Iranian Liberalism became a distinct movement within Iran during the Farah's Age, when it got promoted by Empress Farah. Iranian Liberalism sought to replace Western Influences, Zoroastrian and Islamic political influences, state religions, backwater mindset, socialism and communism. Ahvan Baykitari is credited as the founding father of Iranian Liberalism, publishing many publications through Tehran University during the late 1930s and 1940s. However, Reza Mahmad is credited for spreading it nationwide due to his close position to Empress Farah Pahlavi.
In Iran the establishment of Iranian Liberalism became the key basis to a major cultural and social revolution, creation of a welfare state, expansion of the Iranian state and creating the Iranian identity. However, as times changed and the challenges for Iranian Liberals became different, a different push was made within Iranian Liberalism. Iranian-Liberalism is heavily opposed to communism, socialism and fascism. Iranian-Liberalism, despite having some evolution throughout decades has mainly remained the same. |
Ahvan Baykitari, 1966
However, in 1950s democracy came upon Iran through Prime Minister Askamita and the idea of Iranian Liberalism was turned away. Instead, socialism took over. During this time, another prominent figure of Iranian Liberalism came about. During Askamita's time, Socialism was very popular and first welfare fundements were placed. However, many feared that Socialism may grow bigger and there came Aisha Khorsavani. An economist and major proponent of Iranian Liberalism, Khorsavani was fascinated as to how the Iranian economy could be transformed and revolutionised. That is where the Khorsavanism, the economic system of Iranian Liberalism, was formed. Khorsavani argued that in order for the Iranian economy to grow and be competitive, it has to be diversified and has to be left to the private sector. The socialists did the opposite, oil was at frontfoot of exports and the market became restricted.
In accordance to Khorsavani, the market should be deregulated to the bare minimum, in form of quality and tax regulation. All subs towards failing industries and companies stopped. The market should be opened up for foreign companies and Iran should begin major industrialisation process. But most importantly, Khorsavani advocated for the working class and putting them at the front of the economic life of the country. Later on, Khorsavani argued that Iranian companies should be favoured and so they were. When in Empress Farah came to power, Khorsavanism was enacted and led to major three waves of Iranian industrialisation, led to creation of an open free market, led to major foreign investments and trade and led to Iranian economy becoming extremely diversified. ...Khorsavanism brought major prosperity upon Iran, to this day Khorsavanism is the major economic system of Iran, a system that has worked for decades..." |
Aisha Khorsavani, 2013
| Despite major ideas and figures, Iranian Liberalism was able to come alive and flourish due to certain situations. Accession of Empress Farah to the throne, Sexual Revolution, Sabina Fesri Prime Ministership and the Iranian-Arab War. These four major events allowed Iranian-Liberalism to be ingrained within the political, social and economic system of Iran. Firstly, the accession of Empress Farah to the throne in 1959 brought upon an unknown and fresh figure to the stage. The I-Libs used Empress Farah the same way she used them.
As an inexperienced leader, Farah needed advisers of all sorts, but above all she needed a direction that she could lead the country in. I-Libs seemed like the best optition, the most exciting. Recalling in her memoirs, Empress Farah wrote "...I knew Mahmad through my husband, we met at a couple of parties...when the time came for me to rule I needed someone trusted yet new and fresh to the establishment like me, Mahmad was right there and ready with a whole vision for Iran..." Thanks to Empress Farah, Iranian-Liberalism, or Farahism, has been popularised but most importantly ingrained in the politics and economics of the country. Empress Farah was a major tool in establishing Iranian-Liberalism across the country. She is also the prime-model of the authoritive figure that Iranian-Liberalism requires to work. A figure that is beloved, compassionate, charismatic and authoritive. "...without an effective authoritive figure in place, the whole idea of Iranian-Liberalism crumbles..."
The Sexual Revolution is one that has made history books all around the world. Started in 1962 by Princess Shams Pahlavi after her pictures with a black man were released to the press and her interview was published, the Sexual Revolution began. The Sexual Revolution lasted from 1962 to 1968 and is credited with being one of the major social and cultural revolutions of the 20th century. Islamic and Zoroastrian rhetoric and fear was pushed aside, sexual, cultural and social norms were broken and pushed. Freedom of Choice, which Iranian-Liberalism advocates for, stood at the centre of the revolution. The universities, the youth, the country was reorganising itself completely to match the new freedom of choice mentality. "...it's hard to describe it, you had to live through it...but it was a time where you could do anything and you were applauded for...there was a major sense of love, freedom and desire...you wanted something, well, you did it..."
But the Sexual Revolution also brought economic changes. The Sexual Revolution occurred during the 1st Industrialisation Era of Iran. During the era, Iran found itself with major foreign investments, great new projects, major industrial belts forming and a new working class forming within the community. A working class of prosperity, that suddenly began to afford cars, better home equipment ect. Working class became the front of the Iranian economic life and they were nurtured for like never before. The Sexual Revolution brought upon the social and cultural changes that Iranian-Liberalism advocated for. Freedom of Choice and Major Freedoms were implemented. First Industralisation occurred but even still the Iranian working classes were unsure of the new situation, unlike the middle class and the upper class that enjoyed themselves.
The Prime-Ministership of Sabina Fesri, however, placed the working class as the symbol of Iranian-Liberalism for decades to come. When Sabina Fesri won the 1968 elections after successfully fighting out democracy yet again within Iran, the I-Libs base took a major hit back as a socialist was brought into power by the working classes. Fesri began to change the major economic and political laws brought upon by I-Libs. However, in 1969, Fesri tried a failed coup against the Empress which resulted in her escape to Moscow and the return of a pro I-Lib Prime Minister. But the I-Libs took a major lesson from this, and the working class rights became their major stamp for decades to come through their Workers Constitution which changed the working class in Iran forever and brought them new prosperity during the 2nd and 3rd Industralisation of Iran.
The Iranian-Arab wars that happened between 1960s and 1970s, fuelled the nationalistic part of Iranian-Liberalism, mainly promoted by Elysia Benin, the former Prime Minister. Despite her resignation after the 1972 attack on Persian Gulf States, Benin successfully brought nationalism into Iranian politics and the wars themselves brought it into the Iranian society. Pride of being Iranian formed, and the Iranian identity formed. [u]"...the whole base of I-Libs is that there is only one unified nationality in Iran, that is Iranian and only based on that are people equal and valued...ethnicity and religion has little role to play..." The Arab Wars brought a major sense of Iranian Identity which is a crucial part for Iranian-Liberalism to work. |
Empress Farah, 1962
Many of those that praise Iranian-Liberalism point towards it's freedom aspects. I-Libs promote LGBQT, Pro-Choice, Freedom of Choice ect along with protecting and giving prosperity to the working masses of the country. Uniting people through tolerance, openness and freedom is very important. Nationalism, love for the country and militarism also protect the country and it's people from outside threats, whatever they may be.
However, critics of I-Libs determine that the ideology promotes dictatorships, creates inequality within the society, diminishes religious and ethnic minorities, allows for the majority dictatorship and pushes religion aside. Along with that it promotes imperialism and neo-colonialism which cannot be tolerated in today's world.
Whatever the case may be, Iranian-Liberalism to this day remains as the major political, economic and social ideology of Iran and it's variations are starting to appear around the world.|