Ruhollah Khomeini
Grand Ayatollah Sayyed
Sayyid is an honorific title, it denotes males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husain ibn Ali, sons of the prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.Daughters of sayyids are given the titles Sayyida,...

 Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, the Shah
Pahlavi dynasty
The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi (reg. 1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty ...

 of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader
Supreme Leader of Iran
The Supreme Leader of Iran is the highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The post was established by the constitution in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists...

 — a position created in the constitution
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was adopted by referendum on October 24, 1979, and went into force on December 3 of that year, replacing the Constitution of 1906. It was amended on July 28, 1989. The constitution has been called a "hybrid" of "authoritarian, theocratic and...

 as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation — until his death.

Khomeini was a marja
Marja , also known as a marja-i taqlid or marja dini , literally means "Source to Imitate/Follow" or "Religious Reference"...

("source of emulation", also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi'a Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, author of more than 40 books, but is most famous for his political role.

If the ulema|religious leaders have influence, they will not permit girls and boys to wrestle together, as recently happened in Shiraz|Shiraz.

Denouncing the situation that sex segregation in Islam|sex segregation was not being imposed by the government.

The people will not rest until the Pahlavi rule has been swept away and all traces of tyranny have disappeared. As long as the Shah's satanic power prevails, not a single true representative of the people can possibly be elected.

Response to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's announcement of elections (August 1978); quoted in "The Shah's Divided Land" (18 September 1978) Time

Women are free in the Islamic Republic in the selection of their activities and their future and their clothing.

Interview for The Guardian in Paris (6 November 1978)

Personal desire, age, and my health do not allow me to personally have a role in running the country after the fall of the current system.

Associated Press interview in Paris (7 November 1978); repeated on several occasions before Khomeini returned to Iran

In Iran's future Islamic system everyone can express their opinion, and the Islamic government will respond to logic with logic.

Speech (9 November 1978), as quoted in The Most Truthful Individual in Recent History" in Iranshenasi, Vol. XIV, No. 4 (Winter 2003), as translated by Farhad Mafie

In the Islamic government all people have complete freedom to have any kind of opinion.

Interview with Human Rights Watch, Paris (10 November 1978)

After the Shah's departure from Iran, I will not become a president nor accept any other leadership role. Just like before, I limit my activities only to guiding and directing the people.

Le Monde interview in Paris (9 January 1979)

Ayatollah, would you be so kind as to tell us how you feel about being back in Iran?Nothing. I don't feel anything. (Hichi. Hich ehsasi nadaram)

Exchange between American reporter Peter Jennings and Khomeini (1 February 1979), during Khomeini's return flight to Iran; quoted in Elaine Sciolino (2001) Persian Mirrors. Khomeini's translator did not translate his response, but said only that he had no comment.