Part 1 of this series described the birth of the nationalist-religious movement in the early 1940s, and its development all the way to 1977. In the present article, I describe the efforts of the nationalist-religious groups and activists between 1977 and 1979. As this article makes clear, the Iran of that era has striking similarities with the country and its state of affairs today.
Beginning with this article, I will describe the history of the nationalist-religious movement, its key figures, and the role that it has played in Iran's modern history. The present article describes the history of the nationalist-religious movement from its inception to the 1979 Revolution. Part 2 will review the work of the nationalist-religious groups since the Revolution. In Part 3, I will look at the lives, thinking, and accomplishments of major nationalist-religious figures.
Despite the critical role that economics play in the ongoing power struggle in Iran, that vital role does not usually receive the attention it deserves in the analyses of the country’s socio-political developments. Instead, most observers of those developments tend to attribute them to purely religious, ideological, or political factors. Yet, it can demonstrably be argued that, for example, Ayatollah Khamenaei, the “supreme religious leader” and his conservative cohorts derive their power more from real vested economic interests than from pure or abstract Islamic principles.
U.S.-Iranian relations of the recent past have been marked by unique and somewhat contradictory developments. While economic interactions between the two countries have been steadily expanding, political relations seem to have deteriorated as the so-called “battle of words” between Washington and Tehran has escalated since Bill Clinton’s arrival to the White House. Such conflicting developments in the areas of economics and politics have, understandably, been quite confusing to observers of the relations between the two countries, and have therefore led to rather divergent, sometimes even diametrically opposed, judgments regarding the future of these relations.
On 3 December 1979, almost one year after Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi left Iran, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran replaced the monarchical constitution of 1906. The new constitution was to guarantee that the monarchy was abolished and the Islamic Republic system of government was enforced in its place. The constitution was to observe the Islamic and the nationalistic aims of the revolution with regard to the demands of a public that came from various social, religious, ethnic, and political backgrounds. Thus the 1979 constitution included differing components, which necessitated the amendments and the modifications that were added to the constitution in 1989.