The 1979 revolution was neither caused by foreign conspiracies, nor by an alleged “red-black-collaboration” (it refers to an alleged collaboration between the left and clergy), but mainly by the utopia of Islam. The Islamic Shiite clergy, or Mullahs, fooled a great majority of Iranians to the today’s fiasco. The failed revolution is the result of the lack of a democratic opposition because under the Shah’s despotism such an opposition could not survive. The void thus created left the arena to the Mullahs as the only organized opposition in 1979.
The Iranian intelligentsia was present in the popular protests and naively accepted the supremacy of Mullahs. In return, Mullahs did not accept them, but used them as a useful tool. Once an Islamic regime was established, members of the Front National (FN) were ousted from the Islamic government. As Mullahs monopolized all powers, the leftists and then the People's Mojahedin of Iran (MKO or MKE) were subject to a rapid fatal fate. The revolutionary prosecutor banned the leading left-wing newspapers, activities and rallies. The authorities looked for excuses to persecute them. The regime’s jurisprudence issued arrest warrants of their leaders and soon started executing them. The 1988 notorious mass executions were the apogee of crimes against the MKO and leftists. Even many members of Toudeh Party / Aksariat (Aksariat refers to a “majority” faction of Marxist People's Fedai Guerrillas that collaborated with the regime), became victimes of the regime's atrocities too.
One must never overlook the fact that the cult of Islam is at the root of Iran’s current societal and political problems. Contrary to today’s increasing awareness about the nature of the regime, at that time the political Islam and its disastrous consequences were not exposed by the intelligentsia. I emphasize on this factor of appeasement as a failure of intelligentsia; a factor of self-alienation among our intelligentsia that not only denied the spirit of secularism and democracy, but also very essence of Marxism.
Let me add that this factor was an international paradigm, developed by capitalist key powers for the puropose of their colonial agenda in the 20th century. The irony was that the two main camps of communism, Russia and China, followed the appeasement during the Cold War. The appeasement needs to be recognized as a discursive stratagem that enabled these two communist poles in their both political and economic relations with the Islamic world and “anti-imperialist” Islamic movements. This appeasement stood for the communist poles above the “atheist” ideological values of the communism and for the West above the human rights violations.
For many hundreds of years Islam has imposed its totalitarian ideology and accompanying religion through its sword on many peoples, including Iranians. Our intelligentsia only saw the problems largely in the U.S.A. and U.K. … as the source of imperialistic or colonial ills, not in the coercive nature of Islam as the first and worst “imperialism”. Also, this deviation served the colonial powers in order to portray Islam as a part of Iranian identity. There was not an intellectual trend in Iran denouncing the disastrous results of colonial and backward nature of political Islam. This is the fiasco our intellectual pioneers failed to realize in the 1979 revolution itself with its initial impetus of anti-despotism.
Not only the Iranian left, but also the non-Marxists, nationalists, patriots, democrats… were influenced by Khomeini and his Islamic movement and mistakenly saw in Islam a progressive source of independence and anti colonialism. This criterion dominated the balance of power during the 1979 revolution. Apart from the Iranian protégés and followers of these two communist camps of the East, many western sympathizers followed this bottom line of appeasement with Islam, and only after the 1979 revolution they realized their miscalculation.
It is extremely short-sighted and intellectually dishonest to label the 1979 revolution either as a mistake of our “ungrateful people toward the Shah” or a product of a conspiracy theory tramped by a “red-black” with active collaboration or the foreign plans -- even if the key powers had realized that the Shah’s days were numbered.
Only Iranian people with self-determination toppled the Shah’s despotism and the fiasco happened after the fait accompli, quite independently from the fairness of the anti-Shah revolution. The fact is that the left and secular spectrum of Iranian intelligentsia were not as present and organized as Mullahs were during the revolution. The 1979 revolution ended up to become a “fiasco” because Shiite Islam was strenghtened by the Shah and thus the Shiite Mullahs were the only intact opposition under the megalomaniac Shah and, what is even worse, these Mullahs were blindly followed by a great majority of Iranians including the intelligentsia.