The increasing repression under the Shah eventually led to his being overthrown, but it took more than two long decades, and because the Shah had so successfully crushed most secular opposition, that 1979 revolution quickly became fervently religious. Most Americans didn’t understand why Iranian revolutionaries subsequently attacked the American Embassy in Tehran, taking dozens of hostages, but most Iranians knew that the demolition of their democracy, and the restoration of the Shah, in 1953, had been planned from that very building. Muslims around the world knew very well what had happened.
This is but a very brief outline, and there are many fascinating details and nuances, but undertsanding this history will be increasingly important, as the same neocons who so brilliantly propagandized for the so successful invasion of Iraq ramp up their pressure on President Obama to get more aggressive with Iran. As I’ve previously noted, the Obama Administration has been very wise and careful in how they have addressed the current Iranian democracy movement, because anything more overt or aggressive likely would undermine that movement, by enabling it to be depicted as more American meddling.