exile, and the Savak, one of the cruellest political police forces in the world, was working day and night to identify, arrest, torture and execute them. It is estimated that 100,000 people were in prison in 1976, but the regime admitted there were “only” 3,500 political prisoners.

The situation of the masses’ misery and unemployment, generated by the White Revolution, was aggravated by the crisis that began in 1974. The capitalisation of the countryside caused the exodus of millions of peasants to the cities where unemployment and inflation awaited them. These did not even have water and sewage networks, despite the huge sums obtained from oil revenues. Workers’ wages were frozen and even an “internal passport” to control them was instituted. The Bazaar was hurt by the increase in taxes. The Shiite Muslim clergy benefited politically from this situation by capitalising on the discontent of large sections of the population, gathered in the so-called holy cities like Qom, which became strongholds of opposition to the Shah.

The revolution takes its first steps

The first mobilisations, carried out by youth and intellectuals, took place in 1977, demanding respect for the 1906 constitution still in force, the defence of press freedom and the independence of the judiciary.

The protests would intensify in 1978, when the Qom Massacre occurred on 9 January, in the holy city that was to become the official residence of Ayatollah Khomeini. The demonstration by 4,000 students and religious leaders against the Shah-controlled Ettela’at newspaper, which accused the Ayatollah, in exile since 1963, of being homosexual, ended in brutal repression with the result of at least 10 deaths. The attempt to silence opposition voices backfired; 18 February saw the commemoration of arba’een – the 40-day Shi’ite mourning – with mass demonstrations across the country. In Tabriz, the Kurdish majority population occupied the town without the local military repressing them. Pahlevi was forced to deploy troops to carry out another bloodbath. An estimated one hundred people were killed and, once again, demonstrations spread, this time to Ahwaz, an important oil centre in Iran.

New demonstrations again took place in Isfahan, where martial law was imposed on 16 August, following the first signs of weakness in the dictatorial regime. The head of Savak was replaced by Nasser Moghadam in June and the Shah himself promised to hold general elections in 1979. Ten days later, the Prime Minister was replaced by Jafar Sharif-Emami, who abolished the imperial calendar [3] instituted by the Shah and declared the legality of all political parties. It was the first democratic victory of the masses, although the repressive core of the regime – the armed forces and the Savak – remained intact.

Imperialism maintained its support for Reza Pahlevi. In a press conference, U.S. President Jimmy Carter declares that “I hope the Shah retains power… the Shah has our support and he also has our confidence” and CIA director Stansfield Turner states that “I have received an advisory report which says that the Shah will survive for another ten years” in power.

Death to the Shah!

The war cry of the revolution – Death to the Shah! – was first heard in Tabriz and spread to all demonstrations in the country. On September 4, a demonstration of 4 to 5 million people is held in Tehran to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, the holiday at the end of Ramadan, [4] and it turns into a gigantic political protest. Martial law is decreed in 12 cities four days later but, nevertheless, thousands of people take to the streets of Tehran again to gather in Jaleh Square, where royal troops start shooting into the crowd from helicopters and from the ground, murdering hundreds of people [5] in the massacre known as “Black Friday.”

The next day, Khomeini, from exile, calls for a general strike. In addition to popular mobilisations, the methods and demands typical of the working class come to be included in the revolutionary agenda. Strikes begin to break out involving thousands of workers and culminate in a general strike of oil workers at the end of the month, which in turn ignited the population in demonstrations and rebellions of support throughout the country.

During the month of October, the strikes follow one another. They are bankers, civil servants, miners, textile workers, postal and telegraph, transport, and radio and television workers. Journalists strike on 11 October. The bankers paralyse the country’s financial system, with the Central Bank strike, followed by the masses burning down around 400 bank branches. The bankers revealed that 178 people linked to the Shah had transferred a billion pounds abroad. But, not just his friends. According to David Rockefeller, president of the Chase Manhattan Bank, Pahlevi had deposits of $2 billion, the withdrawal of which could bankrupt the U.S. banking system.

Finally, after permanent mobilisations in the face of armed repression and the arrest of leaders, an oil workers’ general strike on 21 October seals the Shah’s fate. They refuse to produce oil under the dictatorship. Prime Minister Sharif-Emami resigns on 4 November and the Shah makes a televised statement saying that “I have heard the voice of your revolution … As Shah of Iran and as an Iranian citizen, I must support your revolution“. This is followed by the appointment of General Reza Azhari as Prime Minister, who nevertheless imposes martial law.

