Down with the Shah 1974
March through the streets of Washington DC by Iranian students against U.S. backed Shah of Iran in Washington, DC June 1974. The march was called specifically to protest the non-renewal of passports for 41 Iranian citizens by the Shah's government.

The march ended with a picket near the Iranian Embassy at 3000 block of Massachusetts Ave. NW.

Protests with Iranian students and their supporters wearing masks was common place in DC at that time. The masks were to conceal students identity from the Shah's secret police called SAVAK.

The Shah was an Iranian monarch that had been briefly deposed in 1953 before being restored through efforts of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Most of the demonstrators were backers of marxist oriented groups like the Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas, the
Organization of the Iranian People s Fadaian Guerrillas or the People's Mujahedin of Iran. Islamic groups like the Confederation of Iranian Students and the Islamic Association of Students were also represented.

Mass demonstration began in Iran in October 1977 and developed into a campaign of civil resistance that was partly secular and partly religious. Between August and December 1978 strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile in mid-January 1979, and in the resulting power vacuum two weeks later Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal regime collapsed shortly after on February 11 when marxist-oriented guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting.

While not the dominant force in ousting the Shah, Khomeini rapidly consolidated power. Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979 and to approve a new theocratic constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country, in December 1979. Khomeini quickly moved to suppress other opposition groups, jailing and executing opponents. Armed and unarmed opposition continues today.

Washington, DC history buffs will note the wooden timbers at Connecticut & K Street NW in images 3 & 4 that were a result of construction of the Washington Metro system.

This set of images was scanned from original negatives. Non-commercial use of photos on this site should be credited to Reading/Simpson unless otherwise noted. Commercial use of these items is prohibited without express permission.
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