By Amir Mohammad Esmaeili

Islamic Revolution a brilliant example of triumph over imperialism: American professor

February 11, 2021 - 10:30

TEHRAN - David Yaghoubian, a professor of history at California State University San Bernardino, tells the Tehran Times that the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 serves as a shining example for all people and movements around the world who seek to maintain “hard-won independence and sovereignty”.

“On the national level, the revolution brought together Iranians of all backgrounds to collectively oppose the Pahlavi regime and its American enablers, which rendered the Shah’s military strength and U.S. backing essentially irrelevant. Thus it is a brilliant example of indigenous popular will triumphing over authoritarianism and imperialism. On a global level, the revolution’s core message of Islamic unity and anti-imperialism resonated deeply outside of Iran and served as an arguably modular approach for other societies to emulate in their quest for justice, dignity, independence, and sovereignty,” states Yaghoubian, who is author of “Ethnicity, Identity, and the Development of Nationalism in Iran”.

He also believes that the Western powers have adopted a hostile approach to Iran since the revolution, because “it simultaneously exposed their imperialistic avarice while demonstrating their actual weakness in the face of national unity and mass popular opposition.”

The following is the full text of the interview:

Q: How did the Islamic Revolution in Iran change international politics?

A: The Islamic Revolution challenged the conventional wisdom regarding revolutionary movements, which maintained that religion was not an important or critical factor in modern political struggle. The “neither East nor West” stance of the Islamic Republic also challenged the Cold War-era notion that there were only two recognized and “acceptable” political blocs and powerfully illustrated how a non-aligned nation could chart its own political and social destiny while maintaining its sovereignty and rights. Moreover, the elimination of the United States presence in Iran and constant meddling in Iranian internal politics marked a new era of anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist revolutionary activism, which drew direct inspiration from Imam Khomeini and the Iranian people.
 
Q: What is the significance of the Iranian revolution?

A: The significance of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, in essence, is that it demonstrated (and continues to demonstrate) the limits of imperialism and colonialism in the face of a unified national movement seeking to acquire and maintain political independence, sovereignty, and the retention of indigenous religious, cultural, and social values. The Iranian revolution serves as a shining example of anti-royalist, anti-imperialist popular activism, as well as the short and long-term advantages of national self-reliance for peoples and movements seeking to maintain hard-won independence and sovereignty.
 
Q: What were the unique characteristics of the Islamic Revolution?

A: On the national level, the revolution brought together Iranians of all backgrounds to collectively oppose the Pahlavi regime and its American enablers, which rendered the Shah’s military strength and U.S. backing essentially irrelevant. Thus it is a brilliant example of indigenous popular will triumphing over authoritarianism and imperialism. On a global level, the revolution’s core message of Islamic unity and anti-imperialism resonated deeply outside of Iran and served as an arguably modular approach for other societies to emulate in their quest for justice, dignity, independence, and sovereignty.

Q: What impacts have the Islamic Revolution had on West Asia and the Islamic world at large?

A: In the context of the above response, the example set by the Iranian people and Iran’s revolutionary leadership understandably struck fear deep into the hearts and minds of despotic kings and tyrants throughout West Asia, most of whom sought assistance to maintain their abusive and illegitimate rule by forging or further enhancing their military and intelligence relationships with western governments, most importantly the United States and the United Kingdom. After Saddam Hussein and his Arab, American, and European allies and suppliers learned the hard way that the Islamic Republic of Iran was both impenetrable and indivisible, yet another wave of shock and fear led the rancid monarchies of the region to shortsightedly double down on their investment in foreign arms, foreign technology, foreign advising, and foreign “security.”
Through the present they continue to invest in foreign “security” at the expense (and in many ways, in fear) of their own people, prohibiting any real chance to forge genuine societal unity, to develop a capacity for self-reliance through diversification, or to assure the perpetuation of their ruling systems. Regarding the latter, in my view, it is now only a matter of time before their people collectively act to chart their own destiny without decrepit royalist or imperialist hands on their shoulders, and the Iranian Islamic Revolution can thankfully serve as both an inspiration, as well as a proven road map.

Q: Why have the Western powers adopted a hostile approach to the Islamic Revolution?

A: The Western powers have adopted a hostile approach to the Islamic Republic of Iran because the revolution simultaneously exposed their imperialistic avarice while demonstrating their actual weakness in the face of national unity and mass popular opposition, the fragility of their regional puppet governments (in this case the Shah of Iran), the hypocrisy of their self-serving policies, and ultimately the potency of domestically produced industrial and military technologies and hardware. It is not that these attributes and accomplishments alone would suffice to maintain the Western powers’ hostility to Iran for over four decades, but rather that these characteristics and developments have once and for all cut off the ability of Western powers to steal and/or control Iran’s economy and wealth of national resources. One must understand continued Western hostility as a package of imperialist sour grapes: The Islamic Revolution enabled Iran to acquire and maintain true independence and sovereignty, the end result of which is the inability of Europeans and Americans to ever again control and ultimately profit from Iran’s material wealth at the expense of the Iranian people. This is the source of perpetual Western hostility to the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

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