February 1979, people are waiting for Khomeini's arrival from Paris.
The Islamic Revolution, Persian: انقلاب اسلامی, Enghelābe Eslāmi) was the revolution that transformed Iran from a monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic. It has been called "the third great revolution in history," following the French and Bolshevik revolutions, and an event that "made Islamic fundamentalism a political force ... from Morocco to Malaysia.
Although some might argue that the revolution is still ongoing, its time span can be said to have begun in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations after funding and planning by the West (the United States, the United Kingdom, etc.) to overthrow the Shah, and concluded with the approval of the new theocratic Constitution — whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country — in December 1979. In between, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled Iran in January 1979 after strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country, and on February 1, 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The final collapse of the Pahlavi dynasty occurred shortly after on February 11 when Iran's military declared itself "neutral" after guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting. Iran officially became an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979 when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to make it so.
The revolution was unique for the surprise it created throughout the world, it lacked many of the customary causes of revolution — defeat at war, a financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or disgruntled military; produced profound change at great speed; overthrew a regime thought to be heavily protected by a lavishly financed army and security services,and replaced an ancient monarchy with a theocracy based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (or velayat-e faqih). Its outcome, an Islamic Republic "under the guidance of an 80-year-old exiled religious scholar from Qom," was, as one scholar put it, "clearly an occurrence that had to be explained.
Not so unique but more intense is the dispute over the revolution's
results. For some it was an era of heroism and sacrifice that brought
forth nothing less than the nucleus of a world Islamic state, "a
perfect model of splendid, humane, and divine life… for all the
peoples of the world." At the other extreme, disillusioned
Iranians explain the revolution as a time when "for a few years
we all lost our minds,"[ and as a system that, "promised us
heaven, but ... created a hell on earth.