Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iran
ian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution
which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, the Shah
of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader
— a position created in the constitution
as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation — until his death.
Khomeini was a marja
("source of emulation", also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi'a Islam
, 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.
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.
Women are free in the Islamic Republic in the selection of their activities and their future and their clothing.
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.
In Iran's future Islamic system everyone can express their opinion, and the Islamic government will respond to logic with logic.
In the Islamic government all people have complete freedom to have any kind of opinion.
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.
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)
Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iran
ian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution
which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, the Shah
of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader
— a position created in the constitution
as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation — until his death.
Khomeini was a marja
("source of emulation", also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi'a Islam
, author of more than 40 books, but is most famous for his political role. He spent more than 15 years in exile for his opposition to the shah. In his writings and preachings he expanded the Shi'a Usuli theory of velayat-e faqih, the "guardianship of the jurisconsult (clerical authority)" to include theocratic
political rule by the Islamic jurists. This principle (though not known to the wider public before the revolution) was installed in the new Iranian constitution after being put to a referendum.
He was named Man of the Year in 1979 by American newsmagazine TIME and has been described as the "virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture," where he was known for his support of the hostage takers during the Iranian hostage crisis and his fatwa
calling for the death of British citizen Salman Rushdie.
Khomeini has been criticized for these acts and for human rights violations of Iranians (including his ordering of execution of thousands of political prisoners;), but also lauded as a "charismatic leader of immense popularity", and a "champion of Islamic revival
" by Shia scholars.
He is officially known as Imam
Khomeini inside Iran and by his supporters internationally, and generally referred to as Ayatollah
Khomeini by others.
Early lifeThe Khomeini family originated from Nishapur
. Towards the end of the 18th century, the ancestors of Ruhollah Khomeini had migrated from their original home in Nishapur to the kingdom of Oudh in northern India
whose rulers were Twelver Shia Muslims of Persian
origin; they settled in the small town of Kintoor
, just outside of the capital
. Ayatollah Khomeini's paternal grandfather, Seyyed Ahmad Musavi Hindi
, was born in Kintoor, he was a contemporary and relative of the famous scholar Ayatollah
Syed Mir Hamid Hussain Musavi. He left Lucknow in 1830 on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Imam Ali in Najaf
and never returned. According to a statement attributed to Khomeini's elder brother, Seyed Morteza Pasandideh, Seyyed Ahmad Musavi Hindi's point of departure was Kashmir
. Also in a letter to Ayatollah Yousuf Kashmiri, Ayatollah Khomeini confirms the Kashmiri
origins of his grandfather. According to Moin this movement was to escape colonial rule of British Raj
in India. He visited Iran in 1834 and settled down in Khomein
in 1839. Although he stayed and settled in Iran
, he continued to be known as Hindi, even Ruhollah Khomeini used Hindi as pen name in some of his ghazals.
Ruhollah began to study the Qur'an
, Islam's holiest book, and elementary Persian
at age six. The following year, he began to attend a local school, where he learned religion, "noheh khani" and other traditional subjects. Throughout his childhood, he would continue his religious education with the assistance of his relatives, including his mother's cousin, Ja'far, and his elder brother, Morteza Pasandideh.
After World War I
arrangements were made for him to study at the Islamic seminary in Esfahan, but he was attracted instead to the seminary in Arak
. He was placed under the leadership of Ayatollah
Abdul Karim Haeri Yazdi. In 1920, Khomeini moved to Arak and commenced his studies. The following year, Ayatollah Haeri Yazdi transferred to the Islamic seminary at the holy city of Qom
, southwest of Tehran, and invited his students to follow. Khomeini accepted the invitation, moved, and took up residence at the Dar al-Shafa school in Qom. Khomeini's studies included Islamic law (sharia
) and jurisprudence (fiqh
), but by that time, Khomeini had also acquired an interest in poetry and philosophy (irfan
). So, upon arriving in Qom, Khomeini sought the guidance of Mirza
Ali Akbar Yazdi, a scholar of philosophy and mysticism. Yazdi died in 1924, but Khomeini would continue to pursue his interest in philosophy with two other teachers, Javad Aqa Maleki Tabrizi and Rafi'i Qazvini. However, perhaps Khomeini's biggest influences were yet another teacher, Mirza Muhammad 'Ali Shahabadi, and a variety of historic Sufi
, including Mulla Sadra
and Ibn Arabi
Literature, poetry and philosophyKhomeini studied Greek Philosophy
and was influenced by both the philosophy of Aristotle
, whom he regarded as the founder of logic, and Plato
, whose views "in the field of divinity" he regarded as "grave and solid". Among Islamic philosophers, Khomeini was mainly influenced by Avicenna
and Mulla Sadra
Apart from philosophy, Khomeini was also interested in literature and poetry. His poetry collection was released after his death. Beginning in his adolescent years, Khomeini composed mystic, political and social poetry. His poetry works were published in three collections The Confidant, The Decanter of Love and Turning Point and Divan. Some of his poems are seen as criticizing spirituality and religion, such as one firstly dedicated to a commander in the Iran-Iraq war
but later published by his son as a memorial to him. He claims the controversial "I am the Truth" of the Persian mystic Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj and uses the Ṣūfī terminology of wine.
Ruhollah Khomeini was a lecturer at Najaf
and Qum seminaries for decades before he was known in the political scene. He soon became a leading scholar of Shia Islam. He taught political philosophy, Islamic history and ethics. Several of his students (e.g. Morteza Motahhari) later became leading Islamic philosophers and also marja. As a scholar and teacher, Khomeini produced numerous writings on Islamic philosophy, law, and ethics. He showed an exceptional interest in subjects like philosophy
that not only were usually absent from the curriculum of seminaries but were often an object of hostility and suspicion.
