How did Iran Get to Where it is Today?

How did Iran Get to Where it is Today?

Evan Bruno, Sports Editor

The Islamic Republic of Iran has gained a reputation across the world for being one of the most rigid states in regards to their social beliefs. In Iran, the government is anything but secular, and strictly enforces Sharia Law, which bans things like homosexuality and heavily restricts other parts of life, such as the dress code. This dress code is part of the reason for the heavy protests in Iran and across the world being experienced today, as a young woman named Mahsa Amini was killed for wearing a hijab that did not meet the standards of their mandatory hijab law. But how did this all come to be? What events caused Iran to become a rigid and strict Islamic state?

Following World War II, Iran was set up with a Western-backed monarchy, and grew close to Western nations, adopting many ideas from the west, including a western-linked capitalist economy. However, discontent among the citizens of Iran with the rule of the Shah, on top of growing Islamic extremism in the Persian country, allowed for the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. This hit a boiling point in 1978, when Khomeini’s forces consolidated, and the Iranian Revolution began. By January of 1979, the final Shah and the last ever Persian monarch fled in exile to France. Citizens voted to establish an Islamic Republic, which allowed Khomeini to be supreme leader in December. 

Khomeini ruled Iran until his death in 1989, when the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, took power. In Iran, the Supreme Leader has power to overrule anything the President and government does, so as one might guess Iran has been built up in Khamenei’s image. Since he began his rule, Iran has developed into a nuclear power and is a major player on the global stage. Tensions between the United States and Iran have been very high ever since the revolution, and have never been higher. The current protests, especially considering the fact that there have been many protests in America showing solidarity with the Iranian people, are building on the tension between the two governments. 

The role of Supreme Leader is very important in Iran, as whoever controls it controls all of Iran. Both political and religious law are set and enforced by the Supreme Leader, which is why his standing today is being put into question. The hijab laws mentioned earlier are at the hands of Khamenei, which is why many are calling for his ousting as Supreme Leader. Iran today and Iran before the Islamic Revolution were very different nations, and that revolution laid the groundwork for the protests of today.