An Introduction to the History of the Islamic Revolution in Ardebil

A Work in Historical Sociology, This Book Deserves to Be Considered

Written and Researched by Ali Derāzi, The History of the Islamic Revolution in Ardebil is a work by the Provincial Bureaus for Resistance Studies and Literature of Hoze Honari (Art Center). Printed in quarto format, the said book was published in 988 pages by Mehr Publications.
This book is written in seven chapters. A foreword and a preface precede the first chapter which, entitled “Ardebil from Antiquity to the Birth of the Pahlavi Dynasty”, describes, in four sections, the geographical, political, and economic status of Ardebil; the lakes of this province; its social structure and its naming; and early accounts of Ardebil in historical documents, books produced by historians, writings of great poets of Ardebil, and in Zoroastrian writings. This chapter portrays Ardebil under the reign of Bani Sāj (the Sajids), Āle Būyeh (the Būyids), the Safavids, the Afshārids, and the Qajars and in the Constitutional Revolution, describing the role of Molla Emām Verdi, the Mujahidins of Constitutionalism, the Heidarids, the Ne`matis, Sattār Khān, the Russians in Ardebil, and the suppression of the unrest related to Rahim Khān and the Shāhsavans.
Written in three sections, the second chapter describes the role of Ardebil in Rezā Khān`s rise to and fall from power and the events of this period. The first section entails information on Rezā Shāh`s actions and reforms, Ayatollah Āqā Mirzā Ali-Akbar Mojtahed Ardebili`s struggles, Rezā Shāh`s anti-religious measures, and clothing changes among Ardebil`s residents according to their social status. Page 147 reads: “The wealthy and the elite, i.e. proprietors and wealthy businessmen, wore a plain shirt made of top-quality calico, se-tireh, and trousers. Their heads were surmounted by a cylindrical hat called Amiri hat which was made of paperboard, with a broadcloth, worsted, or mostly black lambskin outer layer and silk lining. They wore boots or leather shoes and socks. Overcoat was not much common; Geimeh was instead more common. Geimeh`s first syllable rhymes with same, and it is a relatively long cloth garment which had an upturned collar, instead of a down-turned one, covering part of the neck. Everyone usually had a robe which was folded over one arm to be draped over the shoulders if necessary. The lower class which included the majority of residents did not wear se-tireh but wore Ārkhāliq instead, which was a long jacket that fell to their knees. They wore Tāsāki(1) hats and Yāstidābān (low-heeled) and Dikdābān (high-heeled) footwear. Socks were commonly woven domestically and their coloring and patterns were impressively artistic.”
The second section, entitled “Ardebili Clergymen and Clothing Changes”, explores the discussions of and the place of Shia clergy; the history of the advent of Hawze Elmiyeh (a seminary centre); the history of Molla Ebrāhim, Sālehieh, and Mirzā Ali-Akbar Seminaries; the laicization of clergymen in Ardebil; the ban on religious mourning; the abolition of Hejāb in Ardebil; and the return of emigrants.
Entitled “Ardebil in World War II”, the third section focuses on the role of this province in the Second World War, especially considering that this province bordered the former Soviet Union. The beginning lines on the War read: “On Monday dawn, the third of Shahrivar (the 26th of August), residents who had no prior conception of airplane and flying were suddenly woken up by the roaring of airplanes. They rushed out to gaze up at them. There were about 12 of them in the sky. Flying to over the garrison just after they first appeared in the sky, the airplanes then began to fire with their machine guns at soldiers who were, without a commander, still in the garrison yard. Many defenseless young soldiers were killed. Continuing to fly at low altitude, the airplanes then scattered leaflets over the city, leaflets which in friendly words in Persian and Āzeri Turkish, tried to assure the residents and promised to free Iranians from the yoke of Nazis. It was not even noon when Russian tanks entered the city and from different parts of the city, advanced towards the barracks and Sālāriyeh, a building where the military staff stayed (page 181).” The remaining pages recount how Rezā Shāh was deposed and Mohammad-Reza Shāh acceded to the throne, how the Russian occupation left its mark on the city, how the Tūdeh Party(2) became more active in Āzerbāijān, and how there was an agenda to send young Ardebilis to Bakū to study there.
The third chapter, entitled “Ardebil and the Rise and the Fall of the Azerbāijān Democratic Party”, is divided into three sections. This chapter explores the origins of the Azerbāijān Democratic Party, foundation of Iran-Soviet Cultural Association, Soviet immigrants, the formation of the Azerbāijān Democratic Party in Ardebil, elections of the Azerbāijāni Constituent Assembly and National Council, the fall of Azerbāijān, Ardebili clergymen and the Azerbāijān Democratic Party, nomads of the Shāhsavans of Ardebil and the Azerbāijān Democratic Party, the Azerbāijān Democratic Party refugees in Russia, etc.
