suppressed all forms of popular political activity, producing tensions that contributed greatly to the 1978-1979 Iranian Revolution” (Gasiorowski 261). Newly reinstated, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi managed to avoid serious criticism and discontent as Iran received an influx of revenue, resulting in a rejuvenation of Iran’s stagnant economy. However, this brief ten-year period of relative political quiescence came to an abrupt end in 1963 when the Shah declared his reform program, referred to as the White Revolution. The 1953 coup d’etat, had significant influence on the national mindset of the Iranian people, and laid a foundation for the ensuing revolutionary discourse. The 1953 coup d’etat was backed by the United States, a move that further enraged Iranian dissidents as they viewed the coup d’etatas simply another Western intervention in Iranian affairs. Such Western intervention was viewed through two distinctly separate lenses, as Keddie contends, “… increasing Western participation, helped create ‘two cultures’ in Iran: those with Western-style education and employment who mimicked
12 Western ways; and the peasants, nomads, bazaaris, urban migrants, and ulama who profited little if at all…”’ (Keddie 11). Not surprisingly, the aforementioned social groups who found themselves disenfranchised by Western influence were among the most influential and active groups in the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Additionally, Mossadeq was referred to as a martyr in much of the pre-Revolutionary discourse and was viewed as a symbol in the struggle against tyranny, namely against the tyranny of the Shah and his desire for Westernization. The 1953 coup d’etatreinvigorated the anti-Pahlavi and anti-Western sentiments in Iranian society, and more importantly paved the way for the introduction of Islamic religious rhetoric into the political discourse. The White Revolution and the June Uprising Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was reminded of the discontent among the Iranian people when in 1963 he declared a policy of reforms that was referred to as the “White Revolution”. It was during the White Revolution that Ayatollah Khomeini emerged as a profoundly charismatic and influential leader of the masses of unrepresented Iranians, and “it was in the 1963 June Uprising that the seeds of the Islamic Revolution were sown” (Milani 69). The White Revolution was not merely a populist revolt against the Shah’s modernization policies, namely the land reform program, but more importantly “… substantiated the hypothesis that the potential for mobilization against an incumbent regime is exceptionally high when a brief period of economic contraction after a period of economic expansion coincides with a sudden loosening of political control after years of oppression” (Milani 69). The events of 1963 were crucial in the political ambitions of Ayatollah Khomeini and served as an example of his ability to mobilize the population
13 against an unpopular regime, a mobilization that would come to fruition during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.