....In February 1979, oil, rail and other workers in massive mobilizations led a revolution that toppled U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his repressive regime. Workers organized factory councils, as did farmers and students. Washington lost a bulwark in defense of its interests in the Middle East.
Counterrevolutionary clerical forces led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini organized goon squads to attack revolutionaries and fighting workers and prevent encroachments on capitalist rule.
In September 1980 Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army, then backed by Washington, attacked Iran. The war raged for several years and many of the most revolutionary-minded workers died fighting to defend the country. The Islamist counterrevolution consolidated its power, pushing the working class off center stage in politics, but the power of the 1979 revolution prevented it from crushing the working class.
To obfuscate the real situation, both Tehran and Washington always try to erase the distinction between the 1979 revolution and the counterrevolutionary developments that followed.
As the counterrevolution made gains, the Revolutionary Guards built a growing industrial empire that has continued to expand, even in the face of imperialist sanctions. They have wide control over oil, construction, transportation, telecommunications and other industries.
The sanctions had a devastating effect on the lives of working people, including loss of jobs, rising living costs and low wages. Shifts reflected by the elections and lifting of sanctions open the door for an easing of the conditions of life and efforts to make more changes.