Today in Middle Eastern history: the 15 Khordad Movement (1963)

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled Iran on January 16, 1979, in the face of a revolution that had reached its zenith. But the seeds of the Iranian revolution were planted decades earlier, as is usually the case in these situations, and you can make a pretty good case that they first sprouted in 1963, during the 15 Khordad demonstrations. These took place on, surprisingly enough, the 15th of Khordad, which is June 5 (and 6; they were a two day affair) for those of us who aren’t using the Iranian calendar. Not only did they establish the Shah’s unpopularity, but they also empowered the man who would ultimately replace him, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

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