ABSTRACT

Appearing exotic or anachronistic to some, exhilarating or liberating to others, the 1978-79 Islamic Revolution, with its mixture of populism, religious zeal, and self-righteous indignation, should have triggered anxieties among international human rights advocates. That it did not do so immediately can be explained by a widespread antipathy towards the regime it overthrew, the outré character of its leader, Ayatullah Rusullah Khumaync, and the euphoric support he generated among the nation, itself in the throes of an undigested modernity and existential crisis, aggravated by the policies of a faltering dynasty. An ancient people empowering themselves were simply thrilling. However, by the early 1980s, the international human rights observers became alarmed, in particular about the regime’s brutality towards the Baha’is. The Bahá’í International Community, the international representative of the Baha’is, did strive to bring the plights of the Baha’i citizens to the attention of the United Nations.1