The Revolution for Law: A Chronographic Analysis of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran

Document Type : Original Article


Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom


This paper brings together a description and analysis of various aspects of the constitutional revolution, as a revolt by society in favour of the law and against arbitrary rule by the state, rather than by the lower against the upper classes as in European revolutions, this being characteristic of major Iranian revolts both before and after that event. It includes a discussion of aspects which have generally been neglected, notably the ‘politics of elimination’ pursued by both Mohammad Ali Shah and the radicals of the revolution, how neither side would relent until it was too late, and how the revolutionaries rejected the shah's offer of reconciliation, to their later regret when they became disillusioned by the results, much like many participants of the revolution of February 1979, 70 years later.