The Islamic Revolution of 1979 remains a pivotal event in modern history, marking the overthrow of the Shah's regime and the establishment of an Islamic terrorist Republic. Delving into he complex dynamics of the revolution sheds light on the role of terrorism, brutality, and foreign influence in shaping its trajectory and also underscores the consequences of these factors for Iran's subsequent history.
The tragic events comprising the Cinema Rex incident, the Jaleh Square Massacre, and the Lavizan Terrorist Attack collectively unveiled a distinct facet of the pre-1979 Islamic Republic utopia. These terrorist occurrences serve as illuminating examples that shed light on the true character and ethos of the Islamic terrorist factions aligned with Khomeini.
The so-called Iranian Revolution of 1979, often hailed as a popular uprising against the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, a nationalist king of Iran, has a more nuanced reality. This paper explores the underreported aspects of the revolution, specifically focusing on the use of brutality, terrorism, and external influences by the emerging clerical leadership. The political parties and Islamic-Marxist militia that participated in the 1979 Iranian revolution exhibited a distinct inclination away from pursuing the developmental trajectories and sociopolitical paradigms typical of Western nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Western Europe. Instead, they demonstrated a marked affinity for countries like Libya, Iraq, Albania, Cuba, Syria, and Iraq, representing a departure from Western-centric ideals. This ideological divergence, coupled with the events of 1979, engendered a set of profound consequences that significantly impacted Iran and the broader region, ultimately leading to a transformational shift in the geopolitical landscape.
2. The Cinema Rex Fire
On 19 August 1978, a tragic incident occurred when Cinema Rex in Abadan, Iran, was set ablaze, resulting in the deaths of between 377 and 470 individuals. While officially attributed to an act of arson by Khomeini's supporters, the fire's true origins remain shrouded in controversy. This event marked a turning point in the revolutionary narrative, as it was used as a propaganda tool against the late Shah.
The tragic incident in question was allegedly orchestrated by certain clerical figures to condemn the Shah's patriotic regime and incite public sentiment against the monarchy in Iran. The involvement of these individuals, often referred to as 'mullahs,' was subject to efforts to conceal their fingerprints after the events of 1979. However, recent scholarly research and accounts provided by notable political figures have shed new light on this historical occurrence, offering a more comprehensive understanding of the incident's origins and the potential involvement of specific religious leaders.
3. The PLO and Libyan Connection
The relationship between Khomeini, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the Libyan government became apparent during the revolution. Yasser Arafat, a terrorist figure in the PLO, was present in Iran during critical moments of unrest. Furthermore, it is documented that Islamic Marxist terrorists received training in Arafat's terrorist camps, raising questions about external influences on the revolution.
Yasser Arafat himself, during his time in Iran, publicly acknowledged the existence of a robust relationship between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Islamic Marxist groups before 1979. Furthermore, a representative from Libya was present in Iran in 1979 and played a role in publishing a magazine.
4. Anarchy and Political Prisoner Releases
The autumn of 1978 witnessed widespread anarchy across Iran. The release of 333 so-called political prisoners, many of whom were trained terrorists, contributed to the chaos. These groups, well-versed in the use of firearms, engaged in brutal clashes with law enforcement.
These Islamic and Marxist terrorist groups exhibited a notable absence of concrete post-Shah governance plans for Iran, as their primary objective was the overthrow of the regime in favor of empowering religious clerics. This absence of a coherent governance strategy was paralleled by a willingness to engage in criminal acts without reservation.
5. Black Friday: Jaleh Square Massacre
On 8 September 1978, the Jaleh Square massacre occurred in Tehran, resulting in the deaths of 64 people and the injury of 205 more. It is claimed that PLO military commandos and Khomeini's soldiers were responsible for the bloodshed. The event was subsequently exploited for propaganda purposes, with Khomeini fabricating a death toll of 15,000 to further his cause.
At that particular juncture, specific Palestinian Arab terrorists were present in Iran. The mullahs deliberately orchestrated the tragic event, strategically choosing a confined and densely populated location to maximize casualties. This incident occurred approximately one month following the Cinema Rex arson incident.
Iran's borders lacked effective monitoring during this period, enabling the infiltration of various Islamic terrorist groups, and contributing to a state of unrest and turmoil within Iran. Demonstrators prominently displayed images of Khomeini and advocated for a regime change, including the dissolution of the parliament, the abrogation of national laws, and the dismantling of the police force. This agenda contrasted with the previous policies of the late Shah, who maintained a stance of tolerance and zero repression toward the populace. At that time, Sharif Emami, known for his opportunistic tendencies, served as the Prime Minister of Iran. Emami was a pro-Mullah stooge.
6. Lavizan Terrorist Attack
In December 1978, a terrorist attack at Lavizan, a heavily fortified army garrison near Tehran, resulted in 12 officers killed and 64 soldiers wounded. The perpetrator, an Islamic sergeant sympathetic to Khomeini, chanted "Allah-o Akbar" before opening fire. This incident underscores the atmosphere of violence and terrorism that pervaded the revolution.
This represents an additional exemplification of Islamic terrorism, where Khomeini effectively advocated for the defection of Islamic officers and soldiers from the army to support the insurrection. The post-1979 era witnessed the implementation of Khomeini's radical ideology, resulting in the unwarranted persecution of numerous high-ranking military and intelligence officers without legal justification.
The Iranian Revolt of 1979, while portrayed as a grassroots movement for justice and freedom, reveals a darker underbelly characterized by terrorism, brutality, and external influences. Understanding these factors is essential for a more comprehensive analysis of Iran's contemporary history and its complex relationship with the international community.
The irrefutable role played by the Transnational Terrorist Network in the 1979 Iranian Revolution underscores the fact that the participating groups were not advocates of democracy or freedom; rather, they were vehemently opposed to the monarchy and the King, espousing a vision of an Islamic radical republic. Regrettably, the adversaries of the late Shah contributed to the tumultuous revolution, which ultimately resulted in the emergence of a perilous terrorist regime with global implications.
Lamentably, during this period, there was a significant absence of criticism from activists and intellectuals regarding the terrorist actions of Khomeini's supporters. It became evident that the Shia mullahs were determined to attain power through any means necessary.
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. He is in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran, counter terrorism, IRGC, MOIS and ethnic conflicts in MENA. He graduated in International Security Studies (London M. University, UK), and in International Relations (CSU-LA). Erfan is a Jewish Kurd of Iran, and he is fluent in Persian, Kurdish, Arabic and English. / Follow him from this twitter account @EQFARD / The newly published book of Erfan Fard is: “The gruesome mullah” , which has been published in the USA. www.erfanfard.net