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The Mostadha’fin’s Confusing Journey from Sharia’ti’s Revolutionary Utopianism to Khomeini’s Dystopian Reality 1976-1982

Ronen A. Cohen

Among the players in the Iranian Revolution were tens of groups, including the Mojahedin-e Khalq, the Forqan Group, the Hojjatiyeh, and the Tudeh, among others. Yet, one was not so well-known and, unlike others that embarked on revolutionary paths, this group was not big or active enough to do any serious damage to anybody, except perhaps to themselves, by scratching out their own innovative brand of ideological revolution. Sharia’ti’s ideology and revolutionary thought was on the front lines of the Revolution playing its modest part. Moreover, on second, third, or even fourth look, the Islamic Revolution could not have gone on without them. Though their contribution may have been modest and not easily detected, their role was nonetheless very important and must be understood to fully comprehend the main theme of the Revolution.

This book speaks to the Arman-e Mostadha’fin’s story. Confused and frustrated, this group tried to make its contribution to the Revolution’s spirit, in particular how to understand Sharia’ti’s ideological path. At the end of the day, their impact was too little to influence the wave of the Revolution; however, their existence within it helped to serve Sharia’ti’s ideology in a way that changed the shape of the Islamic Revolution’s first days.

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Chapter 2. The Emergence of the Arman-e Mostadha’fin under Unfair Circumstances and Terms


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When the Arman-e Mostadha’fin (AeM) was established it was basically no different from other revolutionary groups that existed at the same time. There was a revolutionary atmosphere in Iran influenced by both old and new ideologies and philosophers that inspired ambitions for change and all of their supporters were separately burning with the revolutionary ideas of two main spiritual leaders—the Ayatollah Khomeini and Dr. Ali Sharia’ti. All of this was taking place in order to establish new political/religious and ideological groups that ultimately had one main intention—to remove the Shah from power and to replace him with a different political regime that would be better than his ruinous monarchy.

In the coming pages we will be investigating the virtually unknown revolutionary group of the AeM, which actually existed in the shadows of other better known groups. It is difficult to say what this group’s real contribution to the revolution was or how we should understand its ideas about religious revolution. Why has this group remained so poorly known about and why has it been placed on the shelf by scholars dealing with the modern history of Iran and the history of the Islamic Revolution of Iran? At this stage we cannot say whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first here or what the reasons are for their not being known about? Has their...

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