Political aspectsHis seminal teaching often focused on the importance of religion to practical social and political issues of the day, and he worked against the outspoken advocacy of secularism in the 1940s. His first book, Kashf al-Asrar (Uncovering of Secrets) published in 1942, was a point-by-point refutation of Asrar-e hazar salih (Secrets of a Thousand Years), a tract written by a disciple of Iran's leading anti-clerical historian, Ahmad Kasravi
. In addition, he went from Qom to Tehran to listen to Ayatullah Hasan Mudarris- the leader of the opposition majority in Iran's parliament
during 1920s. Khomeini became a marja in 1963, following the death of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Husayn Borujerdi.
BackgroundMost Iranians had a deep respect for the Shi'a clergy or Ulema
, and tended to be religious, traditional, and alienated from the process of Westernization
pursued by the Shah. In the late 19th century the clergy had shown themselves to be a powerful political force in Iran initiating the Tobacco Protests against a concession to a foreign (British) interest.
At the age of 61, Khomeini found the arena of leadership open following the deaths of Ayatollah Sayyed Husayn Borujerdi (1961), the leading, although quiescent, Shi'ah religious leader; and Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani
(1962), an activist cleric. The clerical class had been on the defensive ever since the 1920s when the secular, anti-clerical modernizer Reza Shah
Pahlavi rose to power. Reza's son Muhammad Reza Shah, instituted a "White Revolution
", which was a further challenge to the ulama.
Opposition to the White RevolutionIn January 1963, the Shah announced the "White Revolution
", a six-point programme of reform calling for land reform
of the forests, the sale of state-owned enterprises to private interests, electoral changes to enfranchise women and allow non-Muslims to hold office, profit-sharing in industry, and a literacy campaign in the nation's schools. Some of these initiatives were regarded as dangerous, Westernizing trends by traditionalists, especially by the powerful and privileged Shi'a ulama
Ayatollah Khomeini summoned a meeting of the other senior marjas of Qom and persuaded them to decree a boycott of the referendum on the White Revolution. On 22 January 1963 Khomeini issued a strongly worded declaration denouncing the Shah and his plans. Two days later the Shah took an armored column to Qom, and delivered a speech harshly attacking the ulama
as a class.
Khomeini continued his denunciation of the Shah's programmes, issuing a manifesto that bore the signatures of eight other senior Iranian Shia religious scholars. In it he listed the various ways in which the Shah had allegedly violated the constitution, condemned the spread of moral corruption in the country, and accused the Shah of submission to America and Israel. He also decreed that the Nowruz
celebrations for the Iranian year 1342 (which fell on 21 March 1963) be canceled as a sign of protest against government policies.
On the afternoon of 'Ashura (3 June 1963), Khomeini delivered a speech at the Feyziyeh madrasah
drawing parallels between the infamous tyrant Yazid
and the Shah, denouncing the Shah as a "wretched, miserable man," and warning him that if he did not change his ways the day would come when the people would offer up thanks for his departure from the country.
On 5 June 1963, (15 of Khordad
), two days after this public denunciation of the Shah
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, Khomeini was arrested. This sparked three days of major riots throughout Iran and led to the deaths of some 400. That event is now referred to as the Movement of 15 Khordad
. Khomeini was kept under house arrest and released in August.
Opposition to capitulationOn 26 October 1964, the day of the Shah's holiday celebrating '2,500 years of continuous monarchy,' Khomeini denounced both the Shah and the United States. This time it was in response to the "capitulations" or diplomatic immunity granted by the Shah to American military personnel in Iran. The famous "capitulation" law (or "status-of-forces agreement") would allow members of the U.S. armed forces in Iran to be tried in their own military courts. Khomeini was arrested in November 1964 and held for half a year. Upon his release, he was brought before Prime Minister Hasan Ali Mansur, who tried to convince Khomeini that he should apologize and drop his opposition to the government. Khomeini refused. In fury, Mansur slapped Khomeini's face. Two weeks later, Mansur was assassinated on his way to parliament. Four members of the Fadayan-e Islam
were later executed for the murder.
Life in exile
. Initially he was sent to Turkey
on 4 November 1964 where he stayed in the city of Bursa for less than a year. He was hosted by a colonel in Turkish Military Intelligence
named Ali Cetiner in his own residence, who could not arrange alternative accommodation for his stay at the time. Later in October 1965 he was allowed to move to Najaf, Iraq
, where he stayed until being forced to leave in 1978, after then-Vice President Saddam Hussein
told him that it's better to leave (the two countries would fight a bitter eight year war
1980–1988 only a year after the two reached power in 1979) after which he went to Neauphle-le-Château
, suburb of Paris, France on a tourist visa, apparently not seeking political asylum, where he stayed for four months. According to Alexandre de Marenches
, chief of External Documentation and Counter-Espionnage Service
(now known as the DGSE), the shah declined that France expel Khomeini for fear that the cleric should move to Syria or Libya. Some sources report that president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
sent Michel Poniatowski
to propose to the Shah the elimination of Khomeini.
By the late 1960s, Khomeini was a marja
-e taqlid (model for imitation) for "hundreds of thousands" of Shia, one of six or so models in the Shia world.
While in the 1940s Khomeini accepted the idea of a limited monarchy under the Iranian Constitution of 1906–1907 — as evidenced by his book Kashf al-Asrar — by the 1970s he rejected the idea.
In early 1970, Khomeini gave a series of lectures in Najaf on Islamic government, later published as a book titled variously Islamic Government or Islamic Government: Authority of the Jurist (Hokumat-e Islami: Velayat-e faqih).
This was his most famous and influential work, and laid out his ideas on governance (at that time):
- That the laws of society should be made up only of the laws of God (ShariaShariaSharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...
), which cover "all human affairs" and "provide instruction and establish norms" for every "topic" in "human life."