In early December, around 9 million people, in a country of 35 million inhabitants, take to the streets demanding “Death to the Shah.” A 17-point declaration is presented with the demands for “independence, freedom, Islamic republic” and the assertion that Ayatollah Khomeini is the leader of Iranians. The commanders fail to order the crackdown and protesters climb on tanks and trucks to stand in solidarity with the soldiers, handing them flowers.

The Shah’s latest move was the appointment of a former opposition leader as prime minister, Shapour Bahtiar, on 29 December. He would attempt a peaceful transition to the new regime in agreement with Mehdi Bazargan, the future head of Khomeini’s interim revolutionary government. “The roadmap of the transition would be the departure of the Shah, the establishment of a Crown Council, the calling of general and free elections, the installation of a Constituent Assembly and, finally, the transfer of power.” [6] But Khomeini’s return on February 1, 1979, and a gigantic demonstration of more than a million people in the streets of Tehran on February 8 demanding Bahtiar’s resignation prevented any agreement. On February 11, 1979, the dissolution of the monarchy is completed, with the occupation of Tehran by guerrilla militias, the armed population and rebel troops. Reza Pahlevi did not witness the fall of his own empire, for on 16 January 1979 he had boarded a Boeing piloted by himself, firstly to Kuwait and then definitively to the United States – where he died in 1981 – to “take a holiday and treat an illness.”

A workers’ revolution

The revolution in Iran has been marked by large demonstrations, called by the Shiite hierarchy and trade unions and political organisations of various tendencies. The December protest, with 9 million people on the streets, is considered the biggest popular gathering in the history of revolutions.

But, it is necessary to look at the workers’ actions to understand the dimension of this grandiose revolution. In the last 15 years of the dictatorship, its “modernisation” created a powerful working class that would be born from imperialist investments, while the national bourgeoisie lost its relative strength.

In 1978, there were two million industrial workers, as well as 750,000 workers in the transport and other service sectors, concentrated in neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the big cities. Most companies were small, with 35 to 50 employees, alongside giant factories that dominated the scene, mainly in the petrochemical, automobile and construction sectors, some of them with tens of thousands of workers. A parallel can be drawn with Russia in the 1917 revolution, which had a proletariat of 4 million for 150 million inhabitants, while in Iran there was almost the same number of workers for 35 million.

It was this contingent that marked the end of the reign of the Shah, by paralysing the country’s economy with its strikes, mainly in the oil sector. This was stated by the Militant Wing of the Oil Industry Workers of Iran on June 5, 1979:

“The oil industry workers were the ones who overthrew the 2500-year regime of monarchy and despotism. When their heroic strike stopped the flow of oil, they cut the monarchy‘s jugular vein. And by breaking the barrier represented by the monarchy, they opened the door to freedom and abundance for a backward society like ours.”

Hopes for new freedom were enormous, and the masses began to exercise it with the constitution of revolutionary committees, the shoras. They were created to take care of the distribution of food and fuel to the population during the general strike that decreed the fall of the Shah and later acquired a military character, arresting members of the old regime and executing the agents of the hated Savak. They spread to every city in the country and in the capital, Tehran, there were as many as 14 large committees and another 1500 smaller ones.

After the fall of the Shah, they multiplied and developed independently of the bourgeoisie, constituting embryos of dual power. The New York Times of 24 February 1979 published a story (Iran’s Power Goes to Those With Nerve or Connections) by its special envoy, which reads:

“In addition to these central authorities, there are groups who have good connections and can get things accomplished, like the mullahs and ayatollahs. Finally, nearly every ministry, bank, office or factory has a workers’ committee that must pass on almost every order if it is to have a chance of being carried out. Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Amir Entezam complained last Wednesday, ‘Despite the Ayatollah’s commands, none of the major industries in the country are functioning because workers spend all their time holding political meetings’.”

Such meetings were aimed at organising production under workers’ control, winning economic demands, and building trade unions. According to a newspaper of the time, “the oil workers … have recently formed a national organisation, the National Oil Workers Trade Union. They are demanding an immediate 42-hour weekly working day and the opening of the accounting books of oil companies. If the [Khomeini’s] government does not respond in three days, they will go on strike.

The bourgeoisie and the Shiite hierarchy wanted the immediate normalisation of the country and the end of the revolutionary committees, but the political conditions were unfavourable to them. Mehdi Barzagan, the prime minister appointed by Khomeini, complained that the committees were constituting a “parallel power to my own provisional government“.

Ideology and reality

The fact that the Iranian revolution was led by religious leaders, like Ayatollah Khomeini, led the propagandists of imperialism to claim that its fundamental cause was religious, with fanatical Muslims who repudiated Western modernisation and wished to return to the middle ages to build the Islamic Republic, subject to the laws of the Koran. It would be, in essence, a reactionary revolution.

