Islamic Republic of Iran 1979-
Islamic Revolution of 1979
In 1961, Muhammad Reza Shah dissolved the Majles and began began exercising increasing control over the government's affairs. Opposition to the shah grew, especially by conservative Shia Muslims, who envisioned a country ruled by Islamic law. The broadening opposition movement was directed, from France, by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Muslim cleric who had been exiled from Iran in 1963.
Supported by outside powers such as the United States, the shah's regime began increasingly repressive, until 1978, when widespread riots turned into a virtual state of civil war and popular opposition impelled the shah to leave the country in January 1979. As Khomeini, who had returned to Iran in triumph in February 1979, to control of the new Islamic state, hundreds of the former shah's supporters were tried and executed and the perceived westernisation of the country was reversed. Khomeini also proceeded with his plans to revitalise Islamic culture in Iran. He urged women to return to wearing the veil; banned alcohol, Western music, and mixed bathing; shut down the media; closed universities; and eliminated political parties.
The provisional government unveiled a draft constitution in June 1979, which over the course of several months was rewritten to establish the basis for the clerical domination of the state and to vest ultimate authority in Khomeini as the faqih, an Islamic term for the Leader of the Revolution and the heir to the mantle of the Prophet Muhammad. The finalised constitution was approved in a national referendum on December 2 and 3, according to government figures, by more than 98 percent of the voters. The Islamic Constitution established new rules on the exploitation of Iran's oil, including provisions that placed strict prohibitions on foreign investment in or ownership of Iran's hydrocarbon and mineral resources. A more detailed examination of the treatment of oil in Iran's 1979 constitution can be found in the article on that topic.
Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988
In September 1980, Iraqi aircraft and aircraft began a massive invasion of the still fledgling Islamic Republic of Iran. The conflict stemmed largely from Iraqi anxieties that Iran's revolutionary wave would sweep up Iraq's Shias who made up a majority of the population.