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1979: The Fall of the ShahABSTRACT:This article examines the events and utilization of propaganda that led to the downfall of the Shah of Iran in 1979 and the subsequent implementation of a theocratic regime in the country. By focusing on economic and political events throughout the Shah’s reign, this article highlights how these events created a rift between the Shah and his lower and middle class citizens. These events stem from the Shah’s vision to modernize Iran, which was influenced by the rule of his father, Reza Khan. Between 1951 and 1971, events including the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, land reforms together known as the White Revolution, and the luxurious Persepolis Commemoration were presented as beneficial to Iran in television media and photographs. Instead, these events fostered discontent in class groups that did not prosper under a modernized Iran. Discontent allowed for religion, a connector of all class groups in Iran, to become the main source for revolution against the Shah. This article further analyzes how revolutionist leaders such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini garnered a large following through the use of propaganda and modern technology, eventually succeeding in overthrowing the Shah. Utilizing both popular and scholarly sources, this article shows how the Shah’s reign allowed for a theocracy to emerge that influences Iranian daily life into the present day.Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi boarded a plane and flew over the country he once ruled for the last time in January 1979. A proponent for modernization and westernization in Iran, he was overthrown by his own countrymen in favor of a theocratic regime that revolved around the governmental implementation of Islam. While this movement was fundamentally religious at its core, the revolution also stemmed from economic and political events that occurred throughout the Shah’s reign. Both religious and secular citizens suffering under the Shah’s modernizing tactics utilized religion as a vehicle for the change they wished to see in the country. Specifically,Iranians living in rural areas, urban migrants, middle class intellectuals, and those working within bazaars, or traditional Middle Eastern markets, looked to gain the most from the Islamic Revolution. Throughout this paper, I plan to show how the economic and political events mentioned earlier created a rift between the Shah and his lower and middle class citizens. More
2so, the Shah’s propagandistic attempts to highlight these events as beneficial in the Iranian mediareinforced discontent towards the Shah. Finally, revolutionist leaders’ utilization of propaganda against the Shah in the years leading up to 1979 worked to increase civilian unrest and catalyze the Shah's relinquishment of power over Iran.