- Since Shariah, or Islamic law, is the proper law, those holding government posts should have knowledge of Sharia. Since Islamic jurists or faqih have studied and are the most knowledgeable in Sharia, the country's ruler should be a faqihFaqihA Faqīh is an expert in fiqh, or, Islamic jurisprudence.A faqih is an expert in Islamic Law, and, as such, the word Faqih can literally be generally translated as Jurist.- The definition of Fiqh and its relation to the Faqih:...
who "surpasses all others in knowledge" of Islamic law and justice, (known as a marja'), as well as having intelligence and administrative ability. Rule by monarchs and/or assemblies of "those claiming to be representatives of the majority of the people" (i.e. elected parliaments and legislatures) has been proclaimed "wrong" by Islam.
- This system of clerical rule is necessary to prevent injustice, corruption, oppression by the powerful over the poor and weak, innovation and deviation of Islam and Sharia law; and also to destroy anti-Islamic influence and conspiracies by non-Muslim foreign powers.
A modified form of this wilayat al-faqih system was adopted after Khomeini and his followers took power, and Khomeini was the Islamic Republic's first "Guardian" or Supreme Leader
In the meantime, however, Khomeini was careful not to publicize his ideas for clerical rule outside of his Islamic network of opposition to the Shah which he worked to build and strengthen over the next decade.
In Iran, a number of actions of the shah including his repression of opponents began to build opposition to his regime.
Cassette copies of his lectures fiercely denouncing the Shah as (for example) "... the Jewish agent, the American serpent whose head must be smashed with a stone", became common items in the markets of Iran, helped to demythologize the power and dignity of the Shah and his reign. Aware of the importance of broadening his base, Khomeini reached out to Islamic reformist and secular enemies of the Shah, despite his long-term ideological incompatibility with them.
After the 1977 death of Dr. Ali Shariati
(an Islamic reformist and political revolutionary author/academic/philosopher who greatly popularized the Islamic revival
among young educated Iranians), Khomeini became the most influential leader of the opposition to the Shah. Adding to his mystique was the circulation among Iranians in the 1970s of an old Shia saying attributed to the Imam Musa al-Kadhem. Prior to his death in 799, al-Kadhem was said to have prophesied that "A man will come out from Qom and he will summon people to the right path". In late 1978, a rumour swept the country that Khomeini's face could be seen in the full moon. Millions of people were said to have seen it and the event was celebrated in thousands of mosques. He was perceived by many Iranians as the spiritual, if not political, leader of revolt.
As protest grew so did his profile and importance. Although thousands of kilometers away from Iran in Paris, Khomeini set the course of the revolution, urging Iranians not to compromise and ordering work stoppages against the regime. During the last few months of his exile, Khomeini received a constant stream of reporters, supporters, and notables, eager to hear the spiritual leader of the revolution.
Return to Iran
, welcomed by a joyous crowd of up to five million people, estimated in at least six million by ABC News
reporter Peter Jennings
, who was reporting the event from Tehran.
On the Air France
flight on his way to Iran, Khomeini was asked by Jennings: "What do you feel in returning to Iran?" Khomeini answered: "Hichi" (Nothing!. This statement was considered reflective of his mystical beliefs, and his non-attachment to ego,. Some consider it a warning to Iranians who hoped he would be a "mainstream nationalist leader" that they were in for disappointment. To others, it was a reflection of a unfeeling leader incapable or unconcerned with understanding the thoughts, beliefs, or the needs of the Iranian populace.
Khomeini adamantly opposed the provisional government of Shapour Bakhtiar
, promising ""I shall kick their teeth in. I appoint the government. I appoint the government by support of this nation." On 11 February (Bahman 22), Khomeini appointed his own competing interim prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan
, demanding, "since I have appointed him, he must be obeyed." It was "God's government," he warned, disobedience against him or Bazargain was considered a "revolt against God."
Establishment of new governmentAs Khomeini's movement gained momentum, soldiers began to defect to his side and Khomeini declared jihad on soldiers who did not surrender. On 11 February, as revolt spread and armories were taken over, the military declared neutrality and the Bakhtiar regime collapsed. On March 30 and 31 1979, a referendum to replace the monarchy with an Islamic Republic passed with 98% voting in favour of the replacement, but controversially the referendum was posed as a single question: "should the monarchy be abolished in favour of an Islamic Government?"
Islamic constitutionAlthough revolutionaries were now in charge and Khomeini was their leader, several secular and religious groups were unaware of Khomeini's plan for Islamic government by wilayat al-faqih, which involved rule by a marja' Islamic cleric. This provisional constitution for the Islamic Republic did not include the post of supreme Islamic clerical ruler.
Khomeini and his supporters worked to suppress some former allies and rewrote the proposed constitution. Some newspapers were closed, and those protesting the closings were attacked. Opposition groups such as the National Democratic Front and Muslim People's Republican Party were attacked and finally banned. Through popular support and with charges of questionable balloting, Khomeini supporters gained an overwhelming majority of the seats of the Assembly of Experts which revised the proposed constitution. The newly proposed constitution included an Islamic jurist Supreme Leader
of the country, and a Council of Guardians to veto un-Islamic legislation and screen candidates for office, disqualifying those found un-Islamic.
In November 1979, the new constitution of the Islamic Republic was adopted by national referendum. Khomeini himself became instituted as the Supreme Leader
(supreme jurist ruler), and officially became known as the "Leader of the Revolution." On 4 February 1980, Abolhassan Banisadr
was elected as the first president of Iran.
Critics complain that Khomeini had gone back on his word (or outsmarted secular, Islamic modernists and even traditional Islamic Iranians, depending on your point of view) to advise, rather than rule the country.
Hostage crisisOn 22 October 1979 the United States admitted the exiled and ailing Shah into the country for cancer treatment. In Iran there was an immediate outcry with both Khomeini and leftist groups demanding the Shah's return to Iran for trial and execution. Revolutionaries were reminded of Operation Ajax
, 26 years earlier when the Shah fled abroad while American CIA and British intelligence organized a coup d'état
to overthrow his nationalist opponent.
