The Islamic Revolution launched itself with a clear understanding of its tasks: to establish an infrastructure which could carry the Islamic movement abroad. In order to proceed with this segment of the Iranian Revolution fertile areas, such as, souther Lebanon, southern Iraq and Oman – countries with large Shi’i populations – were eyed to export Iran’s revolutionary institutions.
The dispatch in 1982 of Revolutionary Guards to Lebanon, who were largely concentrated in the Bekka Valle, southern Lebanon, enabled Iran to spread the Islamic revolutionary message, set up a network of social services, and disburse financial aid among the Shi’i.
Iran’s engagement in Islamic revival abroad occurred contemporaneously with the Iran Iraq War. Claiming the lives of approximately 370,000 Iranians and Iraqis, the eight year war between the two neighboring Muslim countries changed the direction for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
It should be clear that the conflict began one year after Iran’s Islamic Revolution claimed to seek Muslim reconciliation. The armed conflict altered Iran’s revolutionary strategy, and placed an already delicate Sunni and Shi’i relationship into further contention.
Although the central aim of the revolution was to harmonize differences between Sunni and Shi’i, minute progress had actually been achieved, found in the book, Iran and the Surrounding World: Interactions in Culture and Cultural Politics. The failure of Sunni Shi’i unity resulted in the exclusive revival of the Shi’i populations abroad.
The Islamic Republic did not possess the economic, and military means to pursue its revolutionary goals. This forced the Islamic Republic to revise some of its revolutionary modes. The Islamic world outside of Iran had been largely unreceptive to the new ideology. Iran did not execute its Muslim unity scheme as planned; however, this was not the case in Lebanon.
Iran’s influence on Lebanon’s society was realized as a result of the Islamic Revolution. And its greater spiritual component can be traced prior to the 1970s. The Shi’i population rooted in the southern Lebanon region of Jabal ‘Amil shares lineage with Iran from the early 16th century, if not before, found in the book, From Jabal ‘Amil to Persia,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies.
“…The existence of cultural, religious, historical and sentimental ties between Iran and the Shi’i of Lebanon date back to the sixteenth century. At that time, the newly established Shi’a Safivid dynasty had to ‘import’ ulammas from Jabal Amel (southern Lebanon) to teach and preach the Ithna ‘Ishriya shi’ism in Iran, found in the book, Iran and the Arab World.