Sheikh Abdullah Makwinja Correspondent
This February 2018 marks 39 years of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. In the scale of history, this may be a mere speck, but in terms of its impact on global affairs, it was an earth-shaking event because it was no ordinary revolution.
It not only overthrew the oppressive regime of the Shah, but also broke free from the shackles of the imperialist-imposed order. Its survival for this long is extremely significant when viewed against the backdrop of other developments in contemporary history.
The Islamic Revolution was led by a God-fearing religious scholar, the late Imam Khomeini, whose understanding and learning of the global situation was rooted in the values and teachings of Islam. For overthrowing Shah, who was a puppet of the arrogant powers, Iran has had to pay a heavy price, but freedom and independence do not come cheap.
It has survived 39 years of sabotage, wars and sanctions and still made immense progress because of the commitment of its leaders to the divine values of Islam and support of its masses.
Far from crippling Iran’s economy, the leadership in Iran used the sanctions as a challenge and an opportunity to develop a resistance economy, as ordained by the Supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
While there were some economic dislocations, Iran withstood these challenges stoically. As one of the cradles of civilisation, Iran, with an area of almost 1,65 million square kilometres and a population of around 75 million, is a great power in the Middle East and the Islamic world.
Entrenching in the Eurasian hinterland and standing at the outlet of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, Iran borders important countries such as Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia. The country is rich in energy and it has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world and the fourth largest proven petroleum reserves.
As a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Iran plays an important role in a group of developing countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran, rich in natural resources is also blessed with a highly educated population, which has made great progress in the fields of science and technology.
Iran is one of the top 10 countries in the world in stem cell research, nanotechnology, nuclear technology and space. Iran recently launched its fourth satellite into orbit. Despite the sanctions, Iran makes highly sophisticated military and medical equipment.
While Iran’s population has more than doubled since the success of the Islamic Revolution in February 1979, there has been an even greater explosion in higher education. During this period, the number of university graduates has grown nine-fold, from a base of 430 000 to nearly four million.
There has been an even more remarkable improvement in educational opportunities for women. The arrogant powers have been wrong for 39 years when discussing the affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
They will continue to be wrong for the next 39 and even more years as well and, therefore, they better come to grips with reality and take an accurate stock of what is really taking place there.
This revolution will not be easily defeated no matter how much the arrogant powers may talk about the collapse or implosion of the Islamic system. What they really want is not a relationship with Iran based on mutual respect, but one that is based on imposing their hegemony and Iran accepting the West’s agenda of greed and exploitation.
This is unlikely to be realised as long as the Iranian masses remain faithful to the revolution. They will withdraw their support if they see that the leaders of Iran have accepted the West’s supremacy and abandoned the principles of Islam.
What has given the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic the resilience to survive these serious challenges?
The simple answer is: reliance on God. What is, however, undeniable is that Iran’s development owes everything to the divine Islamic values it adopted 39 years ago.
- Sheikh Abdullah Makwinja is the national director, Ahl-ul–Bayt (a.s.) Islamic Guidance Council of Zimbabwe.