On 4 November, Islamist students calling themselves Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line
, took control of the American Embassy in Tehran, holding 52 embassy staff hostage for 444 days – an event known as the Iran hostage crisis
. In 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmedinejad became president, several of the hostages identified him as one of their captors, however this claim has been denied by a CIA investigation on the matter. In America, the hostage-taking was seen as a flagrant violation of international law and aroused intense anger and anti-Iranian sentiments. In Iran the takeover was immensely popular and earned the support of Khomeini under the slogan "America can't do a damn thing against us." The seizure helped to advance the cause of theocratic government and outflank politicians and groups who emphasized stability and normalized relations with other countries. Khomeini is reported to have told his president: "This action has many benefits ... this has united our people. Our opponents do not dare act against us. We can put the constitution to the people's vote without difficulty, and carry out presidential and parliamentary elections." The new theocratic constitution was successfully passed by referendum a month after the hostage crisis began. The effect was the splitting of the opposition into two groups – radicals supporting the hostage taking, and the moderates who opposed it. On 23 February 1980, Khomeini proclaimed Iran's Majlis
would decide the fate of the American embassy hostages, and demanded that the United States hand over the Shah for trial in Iran for crimes against the nation. Although the Shah died a few months later, during the summer, the crisis continued. In Iran, supporters of Khomeini named the embassy a "Den of Espionage", publicizing details regarding armaments, espionage equipment and many volumes of official and classified documents which they found there.
Relationship with Islamic and non-aligned countriesKhomeini believed in Muslim unity and solidarity and the export of Islamic revolution throughout the world. "Establishing the Islamic state world-wide belong to the great goals of the revolution." He declared the birth week of Muhammad
(the week between 12th to 17th of Rabi' al-awwal
) as the Unity week. Then he declared the last Friday of Ramadan
as International Day of Quds
Iran-Iraq WarShortly after assuming power, Khomeini began calling for Islamic revolutions across the Muslim world, including Iran's Arab neighbor Iraq, the one large state besides Iran with a Shia majority population. At the same time Saddam Hussein
's secular Arab nationalist Ba'athist
leader, was eager to take advantage of Iran's weakened military and (what he assumed was) revolutionary chaos, and in particular to occupy Iran's adjacent oil-rich province of Khuzestan
, and, of course, to undermine Iranian Islamic revolutionary attempts to incite the Shi'a majority of his country.
In September 1980 Iraq launched a full scale invasion of Iran, starting what would become the eight-year-long Iran–Iraq War (September 1980 – August 1988). A combination of fierce resistance by Iranians and military incompetence by Iraqi forces soon stalled the Iraqi advance and by early 1982 Iran regained almost all the territory lost to the invasion. The invasion rallied Iranians behind the new regime, enhancing Khomeini's stature and allowed him to consolidate and stabilize his leadership. After this reversal, Khomeini refused an Iraqi offer of a truce, instead demanding reparation and the toppling of Saddam Hussein
from power. That was proved to be a huge mistake, because if Khomeini have accepted the truce, Iran could have taken a large territory in Iraq, then occupied by the Iranian Army. Instead he chose to continue the war which ended with a crippled Iranian economy, casualties of 500,000 to a million lives, and no gain of Iraqi territory.
Although Iran's population and economy were three times the size of Iraq's, the latter was aided by neighboring Persian Gulf Arab states, as well as the Soviet Bloc and Western countries. The Persian Gulf Arabs and the West wanted to be sure the Islamic revolution did not spread across the Persian Gulf while the Soviet Union was concerned about the potential threat posed to its rule in central Asia to the north. Although, Iran had large amounts of ammunition provided by America during the Shah's era, and also America illegally smuggled arms to Iran during the 80s despite Khomeini's anti-Western policy (sse Iran-Contra affair
The war continued for another six years, its costs mounting. 1988 saw deadly month-long Iraqi missile attacks on Tehran, mounting economic problems, the demoralization of Iranian troops, attacks by the American Navy on Iranian ships and oil rigs in the Persian Gulf, and the recapture by Iraq of the Faw peninsula.
In July of that year, Khomeini, in his words, "drank the cup of poison" and accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. Despite the high cost of the war – 450,000 to 950,000 Iranian casualties and USD $300 billion – Khomeini insisted that extending the war into Iraq in an attempt to overthrow Saddam had not been a mistake. In a 'Letter to Clergy' he wrote: '... we do not repent, nor are we sorry for even a single moment for our performance during the war. Have we forgotten that we fought to fulfill our religious duty and that the result is a marginal issue?'
Rushdie fatwaIn early 1989, Khomeini issued a fatwa
calling for the assassination of Salman Rushdie, an India-born British author. Khomeini issued a juristic ruling (Fatwa) that claimed that Rushdie's assassination was allowed for Muslims to partake because of his alleged blasphemy
in his novel, The Satanic Verses
, published in 1988. Rushdie's book contains passages that many Muslims – including Ayatollah Khomeini – considered offensive to Islam and the prophet, but the fatwa has also been attacked for violating the rules of fiqh
by not allowing the accused an opportunity to defend himself, and because "even the most rigorous and extreme of the classical jurist only require a Muslim to kill anyone who insults the Prophet in his hearing and in his presence."
Though Rushdie publicly regretted "the distress that publication has occasioned to sincere followers of Islam", the fatwa
was not revoked. Khomeini explained,
Even if Salman Rushdie repents and becomes the most pious man of all time, it is incumbent on every Muslim to employ everything he has got, his life and wealth, to send him to Hell.
Rushdie himself was not killed but Hitoshi Igarashi
, the Japanese translator of the book The Satanic Verses
, was murdered and two other translators of the book survived murder attempts.
Through this fatwa, he was regarded a renewer of Islam by most non-Shi'a and became the spokesman for the frustratins and ambitions of Muslims in general.
