Modernity In Iran Essay

958 Words 4 Pages
The notion of ‘modernity’ brings with it connotations of individualism, secularism, rationalism, and democracy. Its emphasis on personal freedoms and the abandonment of tradition make it somewhat incompatible with faith-based societies, which place more value upon community and piety. Certainly this rings true in the case of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The swift and wide-reaching social and economic changes instituted by Shah Pahlavi were at odds with Iran’s traditional, Islamic culture. Coupled with anxiety about Westernisation and inequality created by the influx of a huge quantity of petrodollars, the discrepancies between the views of the Iranian people and their ruler reached breaking point.

The Shah’s goal of modernizing Iran can
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The Family Protection Act of 1967, coupled with the Family Protection Law of 1975, created a framework of progressive new developments in family law, and were particularly at odds with the values of many Iranians, particularly the clergy. The minimum marriage age was increased, divorce was no longer a unilateral decision on the part of the husband, custody of children was possible for both parents, and polygamy was now only allowed with the consent of both wife and court, and two wives became the maximum. These new laws, coupled with the 1963 extension of the right to vote to women, and a move away from wearing the hijab for many urban women, created tensions between a new class of educated, Westernised women and traditional religious conservatives. These ‘Westoxicated women’ were seen as a major contributor to moral and cultural decay in Iran (Tohidi 1994, p.124).
Not only did the Shah’s move towards encouraging a more progressive stance on women’s rights create popular dissent among the clergy and other religious fundamentalists, it did little to stop these modern, unveiled women from joining the movement against the regime. Many were against the repression, inequality and corruption created under the Shah, and even though Khomeini went against many of their ideals, he provided a leader to unite behind (Tohidi 1994,

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