The nature of the state, and of state authority, in Iran, and the character of the dominant discourse there, are intimately connected. The Islamic revolution of 1979, however, was led by the Shi'ite ulama in order to defend and preserve Shi'ism, with the state as their vehicle. They acted as the custodian of a religious tradition they considered threatened with corruption, if not disappearance. Paradoxically, however, their attempt to restore and revitalize the Shi'ite tradition has constituted a true revolution in Shi'ism. In a paper prepared for a SSRCACLS conference in 1981 (Arjomand, 1984a:Ch. 10), I characterized the movement led by Ayatollah Khomeini as 'revolutionary traditionalism'. I still consider the Islamic revolution in Iran as the first traditionalist revolution in modern history (Arjomand, 1985). It should be emphasized, however, that the Islamic revolution in Iran has not only been a political revolution but equally a religious revolution. Shi'ite revolutionary traditionalism in Iran has brought about a revolution in Shi'ism.