Life under KhomeiniIn a speech given to a huge crowd after returning to Iran from exile 1 February 1979, Khomeini made a variety of promises to Iranians for his coming Islamic regime: A popularly elected government that would represent the people of Iran and with which the clergy would not interfere. He promised that "no one should remain homeless in this country," and that Iranians would have free telephone, heating, electricity, bus services and free oil at their doorstep.
Under Khomeini's rule, Sharia
(Islamic law) was introduced, with the Islamic dress code enforced for both men and women by Islamic Revolutionary Guards and other Islamic groups Women were required to cover their hair, and men were not allowed to wear shorts. Alcoholic drinks, most Western movies, the practice of men and women swimming or sunbathing together were banned. The Iranian educational curriculum was Islamized at all levels with the Islamic Cultural Revolution; the "Committee for Islamization of Universities" carried this out thoroughly. The broadcasting of any music other than martial or religious on Iranian radio and television was banned by Khomeini on July 1979. The ban lasted 10 years (approximately the rest of his life).
Emigration and economyKhomeini is said to have stressed "the spiritual over the material". Six months after his first speech he expressed exasperation with complaints about the sharp drop in Iran's standard of living: 'I cannot believe that the purpose of all these sacrifices was to have less expensive melons' On another occasion emphasizing the importance of martyrdom over material prosperity: "Could anyone wish his child to be martyred to obtain a good house? This is not the issue. The issue is another world." He is also reportedly famous for answering a question about his economic policies by declaring that 'economics is for donkeys'. This low opinion of economics is said to be "one factor explaining the inchoate performance of the Iranian economy since the revolution." Another factor was the long war with Iraq, the cost of which led to government debt and inflation, eroding personal incomes, and unprecedented unemployment.
While Iran became more strict Islamically under Khomeini, absolute poverty rose by nearly 45% during the first 6 years of his rule. Emigration from Iran also developed, reportedly for the first time in the country's history. Since the revolution, an estimated "two to four million entrepreneurs, professionals, technicians, and skilled craftspeople (and their capital)" have emigrated to other countries.
Suppression of enemies and oppositionOpposition to the religious rule of the clergy or Islamic government in general was often met with harsh punishments. In a talk at the Fayzieah School in Qom, 30 August 1979, Khomeini warned opponents: "Those who are trying to bring corruption and destruction to our country in the name of democracy will be oppressed. They are worse than Bani-Ghorizeh
Jews, and they must be hanged. We will oppress them by God's order and God's call to prayer."
The Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
and his family left Iran and escaped harm, but hundreds of former members of the overthrown monarchy and military met their end in firing squads, with critics complaining of "secrecy, vagueness of the charges, the absence of defense lawyers or juries", or the opportunity of the accused "to defend themselves." In later years these were followed in larger numbers by the erstwhile revolutionary allies of Khomeini's movement—Marxists and socialists, mostly university students—who opposed the theocratic regime.
In the 1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners, following the People's Mujahedin of Iran
operation Forough-e Javidan against the Islamic Republic, Khomeini issued an order to judicial officials to judge every Iranian political prisoner and kill those who would not repent anti-regime activities. Estimates of the number executed vary from 1,400 to 30,000.
Although many hoped the revolution would bring freedom of speech and press, this was not to be. In defending forced closing of opposition newspapers and attacks on opposition protesters by club-wielding vigilantes, Khomeini explained, 'The club of the pen and the club of the tongue is the worst of clubs, whose corruption is a 100 times greater than other clubs.'
Minority religionsLife for religious minorities was mixed under Khomeini. Non-Muslim religious minorities no longer had equal rights. Senior government posts were reserved for Muslims. Schools set up by Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians had to be run by Muslim principals. Compensation for death paid to the family of a non-Muslim was (by law) less than if the victim was a Muslim. Conversion to Islam was encouraged by entitling converts to inherit the entire share of their parents (or even uncle's) estate if their siblings (or cousins) remain non-Muslim. Iran's non-Muslim population has fallen dramatically. For example, the Jewish population in Iran dropped from 80,000 to 30,000 in the first two decades of the revolution.
However, four of the 270 seats in parliament
were reserved for three non-Islamic minority religions, under the Islamic constitution that Khomeini oversaw. Khomeini also called for unity between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims (Sunni Muslims are the largest religious minority in Iran).
Prerevolutionary statements by Khomeini had been antagonistic towards Jews, but shortly after his return from exile in 1979, he issued a fatwa ordering that Jews and other minorities (except Bahá'ís
) be treated well. In power, Khomeini distinguished between Zionism
as a secular political party that employs Jewish symbols and ideals and Judaism as the religion of Moses
Unlike the other non-Muslims in Iran, the 300,000 members of the Bahá'í Faith
, were actively harassed. "Some 200 of whom have been executed and the rest forced to convert or subjected to the most horrendous disabilities." Starting in late 1979 the new government systematically targeted the leadership of the Bahá'í community by focusing on the Bahá'í National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) and Local Spiritual Assemblies (LSAs); prominent members of NSAs and LSAs were either killed or disappeared.
Like most conservative Muslims, Khomeini believed Bahá'í to be apostates. He claimed they were a political rather than a religious movement,
Death and funeralAfter eleven days in a hospital, Khomeini died at the age of 86. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei
. Iranians poured out into the cities and streets to mourn Khomeini's death in a "completely spontaneous and unorchestrated outpouring of grief."
3.5 million people attended his funeral. Iranian officials aborted Khomeini's first funeral, after a large crowd stormed the funeral procession, nearly destroying Khomeini's wooden coffin in order to get a last glimpse of his body. At one point, Khomeini's body almost fell to the ground, as the crowd attempted to grab pieces of the death shroud. The second funeral was held under much tighter security. Khomeini's casket was made of steel, and heavily armed security personnel surrounded it. In accordance with Islamic tradition, the casket was only to carry the body to the burial site. In 1995, his son Ahmad Khomeini
was buried next to him. Khomeini's grave
is now housed within a larger mausoleum complex.
