Iran's Islamic Revolution: Political quake is still shaking Middle East
Dialogue with Yang Rui
In February 1979, Iran overthrew its U.S.-backed monarchy and established the Islamic Republic. The victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran was an earthquake that upended the political order in the Middle East.
Forty years later, the consequences continue to reverberate in the region and on the global stage. What has the revolution meant for Iran itself and how has it affected its allies and adversaries both near and far?
Hua Liming, former Chinese Ambassador to Iran, witnessed the Islamic Revolution in Iran. He believed many changes have taken place since the revolution, one of the biggest is “Iran (has) become independent”, and it became an “anti-American country” from a “pro-American country”. Following the fall of the Shah, Iranians can proudly decide their own destiny in Tehran, he added.
The other notable change is that “Iran started to be closed”, as Ambassador Hua mentioned, Iran used to be a very open society. The Third change is that the revolution changed the geopolitical map of the Middle East – “Iran used to be the ally of Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf countries and most of the Arabic countries, but now Iran became the enemy of many Arabic countries, and the disastrous war between Iran and Iraq, half a million people were killed, and one billion casualties.” Ambassador Hua said.
Einar Tangen, an American current affairs commentator, observed that Iran also paid a greater price for winning the revolution 40 years ago. “Back in the 1980s, there was about 1.9 percent of the world's GDP, but last year there was about 1.3 percent. So it doesn't mean it hasn't grown, but it has not grown in proportion to the rest of the world. They are actually taken the back seat. They are far more self-reliant now, after these many years of sanctions, they literally have an island economy.”
Ghanbar Naderi, a columnist with Kayhan International in Tehran, told CGTN Dialogue the younger generation's attitude towards the U.S. He said young Iranians seldom have any feelings about Iran's revolution, rather, they turn to love the American way of life, they don't mind to go to Europe and America to study and live. But they will definitely defend their own nation, he added.
China ranks as Iran's largest trading partner, and the top buyer of Iranian oil. Forty years ago, China established diplomatic ties with the U.S. on the contrary and began its road of economic take-off. Back then U.S. President Jimmy Carter imposed the first U.S. sanctions against Iran, and the country's still suffering from that.
Naderi also expressed his concerns over Iran-U.S. relations. “The country is still under military threat and sanctions, we have to stand behind our government, although we regret many mistakes in the past… now we have come to a conclusion that Americans want to change Iran into another Syria or Iraq, or Yemen, and now even Venezuela, they are going to do that one way or another…”
Ambassador Hua echoed with Naderi, believing that Iranian people love their country, and this is part of the Persian culture. He said Iranian people will unite once their country encounters invasion.
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