It is true that the measures adopted by the Shah to extend women’s rights, such as permission to attend university, the right to vote and divorce, [7] were opposed by the reactionary Shiite clergy. It is also true that this religious propaganda was disseminated worldwide by Khomeini from Paris, his place of residence since October 6, 1978.

But, as Marx said, “every epoch firmly believes in what the epoch in question says about itself and in the illusions it creates about itself,” [8] and this applies perfectly to the ideologues of the Islamic Republic. But a distinction must be made between what one thinks one is and what one really is. Let us see:

The Islamic Republic advocated by Khomeini had two main institutions: the executive and judicial branches. These institutions would have the fundamental obligation of applying and upholding the divine laws, written in the Koran. The judiciary would be composed of people with deep knowledge of these laws, the Shiite clergy. And “at the top of the temporal power is the imam, in his function as the supreme interpreter of the divine laws, spiritual guide and coordinator of the judicial and executive apparatus. Khomeini would be confirmed Imam after the approval of the Islamic constitution in the plebiscite of April 1, 1979. In order to know the concrete meaning of his investiture, it is enough to remove the religious cloak which covers the constitution to verify his condition of Bonaparte, [10] with the mission of rebuilding the bourgeois state.

In the same way, the Iranian national bourgeoisie did not clash with imperialism to defend the hypothetical superiority of Islam over Western Christianity but to take possession of the oil revenues. It was a fragile bourgeoisie as a whole, which had lost strength in the mass movement with the capitulation of Nasserism to imperialism in the sixties, and saw the rise of “a new current of the masses, which organized whole layers of the petty bourgeoisie and declassified sectors,” [11] through a network of 180,000 mullahs who controlled the movement through religious ideology. Unable to prevent the revolution and fearing the workers’ insurrection much more than imperialist domination, the bourgeoisie turned to Islam, “which symmetrically rejects imperialism and the emancipation of the proletariat,” [13] in order to defeat the revolutionary process.

Therefore, as soon as Khomeini came to power, the oil industry was nationalised, as was the entire energy and banking system. The Shah’s properties were expropriated and foreign trade was brought under state control. These are policies much more characteristic of a national bourgeoisie struggling against imperialism to keep its share of the extracted surplus value under the weight of a gigantic revolutionary process than of a reactionary anti-capitalism eager for a return to feudal times.

The counter-revolution

The fall of the Shah caused the release of the revolutionary forces of the population. Shoras were springing up everywhere, revealing the strength of the workers’ movement. Similar organisations were created in the countryside to occupy the land. The left-wing organisations came out of underground activities and published numerous newspapers, while the Arabic-, Turkmen- and Kurdish-speaking national minorities demanded autonomy in their regions.

The bourgeoisie was divided, with the emergence of a sector opposed to the total control of the state apparatus by the Shiite clergy, represented by Bazargan and Bani Sadr. This sector reflected diverse interests in relation to imperialism and the methods used to control the workers’ movement. It preferred to divert the revolution towards bourgeois democracy, with its “representative” institutions and regular elections. But such institutions were nonexistent in Iran, which weakened its stance. Only a Bonaparte, able to place himself “above” the classes by his position as an imam, could adequately manoeuvre between the pressures of imperialism on one side and the mass movement on the other. A reactionary ideology, put at the service of the irreducible defence of private property, combined with brutal repression were the forms found by the Bazaar for the defence of its historical class interests.

In June 1979, a new press law was passed, giving the green light for the persecution of left-wing newspapers. In August, Ayandegan‘s editorial office was closed, followed by the closure of 34 opposition newspapers in the same month. In September, the country’s two largest bourgeois newspapers, Kayhan and Ettela’at, were expropriated and transferred to the clergy-controlled Foundation of the Disinherited (Mustadafin).

Opposition parties were driven underground, such as the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (Mujadines or People’s Fighters), a petty-bourgeois guerrilla movement with a Muslim ideology, and the Trotskyist Hezb-e Kargaran-e Sosialist (HKS or Socialist Workers’ Party). Massoud Rajavi, leader of the Mujadines, was forced into exile in France, while 14 leaders of the HKS were arrested, twelve of whom were sentenced to death.

The only workers’ party that remained legalised for three years was the Tudeh (Iranian Communist Party), with a Stalinist orientation, because it declared allegiance to Khomeini and supported the Shiite clergy in their repression of left-wing organisations. Only in 1982, due to the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet bureaucracy, Tudeh members were targeted as agents of a foreign power and outlawed. In February of the following year Noureddin Kianouri, the main leader of Tudeh, was arrested. Kianouri, as a good Stalinist, confessed on television that he was a spy for the Soviet Union.