SuccessorshipGrand Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri, a former student of Khomeini and a major figure of the Revolution, was chosen by Khomeini to be his successor as Supreme Leader and approved as such by the Assembly of Experts
in 1985. The principle of velayat-e faqih and the Islamic constitution called for the Supreme Leader to be a marja (a grand ayatollah), and of the dozen or so grand ayatollahs living in 1981 only Montazeri qualified as a potential Leader (this was either because only he accepted totally Khomeini's concept of rule by Islamic jurists, or, as at least one other source stated, because only Montazeri had the "political credentials" Khomeini found suitable for his successor). In 1989 Montazeri began to call for liberalization, freedom for political parties. Following the execution of thousands of political prisoners by the Islamic government, Montazeri told Khomeini 'your prisons are far worse than those of the Shah and his SAVAK.' After a letter of his complaints was leaked to Europe and broadcast on the BBC
, a furious Khomeini ousted him from his position as official successor.
To deal with the disqualification of the only suitable marja, Khomeini called for an 'Assembly for Revising the Constitution' to be convened. An amendment was made to Iran's constitution removing the requirement that the Supreme Leader
be a Marja and this allowed Ali Khamanei, the new favoured jurist who had suitable revolutionary credentials but lacked scholarly ones and who was not a Grand Ayatollah, to be designated as successor. Ayatollah Khamene'i was elected Supreme Leader by the Assembly of Experts
on 4 June 1989. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri continued his criticism of the regime and in 1997 was put under house arrest for questioning what he regarded to be an unaccountable rule exercised by the supreme leader.
Political thought and legacyAccording to at least one scholar, politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran "are largely defined by attempts to claim Khomeini's legacy" and that "staying faithful to his ideology has been the litmus test for all political activity" there.
Throughout his many writings and speeches, Khomeini's views on governance evolved. Originally declaring rule by monarchs or others permissible so long as sharia
law was followed Khomeini later adamantly opposed monarchy, arguing that only rule by a leading Islamic jurist (a marja'), would insure Sharia was properly followed (wilayat al-faqih), before finally insisting the ruling jurist need not be a leading one and Sharia rule could be overruled by that jurist if necessary to serve the interests of Islam and the "divine government" of the Islamic state.
Khomeini's concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (ولایت فقیه, velayat-e faqih) did not win the support of the leading Iranian Shi'i clergy of the time. Towards the 1979 Revolution, many clerics gradually became disillusioned with the rule of the Shah, although none came around to supporting Khomeini's vision of a theocratic Islamic Republic.
There is much debate to as whether Khomeini's ideas are or are not compatible with democracy and whether he intended the Islamic Republic to be a democratic republic. According to the state-run Aftab News, both ultraconservative (Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi
) and reformist opponents of the regime (Akbar Ganji
and Abdolkarim Soroush
) believe he did not, while regime officials and supporters like Ali Khamenei, Mohammad Khatami
and Mortaza Motahhari believe Khomeini intended the Islamic republic
to be democratic and that it is so. Khomeini himself also made statements at different times indicating both support and opposition to democracy.
One scholar, Shaul Bakhash
, explains this disagreement as coming from Khomeini's belief that the huge turnout of Iranians in anti-Shah demonstrations during the revolution constituted a 'referendum' in favor of an Islamic republic. Khomeini also wrote that since Muslims must support a government based on Islamic law, Sharia-based government will always have more popular support in Muslim countries than any government based on elected representatives.
Khomeini offered himself as a "champion of Islamic revival" and unity, emphasizing issues Muslims agreed upon – the fight against Zionism and imperialism – and downplaying Shia issues that would divide Shia from Sunni.
Khomeini strongly opposed close relations with either Eastern
or Western Bloc
nations, believing the Islamic world should be its own bloc, or rather converge into a single unified power. He viewed Western culture as being inherently decadent and a corrupting influence upon the youth. The Islamic Republic banned or discouraged popular Western fashions, music, cinema, and literature. In the Western world it is said "his glowering visage became the virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture" and "inculcated fear and distrust towards Islam," making the word 'Ayatollah' "a synonym for a dangerous madman ... in popular parlance." This has particularly been the case in the United States where some Iranians complained that even at universities they felt the need to hide their Iranian identity for fear of physical attack. There Khomeini and the Islamic Republic are remembered for the American embassy hostage taking
and accused of sponsoring hostage-taking and terrorist attacks, and which continues to apply economic sanctions against Iran
Before taking power Khomeini expressed support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
. "We would like to act according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We would like to be free. We would like independence." However once in power Khomeini took a firm line against dissent, warning opponents of theocracy for example: "I repeat for the last time: abstain from holding meetings, from blathering, from publishing protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth."
Many of Khomeini's political and religious ideas were considered to be progressive and reformist by leftist intellectuals and activists prior to the Revolution. However, once in power his ideas often clashed with those of modernist or secular Iranian intellectuals. This conflict came to a head during the writing of the Islamic constitution when many newspapers were closed by the government. Khomeini angrily told the intellectuals:
Yes, we are reactionariesReactionaryThe term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...
, and you are enlightenedAge of EnlightenmentThe Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...
intellectuals: You intellectuals do not want us to go back 1400 years. You, who want freedomFreedom (political)Political freedom is a central philosophy in Western history and political thought, and one of the most important features of democratic societies...
, freedom for everything, the freedom of parties, you who want all the freedoms, you intellectuals: freedom that will corrupt our youth, freedom that will pave the way for the oppressor, freedom that will drag our nation to the bottom.
In contrast to his alienation from Iranian intellectuals, and "in an utter departure from all other Islamist movements," Khomeini embraced international revolution and Third World
solidarity, giving it "precedence over Muslim fraternity. From the time Khomeini's supporters gained control of the media until his death, the Iranian media "devoted extensive coverage to non-Muslim revolutionary movements (from the Sandinistas to the African National Congress
and the Irish Republican Army
) and downplayed the role of the Islamic movements considered conservative, such as the Afghan mujahidin."
