This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree.
While some claim that under the Islamist regime remarkable progress has been made, others depict an entire country mired in misery. Iran has indeed experienced progress over the last 40 years.
Whether these successes have been a result of post-revolutionary policies, societal pressures, or the foundations laid by the shah remains hotly debated.
In March 1953, joint British-American intelligence secured authorisation for the overthrow of then Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadeq, leading to months of propaganda activities, opposition funding, and destabilisation campaigns (Abrahamian, 2001: p203).
The authorisation for the coup d’état had come about as a result of Mossadeq’s embroilment in a struggle for control over the Iranian oil industry, which would eventually prove to be a losing battle for Mossadeq (Gasiorowski, 2013: p4).
To understand this radical shift and the frustration behind it, we must revisit the promises that the revolution made four decades ago.
The 1979 Iranian revolution promised three goals: social justice, freedom and democracy, and independence from great power tutelage.
Framed in a Marxist-Islamist mind-set, the revolution was made on behalf of the mostazafin – the downtrodden – who were left behind by the monarchyʹs uneven development model.
In the following four decades, intense controversy has erupted over the Islamic Republicʹs socio-economic performance.
Other measures of social development have similarly improved.
Literacy has more than doubled, especially among women, and now encompasses almost all the population.