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Iran, 30 Years After The Revolution

It's been 30 years since the Islamic revolution in Iran. The Iranian government is spending 10 days celebrating the time when Muslim clerics took power in 1979. The anniversary comes just as the U.S. considers a new approach to Iran. This week, Morning Edition examines how some Iranians see their world, and what the revolution means to them.

At a weekend gathering at the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the revolution's founder, a group of young Iranian women sum up the revolution in two words: independence and freedom.

This is the heart of the matter for many Iranians, who see the revolution as the overthrow of a ruler — the Shah of Iran — who was backed by the United States.

Ali Askar Vafaei, curator of Iran's Martyrs' Museum, notes that revolution was about culture.

"We didn't have the revolution to have a better, easier, more comfortable life. It was the cultural issues," he says. "Our culture was being conquered by the Western culture, and our Islamic values were fading."

Others say the revolution always had an economic side — one driven by ideas of social justice and alleviating poverty.

But many of these development and subsidy programs to help the poor haven't worked, and Iran's economic situation is worsening, making life difficult for ordinary Iranians.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.