Khomeini's legacy to the economy of the Islamic Republic has been concern for the mustazafin, but not always results. During the 1990s the mustazafin and disabled war veterans rioted on several occasions, protesting the demolition of their shantytowns and rising food prices, etc. Khomeini's disdain for the science of economics ("economics is for donkeys") is said to have been "mirrored" by the populist redistribution policies of Iran's current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who allegedly wears "his contempt for economic orthodoxy as a badge of honour", and has overseen sluggish growth and rising inflation and unemployment.
In 1963, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini wrote a book in which he stated that there is no religious restriction on corrective surgery for transgendered individuals
. At the time Khomeini was a radical, anti-Shah revolutionary and his fatwas did not carry any weight with the Imperial government, which did not have any specific policies regarding transsexual individuals.
Appearance and habitsKhomeini was described as "slim," but athletic and "heavily boned." He was known for his punctuality:
He's so punctual that if he doesn't turn up for lunch at exactly ten past everyone will get worried, because his work is regulated in such a way that he turned up for lunch at exactly that time every day. He goes to bed exactly on time. He eats exactly on time. And he wakes up exactly on time. He changes his cloak every time he comes back from the mosque.
Khomeini was also known for his aloofness and austere demeanor. He is said to have had "variously inspired admiration, awe, and fear from those around him." His practice of moving "through the halls of the madresehs never smiling at anybody or anything; his practice of ignoring his audience while he taught, contributed to his charisma."
Khomeini adhered to traditional beliefs of Islamic hygienical jurisprudence
holding that things like urine, excrement, blood, wine etc. and also non-Muslims were some of eleven ritualistically "impure" things that physical contact with which while wet required ritual washing or Ghusl
before prayer or salah. He is reported to have refused to eat or drink in a restaurant unless he knew for sure the waiter was a Muslim.
MystiqueKhomeini was noted by many for his mystique. Before the revolution he benefited from the widespread circulation of a Hadith
attributed to the Imam Musa al-Kazim who is said to have prophesied shortly before his death in 799 that
'A man will come out from QomQomQom is a city in Iran. It lies by road southwest of Tehran and is the capital of Qom Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 957,496, in 241,827 families. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River....
and he will summon people to the right path. There will rally to him people resembling pieces of iron, not to be shaken by violent winds, unsparing and relying on God.'
Khomeini was the first and only Iranian cleric to be addressed as "Imam", a title hitherto reserved in Iran for the twelve infallible leaders
of the early Shi'a. He was also associated with the Mahdi
or 12th Imam of Shia belief in a number of ways. One of his titles was Na'eb-e Imam (Deputy to the Twelfth Imam). His enemies were often attacked as taghut
(corrupters of the earth), religious terms used for enemies of the Twelfth Imam. Many of the officials of the overthrown Shah's government executed by Revolutionary Courts were convicted of "fighting against the Twelfth Imam". When a deputy in the majlis
asked Khomeini if he was the 'promised Mahdi', Khomeini did not answer, "astutely" neither confirming nor denying the title.
Before the revolution, in late 1978, a rumour swept the country that Khomeini's face could be seen in the full moon.
Tears of joy were shed and huge quantities of sweets and fruits were consumed as millions of people jumped for joy, shouting 'I've seen the Imam in the moon.' The event was celebrated in thousands of mosques with mullahs reminding the faithful that a sure sign of the coming of the MahdiMahdiIn Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...
was that the sun would rise in the West. Khomeini, representing the sun, was now in France and his face was shining in the moon like a sun. People were ready to swear on the Qur'anQur'anThe Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...
that they had seen Khomeini's face in the moon. Even the Tudeh Party [the party of "Scientific SocialismScientific SocialismScientific socialism is the term used by Friedrich Engels to describe the social-political-economic theory first pioneered by Karl Marx. The purported reason why this socialism is "scientific socialism" is because its theories are held to an empirical standard, observations are essential to its...
"] shared in the [enthusiasm]. Its paper Navid wrote: 'Our toiling masses, fighting against world-devouring imperialismImperialismImperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...
headed by the blood-sucking United States, have seen the face of their beloved Imam and leader, Khomeini the Breaker of Idols, in the moon. A few pipsqueaks cannot deny what a whole nation has seen with its own eyes.'
As the revolution gained momentum, even some non-supporters exhibited awe, called him "magnificently clear-minded, single-minded and unswerving." His image was as "absolute, wise, and indispensable leader of the nation"
The Imam, it was generally believed, had shown by his uncanny sweep to power, that he knew how to act in ways which others could not begin to understand. His timing was extraordinary, and his insight into the motivation of others, those around him as well as his enemies, could not be explained as ordinary knowledge. This emergent belief in Khomeini as a divinely guided figure was carefully fostered by the clerics who supported him and spoke up for him in front of the people.
Even many secularists who firmly disapproved of his policies were said to feel the power of his "messianic" appeal. Comparing him to a father figure who retains the enduring loyalty even of children he disapproves of, journalist Afshin Molavi
writes of the defenses of Khomeini he's "heard in the most unlikely settings":
A whiskey-drinking professor told an American journalist that Khomeini brought pride back to Iranians. A women's rights activist told me that Khomeini was not the problem; it was his conservative allies who had directed him wrongly. A nationalist war veteran, who held Iran's ruling clerics in contempt, carried with him a picture of 'the Imam'.
Another journalist tells the story of listening to bitter criticism of the regime by an Iranian who tells her of his wish for his son to leave the country and who "repeatedly" makes the point "that life had been better" under the Shah, but after hearing that the 85+-year-old Imam might be dying, turns "ashen faced" and speechless, pronouncing 'this is terrible for my country.'
