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How Armies Respond to Revolutions and Why$
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Zoltan Barany

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157368

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157368.001.0001

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Iran, 1979

Iran, 1979

(p.45) 2 Iran, 1979
How Armies Respond to Revolutions and Why

Zoltan Barany

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains why Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi’s Imperial Armed Forces (IAF) were unwilling or unable to prop up the crumbling edifice of his regime. It draws on the main contours of the political and socioeconomic setting of Iran in the late 1970s, followed by a more detailed outline of the conditions of the Iranian military and its relationship to the Shah as well as to the population. Next, the chapter focuses on the main events of the January 1978–February 1979 period that led to the regime’s collapse and then considers the role of the armed forces during the revolutionary period, explaining the reasons behind their actions or lack thereof. Finally, the chapter sums up the reasons for the success of the uprising and ponders whether experts should have been able to foresee the military’s response to the revolution and, if so, at what point.

Keywords:   Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Imperial Armed Forces, IAF, Iran, Iranian military, Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

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