The Islamic Revolution of 1979 was one of the most important events of the 20th century. It overthrew the government of Shah Reza Pahlavi, then ruler of Iran. Let’s see how this country has changed in these 40 years.
- Population growth
When Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader and founder of the Iranian Revolution, returned to Tehran in 1979 after living in exile in Paris, Iran had a population of 36 million. Since then, Iran’s population has more than doubled to 80 million.
Ayatollah Khomeini’s directive to create a new Shia Muslim generation led to an increase in the population, leading to an increase in the number of children born in the country immediately after the revolution.
But after the Iraq war in the late 1980s, the government had to change its policy and introduce a family planning program to control the growing population.
However, in view of the country’s aging population and threats to national security, in 2010 the government once again encouraged the public to have more children.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized birth control policies and the government, and banned family planning programs with the support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
The focus was on growing populations in the country’s major cities.
In 1980, only two cities had a population of more than one million, but now there are seven.
The urban population of the capital, Tehran, was 5 million in 1970, rising to 7.5 million in 1980, and now has a population of about 12 million.
- Economic impact
Along with Iran’s growing population, the outcome of the war and international sanctions have had a profound effect on the country’s resources.
Iran, a barren country that relied on oil exports, has seen its situation worsen over the past four decades.
Iran’s per capita national income dropped from ہزار 10,200 in 1976 to ہزار 6,900 in 2017.
Meanwhile, per capita national income tripled in Turkey, whose population was growing at a similar rate.
These changes in Iran’s national treasury were caused by a decline in oil production.
Damage to oil industry infrastructure during the Iran-Iraq war had a profound effect on the country’s economy.
Today, Iran’s main exports are oil and allied products, while most of its imports are food and beverages.
The prices of daily necessities have risen sharply compared to wages.
In 1978, you could buy 74 kg of beef with a minimum wage, whereas now you can buy only 10 kg of beef.
Unemployment is the most important problem in Iran today.
Rising unemployment over the past few years has affected most of the youth.
According to the World Bank, in 2018, the youth unemployment rate had reached 30%.
- Decrease in water reserves:
Compared to 40 years ago, Iran is now a very dry country and its water resources are in dire straits.
The average annual rainfall is 228 mm, which is one-fifth of the global average. In addition, 90% of the country’s water is used for agriculture, compared to 69% globally.
Rainfall has dropped sharply in West Azerbaijan. As a result, Lake Armia, one of the largest salt lakes in the world, is shrinking.
Demand for the country’s growing cities is one of the biggest challenges facing Iran’s water supply.
The Zen Da Round River, which flows through Isfahan, Iran’s third-largest city, has also dried up.
- Increase in divorce rate
The country’s marriage rate has risen sharply since 1979, but has declined since 2009.
Similarly, the divorce rate has quadrupled since 1978.
- More highly educated women
Women’s access to education has increased since the 1970s, but their role in the workforce is still small.
In 1978, only 2.9% of women could enroll in university, while in 2016, the number rose to 65.5%.
But in the last 40 years, while the number of men and women enrolling in universities has increased, unemployment among women has doubled compared to men.
6. Lack of cinemas and books
Over the past 40 years, access to theaters has also changed.
There were an estimated 450 cinemas across the country before the revolution.
According to UNESCO, there were only 380 cinemas in the country in 2015.
If we look at the growing population, it means that where there used to be a cinema for every 80,000 people, now there is a cinema for 280,000 people.
Similarly, in 1980, an average of 7,000 copies of each book were printed, but in recent years this number has been reduced to 200.