Iran after Shah's Departure
Beginning of Political Drama's Act Two
The revolution unfolding in Iran is revealing to the world powerful historical forces that not only contend for the destiny of Iran but challenge Western assumptions about the Middle East and the Third World. Iran's deepening crisis has baffled Western observers focusing on surface political developments rather than on the underlying transformation of a whole culture. Iranians themselves, torn by ambivalence, were groping for coherence in this latest episode in the ancient conflict between East and West.
When Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, whom the United States had championed as a guardian of stability in the turbulent Middle East, left on Jan. 16 for an indefinite “vacation”1 that was almost universally regarded as the end of his 37-year ...