The Bloody Red Summer of 1988
Tehran Bureau / Dr Sahimi
The 1980s, particularly the period between 1980 and 1988, are the darkest and bloodiest in the history of contemporary Iran. In 1980, the country was still in the grip of the chaos of the 1979 Revolution. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had been toppled, but the provisional government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan did not last long either. They resigned on November 5, 1979, the day after Islamic leftist students overran the United States embassy in Tehran.
The reactionary right, which began to emerge at this time, was eager to clamp down on dissent. With their help, political freedom began to wane only a year into the Revolution. As more and more restrictions began to be put in place, internal strife began to increase dramatically as well. As always, the universities were the centers of dissent. Secular leftist students were particularly strong and well organized on campuses. The reactionary right managed to convince the Islamic leftists of the necessity of a crackdown.
To crackdown on dissent, and to purge the secular leftists from the universities, the political establishment began to speak of the necessity of a “cultural revolution.” To formalize it, on Friday April 18, 1980, after Friday prayers, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini strongly attacked the universities in a speech. >>>
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