Pan-Arabism movement, revolution, and the Iran-Iraq war. Although much has changed, a few factors have stayed relatively consistent: religion, religious extremism, oil, and the opposing forces of old and new ideals. Continuities within the period of 1800-present in Iran/Persia include religion, religious extremism, the importance and abundance of oil, and the opposition of liberal and conservative ways.
Religion has always played an important role in Iranian society. Even dating back to the period where they were controlled by the Ottoman Empire, Islam was a major part of society. Islam dictated much of people’s lives, how they viewed women as well as how they carried about their lives. Shia Islam was the major sect in Iran. Iran is now a theocracy, with Shia Islam as the countrys religion. Religious extremism has also been a part of Iranian society. The idea of Jihad, or holy war, had been a part of Islamic society for hundreds of years. It made those who followed the “struggle” the idea that they were combating evil.
This carried over to their hatred of Western society and inspiring terrorism. The discovery of oil in Iran in 19081 brought them back on the world stage in terms of economic importance. This has continued until the present, with them being a part of Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC allowed them to participate in the bloc on oil on the US, and increased tensions between the West and Islamic countries. This has allowed more economic prosperity, compared to early on in the 1 800s when they were struggling because the Ottomans (Old man of Europe) were falling.
Women’s oles in Iran have stayed relatively continuous, as women are still viewed as inferior to their male counterparts. The rift between old and new, conservative and liberal forces is increasing. The Islamic revolution had many conservative values, severely limiting women’s rights; however, women in those countries were still participating in the global feminism that has been sweeping the world. Changes in Iran/Persia from 1800 to the present are the rapid changes in leadership, the intrusion of foreign powers, Pan Arabism, revolution, and the Iran-Iraq war. At the beginning of the 1 9th century, the
Ottomans were still in power in Iran and many other Middle Eastern nations. As the century began to pick up, and WWI grew near, the Ottoman Empire became known as the “Sick Old Man of Europe”. Once WWI began the Ottomans were in full decline, and had lost many territories. A huge change in leadership came with the CIA institution of Shah Mohammed. He attempted to secularize and Iran. Due to US influence and the ongoing Cold War, he was able to repress communism within the country. Prior to the US placement of the Shah, the mandate system had been put in place in many previous
Ottoman and then German colonies. The mandate system was created because western nations did not believe that the Arab countries were not able to handle self-determinism and self-rule. The revolution against the CIA- approved Shah in 1 979, put Ayatollah Khomeini in charge. He was more of a conservative Muslim, and started working against many of the secular mandates the Shah had put in place. Pan Arabism was the regional movement in Arab nations looking for a resurgence of Islamic thought. It was a conservative movement that greatly oppressed women and reversed any reedoms they had gained under the Shah.
The Iran-Iraq war was also brought about by foreign influence. The oil embargo on the United States prompted them to ally with Iraq. By providing Iraq with weapons, they hoped that the war would end the embargo, but spanned for several years with many casualties.