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The Islamic Revolution

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns from exile in France at Mehrabad Airport in 1979
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns from exile in France at Mehrabad Airport in 1979

As the Shah’s regime became increasingly repressive, popular discontent grew, and mass demonstrations erupted in 1977. Diverse opposition groups came together in opposition to the Shah. In September 1978 riots, strikes, and mass demonstrations developed into a state of virtual civil war, and martial law was imposed.

After months of escalating protests and bloody repression, the Shah announced on 16 January 1979 that he would leave the country for a short time. A government headed by Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar assumed control, but he did not win the support of Khomeini and the main opposition, who were committed to the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a new political order.

On 1 February 1979, Khomeini arrived in Tehran from exile in Paris. Millions of his followers awaited the ayatollah at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport. Ten days later, on 11 February, after guerrillas overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in street fighting, Iran’s military declared itself neutral. On 1 April 1979, following a referendum, the Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed.

The Islamic Revolution in pictures

Female Iranian demonstrators islamic revolution
Female Iranian demonstrators holding pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini
Iran's Women Protest 1979  islamic revolution
Iran’s Women Protest 1979
 Iranian demonstrators  islamic revolution
1979 Iranian demonstrators holding Khomeini’s picture
Iranian demonstrators 1979 islamic revolution
Iranian demonstrators 1979
Riots islamic revolution
Riots in the center of Tehran
Demonstrator holding a Khomeini photo
Demonstrator holding a Khomeini photo
Demonstration in Tehran 1979
Demonstration in Tehran 1979
Protests and clashes in Tehran 1979
Protests and clashes in Tehran 1979
Iranian demonstrators islamic revolution
Iranian demonstrators on a tank
1979 Iranian demonstrators islamic reovlution
1979 Iranian demonstrators
Ayatollah Khomeini islamic revolution
Ayatollah Khomeini welcomed by the crowd
1979 islamic revolution
Clerics and soldiers in 1979 revolution