Topic: Iran 1945 1989 (National Study Option H) Stage 6

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Teaching and learning strategies


Survey/Focus of Study:


Survey – (3 hours)

  • Iran from the end of World War II to the 1953 Coup, including:

      • the impact of World War II on Iran, the influence of the Soviet Union and the background of the Cold War Intercultural understanding icon

      • the election of Mosaddeq to the Majlis (Parliament of Iran) and the nationalisation of the Iranian oil industry Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon

      • Churchill, Eisenhower and the overthrow of Mosaddeq Critical and creative thinking icon Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon

Focus – (27 hours)

  • The rule of the Shah of Iran 1953–1979, including:

      • The government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Ethical understanding icon Civics and citizenship icon

      • Crackdown on the Tudeh (Communist Party) and political repression Intercultural understanding icon Civics and citizenship icon

      • Oil revenue and the Iranian economy Critical and creative thinking icon Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon Work and enterprise icon

      • The White Revolution and social reforms Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon

  • Introduce the Syllabus Overview and HSC requirements for the National Study on Iran.

  • Map of Iran: Identify Iran’s strategic importance and why it grew in geo-political terms during the Cold War.

  • Power Point: Overview of the political situation in Iran during WWII leading to the abdication of Reza Shah as the British and Russians felt that he could not provide political security. Anglo-Soviet invasion and its consequences.

  • You Tube: Dr Stephanie Cronin: Parts 2 and 3 outlining the rationale behind the coup and the emergence of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as the new Shah, instead of his father.

  • Discussion: Why would the US need Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to be the policeman of the Gulf? Refer to the map - Iran shares a border with the USSR and the Persian Gulf.

  • Source Analysis: President Truman’s: Point Four Cooperative Program for Aid in the Development of Economically Underdeveloped Areas. How was this used to maintain and increase the US’ sphere of influence over Iran?

  • Research: The impact of the election of Mohammad Mossadegh, Leader of the National Front as Prime Minister of Iran and the role of the parliament (Majlis) up until 1953. How did the Shah work to extend his power beyond that of a Constitutional Monarch? What was the role of the newly constituted Senate?

  • Group Work: Evaluate a range of Journal Articles and other sources in relation to: the impact of the Majlis decision to nationalise Iran’s oil industry, the Tudeh’s (Communist Party) support for Mossadegh and the role of Churchill and Eisenhower in the subsequent overthrow of Mossadegh which increased the power of the Shah.

  • Discussion: Why would many Iranians resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs?

  • Prezi Presentation: Overview of Shah Reza Pahlavi’s consolidation of power, over his 25 year reign. Why can the Shah’s reforms be considered autocratic modernisation?

  • View Documentary: Iran and the West – Assess the impact of the Shah’s modernisation program and crackdown on the Tudeh (Communist Party) leading to increasing opposition from Ayatollah Khomeini.

  • Discussion: Why would the Shah’s first policy initiative be in relation to the Iranian Oil Industry? Why would the 1954 Oil Consortium be considered detrimental to Iranian sovereignty, even with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) receiving a share of the profits with BP and other US and European oil Companies? What impact did fluctuations in oil prices have on Iran?

  • Individual reading of sources – Why would the Shah’s decision to align himself with the West and join the Baghdad Pact (1955), and the presence of large numbers of Americans in Iran, along with their immunity from prosecution, under laws passed by the Majlis, cause further discontent?

  • Group Work: Research the Shah’s White Revolution – Identify the main aspects of his six point reform agenda and evaluate its level of success. Why did opposition increase due to economic, political, social and cultural concerns? What was the role of the SAVAK? What features do security organisations share? Why do the Iranian people fear the SAVAK?

  • Discussion: Gharbzadegi – Today we stand under the (Western) banner, a people alienated from ourselves; in our clothing, shelter, food, literature, and press, And, more dangerous than all, our culture. We educate pseudo-Westerners and we try to find solutions to every problem like pseudo-Westerners. Jalal Al Ahmad How does this statement reflect on the Iranian identity at the time?

  • Individual Research: The status of women – Why did the Shah’s changes alienate the majority of women causing them to be actively involved in the coming revolution in 1the period from 1977 onwards?

Dr Stephanie Cronin: Iran and WWII: The overthrow of Reza Shah

Iran's 1953 Coup Revisited: Internal Dynamics versus External Intrigue

Author(s): Fariborz Mokhtari

Source: Middle East Journal, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Summer, 2008), pp. 457-488 Published by: Middle East Institute

Economic Problems Facing a Settlement of the Iranian Oil Controversy

Author(s): Walter J. Levy

Source: Middle East Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Winter, 1954), pp. 91-95

Middle East Institute. URL


Ali Ansari,. 2005 Modern Iran Since 1921: The Pahlavis and After. London, UK. Pearson Education.

Iran and the West. 2009. UK (3 Part Documentary Series marking the 30th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution)

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. (2017). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

For a White Revolution: John F. Kennedy and the Shah of IranAuthor(s): April R. Summitt Source: Middle East Journal, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 560-575 Published by: Middle East Institute. URL

  • The Revolution of 1979, including:

      • Events leading to the overthrow of the Shah and the role of the Ayatollah Khomeini Critical and creative thinking icon Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon

      • Causes and ideology of the revolution of 1979 (ACHMH218) Critical and creative thinking icon Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon Civics and citizenship icon

      • Opposition to the Shah and the role of the military Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon

      • Collapse of the monarchy and ascendency of Khomeini (ACHMH218) Critical and creative thinking icon Ethical understanding icon Intercultural understanding icon

  • Iran under Khomeini 1979–1989, including:

      • Consolidation of power and the creation of the Islamic Republic Critical and creative thinking icon Intercultural understanding icon Civics and citizenship icon

      • Western/US–Iranian relations, including the Hostage Crisis (ACHMH221) Critical and creative thinking icon Intercultural understanding icon

      • The causes of tensions with Iraq (ACHMH218) Critical and creative thinking icon Intercultural understanding icon Difference and diversity icon Civics and citizenship icon

      • Reforms and their impact on Iranian society and culture Critical and creative thinking icon Intercultural understanding icon Civics and citizenship icon Difference and diversity icon

    • Evaluate the role of Ayatollah Khomeini, the resurgent National Front and the leaders of moderate opposition parties in protests against the Shah leading to his initiating some changes due to criticism. Was it too little too late for him to remain in power?