The uprising of the Kurdish minority for self-determination was the most important and acquired a mass character. The Kurds, led by the Democratic Party, demanded administrative autonomy for Kordestan (or Kurdistan), the right to their own language and culture, a specific share of the national income and responsibility for local security forces. The discontent of the Kurdish minority was demonstrated in the constitutional plebiscite, rejected by the vast majority of the population under the slogan “down with the plebiscite, first self-determination.” Clashes with Khomeini’s military began in August 1979 under Bazargan. The Kurdish guerrillas came to control part of their territory, until the army started an offensive, occupying the city of Bukan in November 1981 and the whole territory in 1983.

The repression also affected the shoras that did not submit to the new institutions of the Islamic republic. According to Amnesty International, at least 900 people were executed between January 1980 and June 1981, mostly fighters from the left and the Kurdish minority. In the following twelve months, a further 2974 death toll was counted. It is estimated that there were 20,000 political prisoners in 1981 and, according to Time magazine, about 100,000 in 1984. [13] These figures leave nothing to be desired in the epoch of imperial terror.

The Khomeinist forces finally managed to consolidate their position by the end of 1981, taking absolute control of power and relatively stabilising the bourgeois state. Apart from bloody internal repression, the invasion of Iran by Iraq contributed hugely to this.

The Iran-Iraq war

Saddam Hussein invaded Iran on September 22, 1980, to prevent the revolutionary process from advancing into Iraqi territory through the Shiite community, which makes up 70% of the Iraqi population, and the Kurdish uprising. The Iranian army succeeds in repelling the invader and, by early 1982, the Iranian territory is liberated. Khomeini, however, decides to continue the war, which would last another six years at the cost of at least 500,000 lives.

The attack by Hussein’s dictatorship came at a vital moment in the revolutionary process.

The independent movement of the shoras, after reactivation in the heat of a wave of working-class economic struggles was the target of a frontal offensive by the regime. The campaign of ‘national unity’ which the Islamic regime could face up to the Iraqi attack allowed it to strike decisive blows against every independent expression of the working class.” [14]

Although it was a war without a winning country, since it ended with an agreement in the UN, it achieved the aim the United States and the Soviet bureaucracy pursued in giving support to Hussein: to help to defeat the revolutionary wave. In this sense, it can be said that the greatest beneficiary of the outcome, apart from Khomeini himself, was imperialism, because it exhausted the anti-imperialist energy of the Iranian masses and imposed limits on the degree of political independence achieved by Iran after the fall of Pahlevi.

The contradictions of the anti-imperialist struggle

The Iranian revolution had a democratic and anti-imperialist character, which was to be transformed into a social revolution by the impulse of the masses against capitalist exploitation. Besides arbitrating the conflict between the national bourgeoisie and the working class, Khomeini played the role of a sui generis Bonapartism, as he manoeuvred between the mobilisation of the masses and imperialist pressure in order not to lose control of the process, while at the same time ensuring the maintenance of the private property. This dual role limited the struggle for national independence, due to the dependent character of the bourgeoisie. This contradiction was clearly demonstrated when, on November 4, 1979, students, encouraged by Khomeini’s call for a “general mobilisation against the great Satan, the United States“, stormed the American embassy without his prior authorisation to demand the extradition of Reza Pahlevi and the return of his fortune deposited in U.S. banks.

With the still fresh memory of defeat in Vietnam and President Carter’s “human rights” campaign, the United States did not dare invade Iran. And they were demoralized by carrying out a secret operation for the rescue of 66 hostages – Operation Eagle Claw – that ended with the death of eight soldiers in the crash of a helicopter with a plane, both North American, on Iranian territory.

But instead of a victory against the “great Satan”, the “hostage crisis” ended in a shameful capitulation by the Iranian government. The hostages were released on January 20, 1981, by an agreement with the new Ronald Reagan administration [15] whereby the U.S. released $11 billion of Iranian funds withheld by U.S. banks in exchange for payment of $5.1 billion of fraudulent loans made by Reza Pahlevi.

The crisis of the revolutionary leadership

In spite of a long Marxist tradition – the Iranian delegation to the Congress of the Peoples of the East, organised by the Third International in 1920, was the second in size, with 192 members [16] – the long period of the Pahlevi dictatorship had prevented its development. Only the Tudeh, of Stalinist origin, was in a position to organise a section of the workers in the revolutionary period. But its traitorous role during its period of legality, its history of capitulation, as well as its support for the Shah’s White Revolution, and its unconditional submission to the Soviet bureaucracy prevented it from becoming an alternative for the working class.

