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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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Somehow I thought that writing books would get easier from one book to another but this has been a wrong assumption. Researching an unknown revolutionary group such as the Iranian Arman-e Mostadha’fin and developing the material into a book has been a really hard task, especially considering the difficulty of the availability of resources but, without the help of my very small, yet high quality, group of devoted research assistants, the task would have been much harder and maybe impossible. First, I want to thank Mrs. Sapir Shlomovich, who had the privilege of delving into the archives of the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) which contains the Mostadha’afin’s book collection. I am also grateful for the professional work done by Ms. Neta Prashchitsky and Ms. Nov Cnaan, both also RAs, for both organizing and categorizing the massive amount of research material and for helping me find my way through the forest of unprocessed knowledge.

Many thanks to my wife, Mrs. Yael Keinan-Cohen, who shares the difficulties, and sometimes the despair, involved in research. Thank you for being there for me and for your advice. Thanks also to my kids who, from book to book, grow bigger, smarter, more beautiful and humbler—Orianne, Yair and Dan. I love you guys and without your smiles and laughter my life would be empty. ← xv | xvi →

Many thanks to my English editor and linguistic and phrasing advisor, Mr. Samuel Beris, who, frankly, is the one who really...

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