Iran, 30 Years On: Was it worth it?

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Three decades after Iran's Islamic Revolution, activists who took part in the events that saw the Shah toppled – and which ushered in an era of unrelenting hostility to the West – despair at how their dreams have been so little realised.

Now, as Iran prepares to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its revolution on Tuesday, many of those who ran through the streets of Tehran in 1979 are disappointed with the results.

As students, their behaviour shook the world, bringing down the American president, Jimmy Carter, and unleashing a wave of revolutionary fervour that utterly changed the Middle East – inspiring militants in Lebanon, the Occupied Territories and Iraq.

Almost overnight, the West's most steadfast ally in the Muslim world had become a violent and volatile enemy, where mass crowds raised their fists to chant "death to America". The students, mullahs and intellectuals who packed the streets were convinced that they had struck a blow for freedom against the imperialist might of the world's strongest powers.
"The revolution was very genuine and popular," believes Ebrahim Yazdi, who served the revolutionary state as foreign minister and deputy prime minister before falling out of favour. "It was unavoidable because of the policies of the Shah and the foreign countries who supported him."

Yet the Islamic Republic created by Mr Yazdi and his comrades failed to live up to the dreams of a Muslim democracy, in which sagacious ayatollahs would stand as guardians of the democratic wishes of the people.

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Randll Reese Besch - 2/13/2009

Iran had a moderate democracy in 1953 until Eisenhower called Mossadec a 'communist' then over through them and re-installed the right wing dictator Riaz Palavey which set the stage for what happened in 1979. The USA is its own worse enemy. If it had treated the Iran of 1953 with normal relations instead of international criminal acts, where do you think we would be today? Mossadec wanted to regain control of their oil fields from the British who went to the American president to get their way. When will it be our turn to fall for all of the criminality it is guilty of?

Greg L, Reinders - 2/8/2009

Recall to promise of communism to created a place where to proletariat would come to power after a brief necessary rule by the Communist Party.The mullahs are no more willing to create any kind of democracy than the communist leaders. Ultimately communism fell, as will the current leaders in Iran.