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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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During the last few years of his regime Mohammad Reza Shah, the last Shah of Iran, tried to create new realities in Iranian society mainly through the reforms and ideology of the White Revolution. Considering his tyrannical ways this attempt to create a modern so-called liberal democracy was, however, an example of his naivety and blindness. Since he was aware that his recent reforms and policies had reached a dead-end and, with the American president and administration breathing down his neck – especially in matters of human rights and political freedom, the Shah decided that he had to act and, because of pressure and despair, his reactions resulted in nothing being wisely calculated or organized.

The Shah’s reactions were motivated by his desire to allay the word-wide discomfort over and disbelief in his policies of modernization rather than by any basic preference for a particular ideology. Since both world opinion and his own people assumed that it was the Shah himself who had led to the deterioration of events into this ‘political game’ he was apparently unable to anticipate that the game would have its own dynamics. Since he was torn between his own desire and ambition to build up his country and the desire of both the West and the Iranian people to realize their own liberal visions for the country there was no chance that he would win this battle – and it is here that his free-fall began. ← ix | x →

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