Iran 1979: A revolution that shook the world

Celebrating its 37th anniversary, Iran's Islamic Revolution shocked the world and redrew the map of global alliances. The storming of the US Embassy in Iran in 1979 was the start of decades of enmity between the two countries.

The Middle East and North Africa continue to roil in the aftermath of popular uprisings - revolutions that continue to shape Libya, Tunisia and Egypt after the fall of the strongmen running the show. How the autocratic/theocratic dust settles remains to be seen, but the one revolution in the region that signalled an indisputable sea change was Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, whose 37th anniversary will be celebrated on February 11.

Just how major was the impact of the revolution that saw the ouster of Iran's king, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the installment of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic?
To start with, anyone puzzling over the close relationship between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime needs to look no further than Iran and its role in that arena over the past decades.

"The emergence of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the moral boost provided to Shia forces in Iraq, the regional cold war against Saudi Arabia and the Zionist Regime, lending an Islamic flavor to the anti-imperialist, anti-American sentiment in the Middle East are for me the most important by-products of the Iranian revolution," said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, professor of political science at Syracuse University, when asked for the top five geopolitical events set off by the Iranian revolution.