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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

With the ascension of Jimmy Carter to the presidency of the United States (1977), the international order found a new muse in international human rights. This was the new benchmark to which Reza Shah tried to conform to, but failed miserably, owing to continuous draconian measures aimed at consolidation. By 1978, the Shah had practically alienated the entire country, across classes. In 1977, in an open letter to the Shah, the Iranian secular intelligentsia demanded release of political prisoners and respect for political and human rights. The rapidly growing discontent was efficiently being appropriated and directed by the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, from his exile in Najaf, Iraq. An all-out revolutionary struggle ensued in the summer of 1978, which culminated in the toppling of the Shah and his subsequent exile in February 1979. A uni-dimensional endorsement of conspiracy theories impeded the Shah's comprehension of the revolution; time enough for the revolutionaries to tear the regime. A similar state of “wit's end” on part of the Shah's usual Western alliances impeded the latter's involvement and hence assistance to the Shah.

Keywords: Jimmy Carter, Ayatollah Khomeini, conspiracy theories, international human rights, political prisoner, open letter

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