IranMiddle East

Political independence: A great achievement of the Islamic Revolution

On the occasion of the 12th of Farvardin–the anniversary of the formal establishment of the Islamic Republic due to winning 98.2 percent of the votes in the national referendum in the year 1979– is publishing the following op-ed on the status of political independence in Iran before and after the Islamic Revolution.

Political independence is a concept which can be considered to be the highest form of independence in a country and in fact its ultimate result. This is because many countries achieve economic and cultural independence, but they try to follow other countries in the political arena. That is why there are few countries in the world that make their own domestic and international decisions with the highest level of independence and enjoy political independence.

Iran was not an exception to this rule. Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and particularly during the Pahlavis’ reign, Iran did not have much to say in the area of political independence due to its dependence in domestic and foreign policy. To state this more clearly, perhaps one could go as far as to say that dependence was the main pillar of the Pahlavi family. Both Reza Khan and Mohammad Reza Shah were dependent on foreign powers such as the US and England in almost all dimensions. Basically, the way these two individuals came to power laid the foundation for the formation of a government dependent on foreigners inasmuch as both of them gained power through foreign support and foreign assistance rather than through domestic legitimacy or popularity. Therefore, when rulers rely on foreign powers rather than on their own people, it is very unlikely that they will be able to achieve political independence.

Reza Khan established his monarchy with the support of England. Consequently, despite his powerful appearance in domestic policies, he was actually dependent on foreign powers and devoid of any political independence in the area of Iran’s foreign policies and in the area of those domestic policies, which were closely linked to the interests of the great powers. The reason for him being ousted from power was his ignoring the interests of England and establishing close relations with Germany. As soon as he tried to achieve a semblance of political independence for his government, he was ousted in the most humiliating manner and exiled to Mauritius Island.

After Reza Khan, Mohammad Reza’s rule too began with the assistance of the same forces which had ousted his father from power. Essentially, he came to power on the basis of foreign support and foreign dependence as well. Therefore, expecting political independence from him was something unimaginable. Even when the people of Iran demanded the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry by way of their representatives in Parliament, an American-English backed coup d’état prevented the Iranian nation from establishing a democracy, and Mohammad Reza was reinstated as their agent in Iran.

Such a degree of dependence on foreign powers during the time of Mohammad Reza Shah could not lead to any kind of political independence whatsoever. The memoirs of Asadullah Alam, the Prime Minister of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, reveal the true nature of this dependence and the influence of foreigners in the country, “For a long time, I have been complaining that foreign agents have infiltrated the government, the central bank, the planning organization and many of the Ministries. Despite all the intelligence reports, which the Shah receives, he ignores this reality.”[1]

Despite the wishes and endeavors of the people of Iran to achieve political independence, the Pahlavi regime frustrated the Iranians’ dream due to its dependent nature. After the frustrations of the people of Iran had accumulated for several decades, the mottos, promises and independent personality of Imam Khomeini gave them the hope of achieving political independence. Subsequently, the Islamic Revolution was established in 1979 on the basis of his independence-seeking messages. Basically, the Revolution was a collective effort for liberation from dependence and to attain political independence.[2]

After the formation of the Islamic Revolution, all the slogans of the people echoed this public demand. The most important, well-known slogan that the people chanted was “Independence, freedom, Islamic Republic.” This slogan demanded a political system that would bring independence to the people, which was their long-awaited wish. In other words, the Iranian nation established a system that could put an end to their dependence and bring them political independence in line with their own national interests. Thus, it was on the basis of this demand of the people that national goals and interests were formed.  

Since this restructuring was based on Iran’s national interests, unlike the past it was in contrast with the greedy interests of foreign countries, in particular the US and England. That was why enmity towards Iran was placed at the top of the agenda of those powers. And this has resulted in more than 40 years of hostile policies with the aim of forcing Iran to abandon its aspiration for political independence and coerce it into complying with them. In line with this policy, the US gave Saddam a green light to wage an eight-year war against Iran. After that too, the most difficult economic and political sanctions in history and all kinds of diplomatic pressures against the Iranian nation were designed. Not only did the Iranian nation’s endeavors to preserve political independence and to confront the interference of foreigners prevent the Americans and their allies from achieving success inside Iran, it also spread to all of West Asia and the countries neighboring Iran. This is a phenomenon which is referred to as the “Axis of Resistance” today.

After 40 years since its establishment, not only has the Islamic Republic of Iran brought the Iranian nation political independence, it has also managed to win the cooperation of many freedom-seeking nations in order to turn the ideal of liberation from dependence and achieving political independence into a public demand in the region. At the present time, this source of inspiration is the biggest problem that the enemies of the Iranian nation have with the achievements of the 1979 Revolution in this country, and it has led to a sea of various plots in different areas in order to change the political nature of this country. However, these plots have failed up until today, and things will continue in this same way considering the increasing political power of the Axis of Resistance.


[2] Ramazani, Ruhullah, “An Analysis of the Foreign Policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” translated by Alireza Tayyib, Tehran, “Ney Publications,” 1380.

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