1977: The Year of all Dangers
This chapter follows the early protests by civil society activists in 1977—tolerated as a result of the “liberalization” policy—to the reemergence of traditional oppositionist activism with flashes of hardcore Islamist militancy. The author details the different facets of this activism in fall 1977 that culminated in an outpouring of sympathy for Ayatollah Khomeini following the sudden death of his son in Najaf, a death that was blamed on the regime. That seminal event inspired the return of Khomeini to the limelight with a renewed sense of purpose. It also marked the transfer of leadership of the anti-Shah drive from essentially constitutionalist lay opposition forces to Shia revivalist militants with inherently anti-constitutional goals, personified by Khomeini and his clerical camp.