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Khordad National Uprising

1963 Demonstrations in Iran

The June 5 and 6 demonstrations, also referred to as the June 1963 events or (by the Iranian calendar) the 15 Khordad uprising, were protests in Iran against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini following his denunciation of the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Israel.

The Shah's regime was taken by surprise by massive public demonstrations of support, and although these were crushed by the police and military within days, these events demonstrated the importance and strength of the (Shia) religious opposition to the Shah and Khomeini as a major political and religious figure.

Fifteen years later, Khomeini led an Iranian revolution that overthrew the Shah and the Pahlavi dynasty and created the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In 1963, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, launched several modernizing reforms in Iran, which were known as the "Shah and People's Revolution" or the White Revolution. It was called White because it was a bloodless revolution.

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These plans were supposed to bring social and economic changes to Iran. Therefore, on January 26, 1963, the Shah held a nationwide referendum on the 19 rules of the White Revolution. The rules of this revolution were land reforms, the nationalization of forests and pastures, the privatization of state enterprises, the division of profits, the granting of voting rights to women, the formation of a literacy corps, the formation of a health corps, the formation of reconstruction, and development corps, the formation of houses of justice, the nationalization of all water resources, urban and rural modernization and reconstruction, didactic reforms, the right of workers to own shares in industrial complexes, price stabilization, free and compulsory education, free meals for low-income mothers, the introduction of a social security system and a national insurance, a stable and reasonable cost of renting or buying a home, the introduction of anti-corruption measures. Shah announced this revolution through modernization.

In addition, other sources believe that the Shah may have legitimized the Pahlavi dynasty with his White Revolution. The revolution caused a deep rift between Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the Iranian Shia religious scholars Ulama. They argued that these changes posed a serious threat to Islam. Ruhollah Khomeini was one of the objectors who held a meeting with other marajis and scholars in Qom and boycotted the referendum of the revolution.

On January 22, 1963, Khomeini issued a statement condemning the Shah and his plans. Khomeini continued his denunciation of the Shah's programs by issuing a manifesto that also had the signatures of eight other senior religious scholars. In it, he listed the various ways in which the Shah violated the constitution, denounced the spread of moral corruption in the country, and accused the Shah of subservience to the United States and Israel. He also decided to cancel Nowruz celebrations in honor of the Iranian year 1342 (falling on March 21, 1963) in protest against the government's policies.

Iran National and Public Holidays