Nationalism and revolutions are highly volatile processes and typically can be seen as attempts to create a unified society. While Iranian nationalism may be a creation of religious and academic elites, religious zeal and intellectual enlightenment cannot be the sole, or even strongest, explanation. However, with Iran, the nationalism was evoked not out of a desire to necessarily create a new nation, but instead to create an independent nation out of the control of Western powers, particularly the United States. The United States was forcefully creating new cultural identities and Westernized lifestyles, which some Iranians viewed as a security concern for Iranian culture, identity, and safety. The United States’ involvement in human rights campaigns and supporting the Shah’s security forces before 1979, combined with Iranian migration, laid the foundation for political turmoil seen during the Revolution.

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