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 his fate was sealed when mass demonstrations against his rule began in late 1977. The seeds of the Iranian revolution were planted decades earlier, of course, and you can make a pretty good case that they first sprouted in 1963, during the 15 Khordad demonstrations. These took place on, well, the 15th of Khordad, which is June 5 (and 6; they were a two day affair) for us who aren’t using the Iranian calendar. And 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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