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Revolutionary roads

What actually happened in 1979? And how does the Iranian revolution compare with 1789 and 1917?

By Dominic Sandbrook   February 2009

Crowning Ayatollah Khomeini its man of the year for 1979, Time magazine warned that “the revolution that he led to triumph threatens to upset the world balance of power more than any political event since Hitler’s conquest of Europe.” Thirty years on, the Iranian revolution may not have had the devastating impact that Time predicted, but it remains one of the central events of the last half-century. The fall of the Shah signified more than the rebirth of Islam as a political force. It was also a lasting reminder of the limits of western power and of the resilience and…

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