The Iranian Revolution of 1979 saw the violent overthrow of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980), and the replacement of his pro-Western government by a radical Islamic regime, known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, profoundly reactionary and anti-Western in nature, and led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989). The success of the Iranian Revolution had had profound ramifications for the world. It has encouraged and supported the violent expression of Islamic radicalism through terrorism across the globe, and has brutalised and oppressed its own people.
The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who lived in exile in France, called for riots against the Shah. He promised press freedom and the equality of women after the government would be overthrown. Islamist students in Iran used violence against the military. The shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi escaped on January 16, 1979 into the USA. Khomeini returned to Iran and employed Mehdi Bazargan as his prime minister. In March 1979 the Iranians voted on a "referendum" for an Islamic republic. The people could only decided between monarchy and Islamic republic. Khomenei called Democracy "western" and banned opposition parties. He forced female government workers to wear a hijab, women could not be judges and the marriage age for girls was dropped to 13. Today women who do not wear a hijab are often beaten.
In response to the Shah being brought to America for medical treatment, members of the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line occupied the American embassy. This event is called the Iran Hostage Crisis.