“In an article published in the paper, Enghlab-e-Islami [The future of the Islamic Revolution] in August 1979, Bani-Sadr, the first president of Iran, urged active Iranian involvement in southern Lebanon:
“By not paying attention to what is happening there we will not be helping the advancement of our revolution. Indeed, in order to advance our revolution it is imperative that we go beyond our frontiers to confront the enemies of Islamic countries wherever they may be, because if we do not go out of Iran to help the revolution, others will come to our country to plot against us,” found in the book, Iran and the World: Continuity in a Revolutionary Decade.
Politically, the Iranian urge to restructure its regional order was in line with classical Iranian regional state interests, namely, a long-standing history of foreign invasion, and foreign domination. Iranian suspicions of invasion strengthened over time; from the period of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923) to the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941, Iran grew keen to potential threats.
The Iranian Revolution in 1979, although religious in nature, was also intended to defend Iran politically, and protect it from foreign influence, and control. Iran’s revolutionary platform, as stated by Bani-Sadr, was a basis for the advancement of the revolution, and related specifically to Iran’s experience within the Persian Gulf system.
Iran’s export of Islam was a defense tactic designed to combat perceived threats against Muslims, and specifically Shi’i communities. Iran pushed the Islamic movement abroad, as a mechanism to challenge threats against Iran, and Islam as a whole. At the start of the revolution, the Iranian Pan-Islamic voice was set on broadening the revolution, yet within a short time Iran’s aim narrowed to primarily minimize threats against Shi’i communities in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran.
For the Shi’i revolutionary community in Iran, overthrowing the Shah in 1979 opened an opportunity to bring Islamic society into the far corners of the Middle East. Detailing the impact of Iran’s Islamic Revolution is most telling within southern Lebanon.