The Revolution that Spearheaded Iran Toward Modernity

Iran’s constitutional Revolution was the inevitable consequence of two main developments. The first was the widespread awareness of the deteriorating internal situation in their country and recognition of the ways and means to redress it. Their main slogans clearly reflected their objective: Freedom, independence and progress. However, once victory over the despotic old regime was secured, the victors could not really govern and with, a number of exceptions, the revolution’s objectives, particularly in the realm of democratic governance, were not realized. The heavy burden of centuries of stagnation could not easily be lifted. However, the ideals of the constitutional revolution forever left their imprint on the consciousness of generations of Iranians.

Moreover, in the modernizing efforts of the Pahlavi period, the administrative, economic and educational foundations for the eventual realization of the goals of Iranian constitutionalists were created. The sobering experiences of the last few decades have reawakened the Iranian intellectual elite that had for long succumbed to the ephemeral lures of leftist totalitarian ideas and ideologies. Thus, one can detect in contemporary Iranian society the urge to revive the struggle for the unfulfilled objectives of the constitutional revolution. Of these objectives two appear to be the most salient for the prevailing conditions: The establishment of a secular and democratic order, which was the primary objective of the constitutional revolution; and reordering Iran’s foreign policy priorities in order to extricate it from its current isolation in the world.

Daryoush Homayoun
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