Contrary to mediocre belief, the 1979 revolution was not either caused by foreign conspiracies, nor an alleged “red-black-collaboration” -- it refers to an alleged collaboration between the left and clergy--, but mainly the utopia on Islam represented by Mullahs who were blindly followed by a great majority of the Muslim grassroots. The fiasco of the failed revolution is due to the lack of a democratic opposition because under the Shah’s despotism such an opposition could not survive, what left the arena empty for Mullahs as the only organised opposition in 1979.
The Iranian intelligentsia was present in the prerevolutionary popular protests. Later, it naively accepted the supremacy of Mullahs. In turn, Mullahs did not accept them unless as a tool of success. Members of the Front National were ousted from the Islamic governments. As Mullahs monopolised all power, the leftists and then the MKO were accorded 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 warrants for the arrest of their leaders and soon started executions of 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), fell subject to atrocity of the regime too.
One must never overlook the fact that the roots causing of the societal and political problems today in Iran are directly attributed in largest part to Islam. Contrary to today, these roots were not at time depicted or exposed by the intelligentsia. I emphasised on this factor of appeasement as the main reason of fiasco, a factor of self-alienation among our intelligentsia who denied the spirit of Marxism/ secularism / democracy.
The factor was an international paradigm, developed by capitalist key powers for their colonial agenda. I the 20th century, the appeasement was followed by the two main camps of communism, Russia and China, during the Cold War. The appeasement needs to be recognised as a discursive stratagem that enabled these two communist poles in their both political and economical agenda toward the Islamic world and “anti-imperialist” Islamic movements. This appeasement stood above the “atheist” ideological values of the East and the human rights allegations of the West. It misleadingly depicts positive approaches towards Islam and appeased its past as an atrocious colonial power with its backward ambitions.
For many hundreds of years Islam has imposed its totalitarian ideology and accompanying religion through force and coercion on many peoples, including Iranians. Our intelligentsia only saw the problems in largest part on the U.S.A. and U.K. … as the source of imperialistic or colonial ills, a deviation which served the colonial powers too. There was not a large movement denouncing the disastrous results of colonial and backward nature of Islam. This is the fiasco our intellectual pioneers failed to realise, not the 1979 revolution itself with its fair impetus of anti-despotism.
Not only the Iranian left, but also the non-Marxists, nationalists, patriots, democrats… were influenced by this appeasement and mistakenly saw in Islam a progressive source of independence and anti colonialism. This criterion dominated the force equilibrium during the 1979 revolution. Apart from protégés and followers of these two communist camps of the East, many western sympathisers or politically oriented intellectuals followed this bottom line of appeasement with Islam, and only after the 1970 revolution they realised their miscalculation.
It is extremely short-sighted and intellectually dishonest to label either the 1979 revolution a mistake of “ungrateful to the shah” or a product of the conspiracy theory tramped by a “red-black” collaboration or the foreign plans, even if the key powers had to accept the Shah’s day were numbered. Only the people of Iran 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 the left and secular spectrum of Iranian intelligentsia was not as present as Mullahs at this popular event. The event ended up to become a “fiasco” because of their both absence in the event and then appeasement toward Islam.