Iran's Islamic Republic is a religious oligarchy of intricate, overlapping relationships among the leading clerics, who function in an exclusive, close-knit process of mutual loyalty and support. Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, however, Islamic fundamentalism has been depicted as a serious challenge not only to the established Western oriented order in many secular Muslim countries, but to the West itself. As part of a worldwide religious revival, the Islamic resurgence is described as a movement away from what Zbigniew Brzezinski terms the West's permissive cornucopia or a system of unbridled materialistic self-indulgence. Iran's current Islamic government gained power in 1979 after successfully eliminating all of the secular coalition partners who took part in a nationwide revolution against the Pahlavi monarchy. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is branded a cultural imperialistic ploy of the West; its observance must therefore be subject to Islamic laws.