The young Marxist parties, like the HKS, suffered relentless persecution and the petty-bourgeois variants of Islamism, like the Fedayeen and the Mujahedin, although they were in opposition to the Khomeini regime, supported the Islamic Republic and did not advocate class independence in their programmes. Other groups, such as the Paykar (a Marxist dissidence of the Mujahedin) and the Union of Communists had their leaders assassinated in 1983, in addition to the arrest and execution of thousands of militants from different organisations.

To the drama of the revolution is added that of the absence of a revolutionary party that could not be built in the heat of such a complex struggle as the one that took place in Iran, a Muslim country in which:

“The fight against the Islamic leaderships [must be carried out]… putting at the centre the needs of the class struggle, the fight against imperialism and the lackey governments. To unmask their inconsequence, their verbiage, their submission to bourgeois interests, their false egalitarianism, is part of the struggle and we do it from this angle, that of the struggle of the workers over religious beliefs, and not the struggle against religion.” [18]

A revolution interrupted

With the consolidation of power by Khomeini at the end of 1981 and the relative stability of Islamic institutions from 1985 onwards, with the transformation of the Bazaar and the Shiite clergy into a big industrial and financial bourgeoisie, Iran remains hostage to its internal contradictions, with the most elementary democratic tasks unresolved.

The Iranian bourgeoisie, with its present Islamic bosses, has demonstrated in practice its structural, historical limit of the colonial and semi-colonial bourgeoisies that are incapable of carrying out the democratic tasks that historically the bourgeois revolutions accomplished at the dawn of capitalism, namely, national independence, agrarian reform and democratic rights.

Iran achieves its political independence in relation to imperialism in the 1979 revolution. But from the moment the revolution doesn’t go beyond the framework of capitalism, in which the bourgeoisie has nothing to offer, not even the realisation of its own historic tasks, the regression is always imminent.

The Iranian revolution was extraordinary and will pass into history as one of the most important witnessed by humanity. But by not expropriating the bourgeoisie to build a socialist society, its task was unfinished and so capitalist rule remained in the form of a theocratic Islamic republic.


1 MANDEL, E. A crise do capital. São Paulo: Ed. Ensaio, 1990, p. 39. The values in dollars are nominal, relative to the year mentioned.

2 White revolution: revolution carried out “from above,” as opposed to popular or socialist “red” revolutions.

3 The imperial calendar replaced the old Persian calendar, causing the anger of the Shiite clergy.

4 Ramadan: the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which Muslims practise fasting. It is considered to be the month in which the Koran was revealed.

5 This figure is the cause of much controversy, as at the time the Shi’ite clergy spoke of tens of thousands of deaths. Emad al-Din Baghi, a historian at the Foundation of the Martyrs of Iran, established the figure of 88 in his research. Michel Foulcaut, an eyewitness, spoke of 2,000 to 3,000 dead. The exact number will never be known, but the images of the massacre indicate the possibility of hundreds of dead.

6 COGGIOLA, O. O Irã no centro do mundo., accessed 20/10/2009

7 The repeal of the use of the chador had already been adopted by Reza Khan, Pahlevi’s father.

8 MARX, K., ENGELS, F. Feuerbach, Feuerbach: Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlooks. Chapter 1 of The German Ideology. Lisbon: Ed. Estampa, 1975, p. 72.

9 Khomeini’s Declaration in Paris.

10 Bonapartism: a regime of a dictatorial character, supported directly by the military and enforced by the state bureaucracy. Its rule ‘of order’ always appeals to an ‘unappealable arbiter,’ capable of arbitrating between the different social classes and sectors, with the aim of defeating the workers’ movement and stabilising the bourgeois state. However, the Khomeini government in the first months of the revolution, when the Revolutionary Committees exercised a dual power, can be characterized as kerenskyist.

11 DIVÈS, Jean Phillippe. Una guerra contra los pueblos de Irak e Irán. Correo Internacional, n. 7, 1985.

12 Ibidem.

13 Idem.

14 Idem. For a full analysis of the Iran-Iraq war, the referenced article can be found at

15 The US presidential election took place in November 1980. One of the main factors that contributed to Carter’s defeat in his re-election attempt was the hostage crisis and the failure of Operation Eagle Claw.

16 BROUÉ, P. História da International Comunista. São Paulo: Sundermann Ed., 2008

18 PARRAS, Angel Luis. Islamismo, uma expressão distorcida de nationalismo. In: O oriente médio em perspectiva marxista. Sao Paulo: Sundermann Publishers, 2007, p. 167

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