The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran Essay

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The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran

Over the course of the last century, the Islamic Republic of Iran (formerly known as Persia) has seen colonialism, the end of a dynasty, the installation of a government by a foreign power, and just over three decades ago, the popular uprising and a cleric-led revolution. These events preceded what could be considered the world’s first Islamic state, as politics and fundamentalist religion are inextricably linked in contemporary Iran. Looking at Iran from the mid 1940’s until the present day, one can trace the path that led to the rise of fundamental Islam in Iran in three distinct periods. The first is that which began with the rise of secular nationalism and the decline of Islam. In
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In a classic case of western countries meddling in the foreign affairs of a sovereign nation for their own national interests, the American CIA and British intelligence conspired to topple the democratically elected government in 1953. They succeeded in restoring the exiled Pahlavi dynasty to power by installing Reza Shah Pahlavi's son, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi as the Shah of Iran. After taking office, Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi continued and expanded upon a policy of westernization begun by his father and aggressively repressed Iran's fundamental Islamists to consolidate his power. The Pahlavi dynasty’s restoration fostered anger among the citizens, as Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was seen as a western puppet and therefore a more contemporary extension of the humiliating colonialism endured at the hands of the west. Fostering women’s rights, western dress, toleration of alcohol and the suppression of Islamic customs, traditions and clothing all served to earn him the ire of the general population and Islamic clerics. Milton-Edwards (2006) referred to this “accelerated secularism” (p. 37) as being part of the erosion of religious elements in Iran. Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi thought himself loved by the people, but popular sentiment was against him; and completely behind an exiled Iranian cleric living in Paris named Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Ayatollah Khomeini had been writing papers
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