Air War Over Southeast Asia: A Pictorial Record Vol. 3, by Lou Drendel

By Lou Drendel

Air battle Over Southeast Asia: A Pictorial list Vol.3: 1971-1975

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Women's continued activism was almost certainly largely responsi- Nikki R. Keddie 27 ble for making Zia set up an activist 'Women's Division' in his government, and also create a Commission on Women, whose 1985 report, under appropriate Qur'anic quotations, was almost entirely egalitarian. It remains unpublished and, like the reports of many US Government commissions, unacted upon. Zia's regime has had what may turn out to be a long-term benefit; as discourse must be Islamic, it has forced many women and other activists to study Islam, and to learn Qur'anic and legal precedents for their programmes.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had been on the throne since 1941 and had been an autocratic ruler since 1953 when, with the assistance of the United States and Britain, a military coup had overthrown the nationalist government of Mohammad Mosaddeq. Since that time, there had been only sporadic open opposition to the regime, with the exception of the period 1960--3, when nationalist politicians and a section of the clergy led by Ayatollah Khomeini had protested at the Shah's control of political life and the reforms he was instituting.

Such historical and ideological throwbacks have been seen in other revolutions and nationalist movements - the past provides convenient legitimation for many. But the Iranian case is far more than this, because such a regression is the basis of the whole revolutionary programme. In the proper sense of the word, the Iranian revolution is therefore a comprehensively reactionary revolution, restoring to the term its original, astronomical, meaning of a return to a previous order. A second consequence follows from this: while economic and material factors and aspirations played a part in the Iranian revolution, the leaders were reluctant to recognise this and have tended to reject the idea of material improvement.

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