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Cold War in the Islamic WorldSaudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy$
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Dilip Hiro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944650.001.0001

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An Islamic Revolution in Iran; Initial Misreading by the Saudis

An Islamic Revolution in Iran; Initial Misreading by the Saudis

(p.55) 4 An Islamic Revolution in Iran; Initial Misreading by the Saudis
Cold War in the Islamic World

Dilip Hiro

Oxford University Press

By 1978, with all avenues of secular opposition blocked by the Shah’s dictatorial regime, more and more Iranians had turned to the mosque to voice their growing discontent. The revered Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, operating from exile in Najaf, Iraq, astutely tapped into Shia history of martyrdom and Iranian nationalism to create and intensify anti-royalist militancy among different classes of Iran. He transformed the escalating street protest into a non-violent revolutionary movement demanding the end of monarchy. It succeeded in February 1979. The freshly inaugurated Islamic Republic, endorsed by citizenry in a referendum, was to be built along the lines of Khomeini’s 1971 book, Islamic Government:Rule of the Just Jurisprudent. .Unfamiliarity with this seminal work led Saudi Deputy Prime Minister, Prince Abdullah, to declare, wrongly, that obstacles to manifold cooperation between the Saudi Kingdom and the Islamic Republic had been removed. The new regime in Tehran established the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, a special force to protect the revolution, and revolutionary courts. Its constitution provided for a directly elected parliament and president, and Assembly of Experts who chose the just jurisprudent as the Supreme Leader. The regime embarked on Islamizing the state and society.

Keywords:   Ayatollah Khomeini, Najaf, Shia martyrdom, Iranian nationalism, Islamic revolutionary movement, Islamic Republic, Saudi Prince Abdullah, Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Islamization

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