Family and descendants
, the 16 year old daughter of a cleric in Tehran
. By all accounts their marriage was harmonious and happy. She died in 2009. They had seven children, though only five survived infancy. His daughters all married into either merchant or clerical families, and both his sons entered into religious life. Mustafa, the elder son, died in 1977 while in exile in Najaf
with his father and was rumored by supporters of his father to have been murdered by SAVAK
. Ahmad Khomeini
, who died in 1995 at the age of 49, was also rumoured to be a victim of foul play, but at the hands of Islamic regime. Perhaps his "most prominent daughter", Zahra Mostafavi, is a professor at the University of Tehran, and still alive.
Of Khomeini's fifteen grandchildren the most notable include:
- Zahra EshraghiZahra EshraghiZahra Eshraghi is an Iranian feminist and human rights activist. She is the granddaughter of Ayatollah Khomeini, and wife of Mohammad Reza Khatami , former head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the main reformist party in Iran.Zahra Eshraghi wants the wearing of headscarves to no longer...
, granddaughter, married to Mohammad Reza KhatamiMohammad Reza KhatamiSeyyed Mohammad Reza Khatami is an Iranian politician and nephrologist.He was the first Secretary-General of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest Iranian reformist party. He is now a member of the central council of the party...
, head of the Islamic Iran Participation FrontIslamic Iran Participation FrontThe Islamic Iran Participation Front is a reformist political party in Iran...
, the main reformist party in the country, and is considered a pro-reform character herself.
- Hassan KhomeiniHassan KhomeiniSeyyed Hassan Khomeini is a "mid-ranking" Iranian cleric. He is the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, and son of the late Hojat-Ol Eslam Ahmad Khomeini...
, Khomeini's elder grandson Sayid Hasan Khomeini, son of the Seyyed Ahmad KhomeiniAhmad KhomeiniAhmad Khomeini , was the younger son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. His wife is Fatemeh Soltani Tabatabai, daughter of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Soltani Tabatabai Borujerdi and niece of Imam Musa Sadr, the Shī‘ah religious leader of Libanon.Ahmad Khomeini was close to his father, the leader...
, is a cleric and the trustee of the Mausoleum of KhomeiniMausoleum of KhomeiniThe Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini houses the tomb of Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini and Ahmad Khomeini, his second son who died in 1995. It is located to the south of Tehran in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. Construction commenced in 1989 following Khomeini's death on June 3 of that year...
and also has shown support for the reform movement in Iran, and Mir-Hossein MousaviMir-Hossein MousaviMir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh is an Iranian reformist politician, artist and architect who served as the seventy-ninth and last Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989. He was a Reformist candidate for the 2009 presidential election and eventually the leader of the opposition in the post-election...
's call to cancel2009 Iranian election protestsProtests following the 2009 Iranian presidential election against the disputed victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and in support of opposition candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi occurred in major cities in Iran and around the world starting June 13, 2009...
the 2009 election results.
- Husain Khomeini, (Sayid Husain Khomeini) Khomeini's other grandson, son of Sayid Mustafa Khomeini, is a mid-level cleric who is strongly against the system of the Islamic RepublicIslamic republicIslamic republic is the name given to several states in the Muslim world including the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania. Pakistan adopted the title under the constitution of 1956. Mauritania adopted it on 28 November 1958. Iran adopted it after the 1979 Iranian...
. In 2003 he was quoted as saying:
Iranians need freedom now, and if they can only achieve it with American interference I think they would welcome it. As an Iranian, I would welcome it.
- In that same year Husain Khomeini visited the United States, where he met figures such as Reza Pahlavi II, the son of the last Shah. Later that year, Husain returned to Iran after receiving an urgent message from his grandmother. According to Michael LedeenMichael LedeenMichael Arthur Ledeen is an American specialist on foreign policy. His research areas have included state sponsors of terrorism, Iran, the Middle East, Europe , U.S.-China relations, intelligence, and Africa and is a leading neoconservative...
, quoting "family sources", he was blackmailed into returning. In 2006, he called for an American invasion and overthrow of the Islamic Republic, telling Al-Arabiyah television station viewers, "If you were a prisoner, what would you do? I want someone to break the prison [doors open].".
- Another of Khomeini's grandchildren, Ali Eshraghi, was disqualified from the 2008 parliamentary elections on grounds of being insufficiently loyal to the principles of the Islamic revolution, but later reinstated.
WorksKhomeini was a prolific writer (200 of his books are online) who authored commentaries
on the Qur'an
, on Islamic jurisprudence
, the roots of Islamic law
, and Islamic traditions
. He also released books about philosophy
, poetry, literature
, government and politics. Some of his books:
- Hokumat-e Islami: Velayat-e faqih (Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist)
- Forty Hadith (Forty Traditions)
- Adab as Salat (The Disciplines of Prayers)
- Jihade Akbar (The Greater Struggle)
- List of Islamic studies scholars
- Family tree of Ruhollah Khomeini
- Islamic fundamentalism in Iran
- Islam and RevolutionIslam and RevolutionIslam and Revolution is a two volume set of writings by Ayatollah/Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, which contain a collection of his speeches and writings.- Islam and Revolution I: Writings and Declarations :...
- Imam Khomeini's website in English
- Imam Khomeiny - Part I Part II Part III (Free PressTV documentary)
- Documentary about the life of Ruhollah Khomeini
- Documentary: The man who changed the world
- Documentary: I knew Khomeini
- Syed Ruhollah al-Moosavi al-Khomeini — Islamic Government (Hukumat-i Islami)
- Syed Ruhollah al-Moosavi al-Khomeini — The Last Will...
- Extracted from speeches of Ayatollah Rouhollah Moosavi Khomeini
- Books by and or about Rouhollah Khomeini
- http://www.kayhannews.ir/851020/12.htmFamous letter of Ayatollah Khomeini to Mikhail GorbachevMikhail GorbachevMikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...
, dated 1 January 1989]. KayhanKayhanKayhan is an influential newspaper in Iran. Directly under the supervision of the Office of the Supreme Leader, it is regarded to be "the most conservative Iranian newspaper."...