The fourth chapter is entitled “Ardebil from the Oil Nationalization Movement to the Year 1962”. The first section of this chapter is dedicated to an introduction of the oil nationalization movement, the representative of Ayatollah Kāshāni in Ardebil, the elections for the seventeenth The National Consultative Assembly, the 30Tir Uprising (the Uprising of the thirtieth of Tir [the twentieth of July]), the Referendum, and the 28 Mordād Coup d’état (the Coup d’état of the twenty eighth of Mordād [the nineteenth of August]), etc.
The second section of the fourth chapter, entitled “Ardebil from the 19 August 1953 Coup d’état to the Year 1962”, analyses the events related to the resurgence of dictatorship and oppression, Grand Ayatollah Āqā Seyyed Yūnes Ardebili`s death, Ayatollah Mūsavi`s life, Grand Ayatollah Borūjerdi`s death, the founding of Lions Club in Ardebil, land reforms in Ardebil.
Entitled “Islamic Movement in Ardebil”, the fifth chapter consists of five sections. It explores the origins of the Islamic movement and the Shāh`s reforms, the State and Provincial Bill, capitulation, the struggles against Baha`ism in Ardebil, the 2500 year celebration of the Persian Empire, the protests against the expulsion of Iranians from Iraq, Hujjat al-Islam Hassan Sane`ee`s exile to Meshkinshahr and Ayatollah Montazeri`s exile to Khalkhāl, Ayatollah Seyyed Yūnes Yūnesi`s death, etc. The sixth chapter, “Ardebil between the Years 1977 to 1978”, is divided into five sections and examines the public demonstrations and protests and memoirs about the Revolution. This chapter depicts the rise of the Islamic Movement in Ardebil and the role the mosques played. The remaining pages of this chapter are dedicated to a discussion of an Islamic bookshop; the first chants of “Long live Khomeini”; the association founded to counter Baha`ism; Ayatollah Nūri Hamedāni`s exile to Khalkhāl; the 19 Dey Uprising of Qom (the Uprising of the nineteenth of Dey [the ninth of January] in Qom); ceremonies commemorating the 40-day anniversaries of the uprisings in Tabriz, Yazd, Jahrom, and Ahvāz; the first Ardebili martyr; the first chants of “Down with the Shāh” in Ardebil; the holy month of Ramazān and the resurgence of public protests; Maktab o-Zahrā, the first revolutionary women`s association in Ardebil; Chāqū Sāzān Mosque; Emām Khomeini`s migration to France; revolutionary mourning processions; Monzavi of Ardebil and other Ardebili poets; historic demonstrations on the days of Tasū`ā and Ashūrā; the bulletin announcing the deposition of the Shāh; the massacre in the village of Niāraq; the fire in the Bazaar of Ardebil; the Shāh`s defection; etc.
The seventh chapter of this book is dedicated to a discussion of the history of Ardebil from the victory of the Islamic Revolution to the Era of Security”. This chapter has two sections: “Establishment of Revolutionary Institutions and Organizations” “Public Participation in National Plans and Measures”. The topics addressed by the said two sections are as follows: Ardebil after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Revolutionary Court and punishing the agents of the Pahlavi regime, establishing a strike force and the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, the appointment of Ayatollah Moravej to the position of the Friday prayer imam in Ardebil, the Islamic Revolution Referendum, the unrests staged by the Muslim People`s Republican Party, the names of the Ardebili-born martyrs who resided in Tehran during the Islamic movement, and a timeline of the historical events in Ardebil.
The lines describing the activities of Revolutionary Court and the punishment of the agents of the Pahlavi regime read: “During its early days, some individuals from Revolutionary Court itself caused some disorders. Among these individuals was the prosecutor of the early years after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Hossein Mirsādeqi whose term of office led to many problems in Ardebil. Ghafāri is another example; his self willed conduct in his unauthorized trying of individuals during the early months after the victory of the Revolution cannot be accounted for in any way; he made some blatant mistakes in Ardebil. Unfortunately, in their management and judgment, Mirsādeqi and Ghafāri paid little attention to the opinion of local clergymen and trusted residents, especially the revolutionary leaders; they acted according to their own personal judgment, and this triggered discontentment among residents and combatant clergymen.” (Page 726)
The final chapter of the book (pages 761–939) includes a topical list of documents; the bibliography; newspapers and magazines; and lists containing the names of interviewees, documentary centers, archives; and the index.
The author of The History of the Islamic Revolution in Ardebil has referred to 126 sources. The footnotes exploited in the book provide the reader with further complete information. Moreover, the narratives and documents of the book give a vivid picture of the events recounted in the book.
In light of its content and documents, this book could be said to be a reliable source for researchers studying the sociology of the social and political class of the pre-revolutionary period of Ardebil.

1- Tāsāki hats are cylindrical woolen hats with velvet borders.
2- The Tudeh Party of Iran, aka Party of the Masses of Iran, was an Iranian communist party.

Asgar Abbāsnejād
Translated by: Katayoun Davallou

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