Iran: Islamic Revolution 40 years on

Iran is celebrating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution with huge public events and ceremonies. On 11 February 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini proclaimed the start of the Islamic Republic after the fall of the Shah. Is freedom still the watchword in today's Iran?

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Der Standard (AT) /

No revolution in sight

Forty years after the revolution the people of Iran are weary of conflict, writes Iran expert Adnan Tabatabai in Der Standard:

“They are worn down between their unreasonable leadership and the misguided compulsory diplomacy of the West. A trend of apoliticisation seems to have set in long ago. It won't lead to a new uprising. People are too fearful of chaos and unrest. The expectations have long since been screwed down. Instead of pondering on reforms and a process of political liberalisation, for more and more Iranians all that counts is economic stability and security. The Islamic Republic will be able to cope with this task because it looks back on 40 years during which it was able to keep the country stable and secure its economic survival.”

Libération (FR) /

Unbroken desire for freedom

Libération's editor-in-chief Laurent Joffrin describes what he suspect the Iranians are after:

“Behind closed doors, much of the population uses the opportunities offered by daily life to free themselves from the obscurantist directives of fundamentalist Shiism. ... This lived ambiguity doesn't change the general diagnosis, however. ... Freed of Western influences and of the Shah's 'modernist' dictatorship, the Iranians went from the frying pan into the fire of totalitarian Islamic iron rule, which they now clearly want to see the end of. ... In this kingdom of lies, the flame of freedom is on low. If the regime dared to organise truly free elections we would see how quickly it would reignite.”

T24 (TR) /

An important cultural contribution

Despite all the criticism of the regime many things have take a turn for the better in Iran, writes the liberal opposition website T24:

“In 40 years literacy has gone up from 35 to 84 percent. Whereas in 1976 only 25 out of 1,000 women went to university, that number has risen to 173 today. ... Whereas in 1980 only 5.2 percent of the women in work had a school-leaving qualification, in 2016 it was already 46.9 percent. ... With its literature, its intellectuals and its film directors Iran makes a valuable contribution to international culture. And thanks to its enlightened society the dark face of the regimes is not encountering as many counter-reactions as in the case of Saudi Arabia.”