The Shah, second from left, with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Cairo in1979.

The Iranian revolution put an end to the rule of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, who had alienated powerful religious and political forces with a programme of modernisation and Westernisation.January 1979 saw the US-supported Shah forced to leave the country after widespread demonstrations and strikes. On 1 February, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran following 14 years of exile in Iraq and France for opposing the regime.Over a year of mass protests and widespread strikes led to the overthrow of the client state. After the Shah fled Iran, the U.S. embassy stayed open but the staff was drastically reduced from a high of nearly 1,000 down to about 80. The embassy was much more than an office staffed by civil servants simply processing paperwork and issuing visas. In fact, the U.S. embassy in Tehran was effectively the command headquarters of the country, through which Washington issued its dictates to the Shah. Iran’s revolution deeply altered that country’s relationship with the United States. The deposed Iranian ruler, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, had been close to a succession of U.S. administrations, and this had produced deep suspicion and hostility among Iran’s revolutionary leaders, from both the left and right of the political spectrum.

Ayatollah Khomeini's return from exile on this day, Feb, 1, 1979. He arrived at the Mehrabad Airport of Tehran

Public mass demonstrations, strikes, and riots accompanied by a strong foreign media coverage and support from all leftist and rightist dissident groups mounted in 1979, thus forcing Shah and his family flee to Egypt on Jan, 16, 1979.

The Iranian Revolution was a populist, nationalist and Shi'a Islamic revolution that replaced a dictatorial monarchy with a theocracy based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists. Its causes  why the last Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) was overthrown and why he was replaced by an Islamic Republic  are the subject of historical debate. The revolution was in part a conservative backlash against the westernization, modernization and secularization efforts of the Western-backed Shah.A political struggle was afoot in Tehrān—between the Islamic right and secular left and between various personalities within the Muslim coterie surrounding the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.Khomeini was an Iranian religious and political leader, who in 1979 made Iran the world's first Islamic republic.In 1962, Khomeini was arrested by the shah's security service for his outspoken opposition to the pro-Western regime of the Shah. His arrest elevated him to the status of national hero. In 1964, he was exiled, living in Turkey, Iraq and then France, from where he urged his supporters to overthrow the shah. By the late 1970s, the shah had become deeply unpopular and there were riots, strikes and mass demonstrations across the country. . Neither side achieved their aim of toppling the other's regime. The war extinguished some of the zeal of the Islamic revolution in Iran and led some Iranians to question the capabilities of their leaders.The Shah of Iran has fled the country following months of increasingly violent protests against his regime.Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi and his wife, Empress Farah, left Tehran and flew to Aswan in Egypt.

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