The facts of the Islamic Revolution in Iran are undisputed. A popular, peaceful and long-standing uprising against a US-backed dictator-king succeeded in overthrowing him in 1979. From that time till now, the Islamic Republic formed since the overthrow of the Shah has stood the test of time.
Independence: a concrete principle
Reports saying during and immediately after the Islamic Revolution occurred in Iran, the United States had convinced itself that this would work out in its favor; that the Iranian nation and new leadership would forgive all past US crimes against them and be as submissive as the Shah was to US demands and interests.
The resoluteness of the Iranian nation in the post-revolution era on the unmoving principle of independence was to then become the main sticking point in relations between a growing imperialist, colonialist policy and mind-set in the West, and the now free Iranian nation. Iran refused to bow, and has stuck by that ideology ever since.
The significance of this cannot be overstated. It shall always be the inability to control Iranian policy-making, both domestic and foreign, that shall most anger those who want control over the nation but have been unable to yet gain such foothold because of the wise leadership structure put in place since the dictator fell.
It can be argued that other nations too, such as China, Russia, Venezuela, etc. do not play ball by the rules of the modern colonialist and imperialist project, and that would be a fair statement to make. Those countries' independent stances are to be applauded, no doubt.
However, the one major difference in Iran is the idea that a moral life-system and religion could be used to attempt to design a society, its functions, its policies, and its relationship with the outside world. That this was to be an Islamic democracy baffles the minds of thinkers even today. How is it that an always subservient Islamic world could stand up to the mighty superpowers of the world and that too based on Islam itself as its foundation with the majority support of its people?
The counter revolution
That the Iranian nation was able to achieve this milestone without resorting to violence, and has been able to preserve the momentum has created obstacles in the way of desired societal and government control by external actors.
The moment the world came to the undeniable conclusion that Iran was to stand on its own two feet, an immediate attempt at suppressing the Islamic Revolution came into effect. From the imposed and supported Iraq-Iran war, to the formation of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (whose very raison d'etre is to counter the Islamic Revolution's ideology), and the subsequent assassinations of politicians and scientists, as well as the removal from the terror blacklist of a known anti-Islamic Republic terror organization (MKO), the effort has been concerted and systematic.
It is doubtful that even the most anti-Islamic Republic Western apologist can deny that Iran has been a thorn in the side of the West ever since its foundation, and that a campaign has been waged in the media, global organizations, etc. to demonize it at every opportunity.
That Iran has been successful in withstanding this pressure is nothing short of miraculous. One need only look at the example of the Egyptian revolution which ushered in a fleeting moment of hope for the Arab world, and how quickly, and successfully it was countered, to know how hard it truly is to beat this tidal wave of pressure. As proof one can only look at Hosni Mubarak, a man once detested for his dictatorial ways, and now on the verge of freedom, who is an afterthought in the minds of most troubled Egyptians to realize the efficacy of counter revolutions.
It is now virtually a solidified fact that global powers cannot allow for another Islamic Revolution (or Awakening), or even something similar to a genuine, fully- independent, and uncontrollable movement for democracy, rights, and freedom to succeed.
Even regional countries would not stand for it, as the palaces of the dictator Kings of the region quiver at the very thought that one day their people too could look to Iran and say, 'Why not us too? Why can't we too live as an independent, free country who answers to none other than ourselves? Why can't we too not be responsible for shaping our own policies without the rule of an outsider egging us on to do its bidding?'
One has to only look at the likes of Bahrain, and the fear the uprising there has sparked in the hearts of dictator-Sheikhs region-wide, as well as the Saudi, Emirati response to know this as true.
Where to now?
Revolutions are not static movements which end once power is given to those who carried them out. They are never-ending processes which must continue if success is to be maintained and the ideals of the revolution are to be upheld.
The same goes for the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has walked the path of an Islamic democracy since 1979, through the wars, assassinations, demonization, and being sidelined. The 'resistance economy' Ayatollah Khamenei insists on is one remaining important step that is being implemented, and Iranians need to ensure is enacted.
For it is Iran's ability to safeguard its independence in a world that wishes to control it, which is the key to the preservation of the Islamic Republic and its ideals. Never must Islamic Iran bow. In that is the unhappiness of many, but best interest of the nation-state of Iran.