June 5th 1963, is a date which holds special importance in the political literature and sociological studies of the developments leading to the formation of Islamic Revolution and reaches the peak in the curve related to the course of the revolution. That is why in ...
June 5th 1963 in an interview with Sayyed Mostafa Taqavi
By: Zahra Chizari
June 5th 1963, is a date which holds special importance in the political literature and sociological studies of the developments leading to the formation of Islamic Revolution and reaches the peak in the curve related to the course of the revolution. That is why in analysis of this incident, even now when more than half a century has passed, new angles can be found to review this historical event. Once morewe review these events in an interview with Sayyed Mostafa Taqavi, researcher and expert of Iran Contemporary History Studies Organization.
□Mr. Taqavi, what factors laid the grounds for the June 5th 1963 riot as one of the most important events in the contemporary history of Iran and the turning point of the Islamic Revolution?
To understand the grounds which formed the June 5th uprising we have to study the events and incidents from 19th august 1943 onwards as the closest historical point where the grounds for emergence and outburst of the June 5th riot is more evident. The roots of June 5th uprising are placed in the contemporary history of Iran and all political, social and cultural developments of this period but from August 19th 1953 and Iran National Front’s failure, other events were added to the events of contemporary Iran which clearly provided grounds for appearance and emergence of a new intellectual political process the symbol of which was revealed in the uprising on June 5th.
From August 19th onwards a fundamental factor of change, was the change of colonial management in the country. Before August 19th 1953, Iran was colonized by England but due to this country’s global decline and loss of many colonial regions and rising of the US in global political and economic fields, the same happened in our country and from August 19th 1953 onwards, the US transformed in to a more superior foreign power and England was placed second. Although England’s influence in Iran’s monarchy continued until the Islamic Revolution but the US had priority and played the first role.
From 1953, the US was involved in the realms of culture, politics and economics in Iran including cultural contracts, designing economic structures, country’s budget and planning and also in military and defense treaties, internal security organizations’ rebuild and establishment of SAVAK; and these are examples of the new management of the US in Iran internal political arena.
This situation continued from 1953 to 1961until a transformation occurred in the US approach towards management of countries which supported them in the western block against the eastern block by Dr. Ian Kennedy. This meant that a series of structural reforms and corrections would be enforced in the countries under the influence of the US and the west which decreased the cost of maintaining dictatorial dominions and through these reforms, the instrumental governments like Iran, would have social bases in the country to become self-sufficient and not be dependent on military forces offoreign authorities. According to this, reforms in matters like bill of state and provincial councils and the white revolution plan and this resulted in events that provided the grounds for a more general uprising like the June 5th riot.
□What were the articles and contents of the bill of state and provincial councils which led to outrage of the clericsand the people?
This bill was one of the first plans through which the US thought would create popularity for the Pahlavi regime. In fact their calculations was planned in this way that half the population are women but at that historical point the women did not have the right to vote according to the constitution. Although it was the same in many European countries at that time but the Pahlavi regime proposed a bill to change the bill of constitution’s state and provincial councils’ by announcing that women must be socially involved and their right to vote is one of the instances of this social involvement.
In the constitution the women were not considered as voters or candidates and this matter was normal at that time but with the bill of state and provincial councils, the US intended to present the Pahlavi regime as a women’s right advocate and this act as a liberal, social, revolutionary and innovative action and so make the women, meaning half the population, interested in the Pahlavi regime. So they changed the constitutional laws so that the women could elect and be elected.
Change of swearing by the Holy Quran to swearing by a holy book was another matter which showed their future plans for secularizing Iran and merging it into the western block. This was while more than 98% of Iran society is Muslims and swearing by the Holy Quran was anticipated in the constitution and in addition to women’s involvement they wanted to change this also. While changing the constitutional law was in itself illegal and the subject of changing the book by which to swear in Iran society and with this combination of Muslim population was a serious opposition to Islamic-Iranian society’s identity. These factors caused the clerics to feel that the Pahlavi regime’s approach is against the law and the interests of the Islamic country are endangered and this is an identity and ideological threat for the society. This matter provoked the religious leaders and Imam Khomeini and they started a campaign against it a campaign that after two months of struggle between the clerics and the government and the Shah, the government was forced to announce that these changes are not effective and the same constitution will be used.
□In the discussion about the women’s right to vote a major question is raised and that is the reason of Imam Khomeini and the other clerics’ opposition with this issue in the bill of state and provincial councils while after the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini provided the grounds for more involvement of the women himself and granted them the right to vote. What was the reason for this?
This issue is among the matters which some superficial, simplistic people may think that Imam has changed his opinion while the basis of Imam’s opposition with the Pahlavi regime’s approach was not with the involvement of the women and their votes; the mere presence and voting of women was not problematic in Islamic view. There were intentions and politics behind this subject who wanted to merge Iran in the western world and change it by fortifying the Pahlavi regime. Such plans were only tools to change the country’s structure and institutionalize the system desired by the US in our country. So Imam and other clerics opposed this plan because of its philosophy, goal, and aim and recognized it as being against Islam and Iran’s interest not for the mere presence of women in elections and their right in choosing their own social life. In fact the proposal for changing the swear by a holy book instead of the holy Quran warned the clerics that there are issues hidden behind the matter of women’s voting and following that plan they even wanted to form a congress entitled Women’s Free Congress. At that time Imam Khomeini said: do them men in this country have the right to vote when you propose the right of vote for women? Imam practically announced that we know the plan for women’s right to vote is not to vindicate their social rights but to change the country’s structure and identity and that is why they considered it against prudence and opposed it.
But later, when Imam formed an honest government and political system based on the society’s ideas and identity and the Islamic Republic was established he officially announced that the women pioneered in all domains of the revolution and realization of its goals and they must remain so and have roles and gain their rights through this process. It can be said that if the social system is intact the Muslim woman and Iranian woman can perform her role in the best possible way but if the social system is not healthy, any kind of presence for the women or even men is unhealthy.
□Many of the experts in the field of history and politics believe the June 5th riot to be the turning point of the Islamic Revolution. What were the features of this uprising to be named so?
The June 5th riot is the turning point of modern transformations in contemporary Iran. This uprising was the beginning of a new process in developments inIran because it was formed in circumstances when no other intellectual political parties (national religious, leftist communism and the Tudeh party) did not have anything new to say or do against the Pahlavi regime’s bill of state and provincial councils and the white revolution and they were in a state of passivity. June 5th is turning point because with the new management entitled religious management, new conditions had been presented and new events occurred and this management transition from traditional conservative political elites to religious leaders is one of the foundations of the June 5th riot and so makes it a turning point.
Another point is that basically the message of June 5th riot and the bearers of this message, the people who were involved and martyred and indited the event and in other words the players of that event, had another request and a new plan and new claims which were more than the requests of the Iranian society political elites at that time. That event occurred with the idea and by the people who formed a new approach in the Iran transformation curve and this is the clear and scientific evidence for this riot being a turning point. While in addition to other previous fundamental reasons, by the results and effects which remained in the transition process the June 5th riot showed that the future transitions placed the relation between the political and social system, people and the Pahlavi regime in another course and found new order. People’s despair towards the Pahlavi regime and the steps taken in the direction of revolutionary movements, are all part of items proving that the June 5th riot is a turning point and the start of a new turned in Iran political transformations. The truth of this claim is proved when finally the process of these developments and this approach towards the problems of society causes the bearers of June 5th message follow up their actions and create February 1978 and establish Iran Islamic Republic regime.
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