    • Source Analysis: Short Term and Long Term Causes of the Revolution.

    • Analyse the impact of the article written in January 1978 in the daily newspaper, Ettelaat, which insulted Ayatollah Khomeini. Was the Shah’s use of force responsible for the increase in the level of protest and its changing nature from reform to revolution?

    • Group Work: Analysis of sources - Outline the ideology behind the 1979 Revolution. What was the role of the military and the impact of the imposition of Martial Law by the Shah? What was the impact of economic recession?

    • Why was the Shah unable to resolve the situation, which ultimately led to his leaving Iran on the pretext of a skiing holiday never to return, leaving the country in the hands of a liberal democrat called, Shapoor Bakhtiar?

    • View Documentary: Iran and the West to gather further understanding of repression in Iran

    • Discussion: Did the did the majority of Iranians support Ayatollah Khomeini on his return from exile in France and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

    • PowerPoint Presentation: 1) opposition to the Ayatollah and their elimination leading to the Iranian Diaspora. 2) Islamic Revolution’s changes to the Class Structure 3) Impact on women 4) Growth of the Middle Class within the bureaucracy/State owned enterprises. 5) Decline in the working class 6) Reasons behind the ‘economic meltdown of the 1980s’. 7) Land confiscation and redistribution’s impact. 8) Nationalisation of large enterprises

    • Discussion and note taking in relation to the consolidation of power following the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    • Group Work: Propaganda Posters from the period 1979 – 1989. Analysis of the message conveyed. Presentation of findings. How important were they in establishing the new values of the Islamic Republic?

    • Contestation of Sources: View sections of the film Argo, Islam and the West and newspaper articles with comments by former President Jimmy Carter and the former Ambassador to Iran, from New Zealand. What are the significant similarities and differences between the events relating to the Hostage Crisis? Further discussion of findings. Historical Fiction versus the TRUTH in relation to events and the way that they are reported or shown.

    • Diagram: The Political System of the Islamic Republic (established in 1979) How does it compare to other systems of government? (Teacher created)

    • Discussion Points: “Where in Islamic History do you find parliament, president and cabinet ministers? In fact, 80% of what we do now has no precedent in Islamic history.” Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. In what ways does this statement contradict the view that political Islam in Iran is a form of fundamentalism? Some commentators have described political Islam as nationalism in a religious guise. How valid is this statement in relation to the Iran experience?

    • Teacher led discussion: Shi’a versus Sunni – Split within the Islamic Faith - What are the major differences and how is this important in the growing conflict culminating in the Iran and Iraq? (1980 – 1988)

    • Research: What role did the USA, USSR and other parties play, including the UN, in the Iran-Iraq War within the Cold War context? How successful were Iran and Iraq in achieving success in achieving success? How did it differ from other conflicts?

    • Pair Work: Reforms in the areas of the Arts: Literature and Cinema; Education; Healthcare and the creation of political functionaries administering the state. How successful has the Islamic Revolution in Iran been in the period 1979 – 1989?

Iran's Revolution: The First Year

Author(s): Fred Halliday

Source: MERIP Reports, No. 88, Iran's Revolution: The First Year (Jun., 1980), pp. 3-5 Published by: Middle East Research and Information Project. URL
Iranian Revolution of 1978–79. (2017). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

Andrew, Scott Cooper. 2016. The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran. Henry Holt & Co. New York, USA.

Charles Kurzman. Historiography of the Iranian Revolution in Iranian Studies, Vol. 28, 1995

Iran And The West: 1 - The Man Who Changed the World -

Iran and the West - The Pariah State

Nomani, Farhad & Behad Sohrab. 2006 Class and Labor in Iran. Did the Revolution Matter? Syracuse. USA. Syracuse University Press.

Argo. 2012 Directed by Ben Affleck

Iran and the West. 2009. UK (3 Part Documentary Series)

Nikki, Keddie. 2003 Modern Iran. Roots and Results of the Revolution. New Haven, USA.; London, UK. Yale University Press.

Thirty Years on: Iran's "Silent Revolution" Author(s): Steve Marsh Source: Iranian Studies, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Apr., 2009), pp. 213-229. URL

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Teaching and Learning Program Evaluation

Program or Unit Title: Class: Teacher:




  • Was the program well-structured and coherent?

  • To what extent did the program engage all students in the class?

  • Did the program assist all students to achieve the learning outcomes?

  • What improvements could be made?


  • Were the resources used appropriately in terms of age level, variety and the ability to engage the students?

  • What improvements could be made?


  • Did the program incorporate a range of quality, valid assessment tasks?

  • Reflect and comment on the level of student achievement in this program.

  • What improvements could be made to assist students to achieve the outcomes?

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This unit of learning was written by Leanne Claringbold, Kambala School. Copyright © of the unit of work is owned by AISNSW.

NSW syllabus content prepared by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the State of New South Wales is protected by Crown copyright.

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