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Author ORCID Identifier
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Mary C. Wilson
Monica M. Ringer
Diplomatic History | History of Religion | International Relations | Islamic World and Near East History | Oral History
This dissertation is a transnational history of the 1978-79 Iranian revolution and its regional ramifications in the 1980s. Bridging literature on revolution, internationalism, and clerical factionalism, this research explores the international impact of the 1978-79 revolution and the Iranian endeavor in the 1980s to export the Revolution. The 1978-79 uprising against the Shah was the only successful revolution led by Muslim ʿulamaʾ in modern times and inspired political activism and uprisings across the Muslim world. The clergy’s role in mobilizing the Iranian masses set a powerful example to non-Iranian Shiʿi and Sunni ʿulamaʾ and Islamists, who hoped that they could accomplish something similar in their own struggles. Examining revolution as an ideological and international force, this study steps outside the limits of national history, exploring how the Revolution influenced Shiʿi and Sunni forces and Muslim nationalist movements in the world. At the heart of this research are three entities which had key roles in the internationalism of the 1979 revolution: the international network of Shaykh Mohammad Montazeri; the Revolutionary Organization of the Masses of the Islamic Republic, Satja (1979-1980); and the Islamic Liberation Movements Unit, ILMU (1980-1982). The present research is the first academic work that studies the crucial role of these entities in spreading the Revolution. By shedding light on the intellectual and political impact of the Islamic Revolution on non-Shiʿi forces and the Iranians’ ties with Sunni groups, this work challenges sectarian narratives that either question the exportability of the 1978-79 revolution (because of the specifically Shiʿi and Persian identity of Iran) or confine its internationalism to Shi’i communities outside Iran. This work’s analysis of factionalism in the Islamic Republic and revolutionary internationalism in the 1980s provides insight into understanding the internationalization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the rise of the Quds Force, which is now spearheading Iran’s expansion in the region.
Ataie, Mohammad, "EXPORTING THE 1978-79 REVOLUTION: PAN-ISLAMIC OR SECTARIAN" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. 1989.
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Available for download on Monday, September 01, 2025