Imam Khomeini's Objection to Capitulation Bill and his disclosuring the regime's plans
The series of so-called"reform"
measures which were promulgated by the Shah on January 26, 1963 (Bahman 6, 1341 AHS) in compliance with the orders of the Americans (in the framework of Kennedy"s "Alliance for Progress" plan) and were collectively designated the "White Revolution," were not only ineffective, but also in many ways destroyed the economic basis of the country. At the same time, the movement which began under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (upon whom be peace) alarmed America who realized that this movement would lead to continuous, bloody revolution against the United States and its protégé, the regime in Iran.
These two facts prompted the US administration"s decision to revive the Capitulation Bill and establish "consular judicial rights"
in Iran so that US personnel could, with peace of mind, directly protect the Shah"s throne and their interests in this part of the world. The proposal was first submitted by the Americans in March 1962 (Esfand 1340 AHS) before the Shah"s reform program was implemented. However, for some reasons it was not seriously followed up until after the bloody uprising of Khordad 15 (June 5, 1963). The culmination of Imam Khomeini"s movement and reports from American analysts, showing that the Shah"s regime was unable to suppress the movement and attract the support of the masses, motivated the renewed proposal of this plan and placed the regime under immense pressure to accept it.
OnOctober 5, 1963 (Mehr 13, 1342 AHS) the bill granting capitulatory rights to US military advisers and other US citizens in Iran was passed by the cabinet ofAmir Asadollah Alam
. In August 1964 (Mordad 1343 AHS), it went to the Iranian Senate where it likewise received the sanction of the Senators there.Hasan Ali Mansuor
, who became Prime Minister
after Alam, took the above-mentioned bill onOctober 13, 1964 (Mehr 21, 1343 AHS) to the Parliament where representatives agreed to the measure. The text of the bill was as follows:
A single article - According to government bill numbers 18-2291-2157-25-11-1342 and their appendixes which were presented to the Senate on February 10, 1964 (Bahman 21, 1342), permission has been given to the government to grant immunities and privileges to the head and personnel of the US military advisory bodies and civil servants who in accordance with related agreements are currently employed by the Imperial government. This, in compliance with paragraph 6 of the first article of the Vienna Convention which was signed onApril 18, 1961 (Farvardin 29, 1339).
The approval of the Capitulation Bill by the Senate and the Parliament was never really made public. The media, under government censorship, refrained from divulging it. A short time later, an internal parliamentary publication containing the full text of speeches and discussions by members of Parliament and the Prime Minister on this matter reached Imam Khomeini, disturbing and upsetting him. The news of Imam"s distress gradually spread. Many people went toQom to discover the reason for his concern.
In order to divulge the treachery
committed by the Shah and his lackeys againstIran and the Islamic society, Imam Khomeini decided that through a vehement discourse and a trenchant declaration he would call the people to protest against the bill and oppose the machinations of the Shah and the United States. Imam"s overt struggle against Mohammad Reza Shah regime began in 1960 (1341) with his opposition to theProvincial and District CouncilsBill
which essentially sought the eradication of Islam. With its approval by the government of the time, the Islamic stipulations concerning voters and candidates were dropped and the pledge of allegiance was changed from swearing on"the Holy Qur"an"
to swearing on"the Holy Book"
.In 1941 (1322), in what is considered to be Imam Khomeini"s first public political statement
, Imam wrote and published a book entitledKashfol-Asrar
in which he revealed the crimes of the 20-year monarchy of Reza Shah. The book is essentially a detailed, systematic critique of an anti-religious tract, and in defending Islam and spirituality, Imam refutes the deviatory sophisms employed by the author. It is in this book that the idea of an Islamic government, and the need for an uprising to establish this, is propounded.Imam rose up in opposition to the bill and invited the other maraje", the theological schools and the people to rise up with him. Initially, Imam sent messengers to cities near and far to inform theclergymen of the plot and he himself spoke with the clerics of Qom and deliberated on the consequences of the tragedy with them. When suitable grounds for the speech were prepared, October 26 (Aban 4) was chosen as the day for its delivery.
The Shah"s regime knew that resorting to force would not only be inexpedient but it would also make Imam more determined to deliver his speech. So they sought another way. They sent one of their men, who apparently had nothing to do with the regime and appeared to be a nationalist, toQom to see the head of the movement in an attempt to prevent Imam from attacking American imperialism and creating anti-American sentiments in the religious environment of Iran. Although earnest in his efforts, this man could only succeed in meeting with Imam"s son,martyr Hajj Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini
. In this meeting, he maintained that any attack on America by Imam Khomeini "would be more dangerous than attacking the first person of the country" and he recommended that "in these times, if Ayatollah Khomeini wishes to deliver a speech, he should be very careful not to cross swords with the American government, for to do so would be very dangerous and would effect a very sharp and strong reaction from them; whatever else he says - even if he attacks the Shah himself - is of no importance!"
Martyr Hajj Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini
The Shah's sensitivity was not without reason given his dependence on the White House. At the time,America was embroiled in the Vietnam crisis and presidential elections (November 3, 1964; Aban 12, 1343) for determining the late Kennedy"s successor were near. In his impassioned speech, Imam Khomeini, aware of this weakness of the regime, was to direct his attack fully at America and denounce and criticize theUS in the strongest tone.
October 26, 1964 (Aban 4 1343), the birthday of the anniversary of Lady Fatima"s
and the birthday of Imam Khomeini himself, arrived. A deluge of people swept into Qom from all over the country to listen to Imam's speech. Imam's residence (situated in the Yakhchal Qazi district of Qom), the alleyways around it and the pomegranate orchard which was adjacent to Imam's house were full of people.
Numerous loudspeakers had been installed in the area. At 8.30 am Imam Khomeini appeared. A man of attractive and well-groomed appearance, his frowning face was ablaze with anger and his eyes red from tiredness and sleeplessness. He began his speech in the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful and with the holy verse from the Quran:"We are from God and to Him is our return." Each sentence of Imam's alone had the quality of an epic. The crowd became emotional; the air thrilled with their shouts and tears, and each tear shed nurtured the seeds of revolution which took root and fourteen years later blossomed into victory. As he spoke his voice rose: "Gentlemen, I warn you of danger! Iranian army, I warn you of danger! Iranian politicians, I warn you of danger! Iranian merchants, I warn you of danger! Ulama of Iran,maraji of Islam, I warn you of danger! Scholars, religious students! Centers of religious learning, Najaf, Qom, Mashhad, Tehran, Shiraz! I warn you of danger!..... If our country is under American occupation then tell us.... All our troubles today are caused by this America. All our troubles today are caused by this Israel. Israel itself derives from America."
At the end of his epic speech, Imam Khomeini deprecated the approval of the bill by the representatives in the two houses of the Parliament: "The representatives in the Senate are traitors
; all those in the lower house of the Parliament who voted in favor of this bill havebetrayed this country
. They are not our representatives. The whole world must know that they are not the representatives ofIran! Or, suppose they are, now I dismiss them. They are dismissed from their posts as representatives." These sentences reflect Imam"s views on the authority of thevali-faqih (the ruling faqih).
This passionate, revolutionary discourse was, until that day, without precedent in the history of the movement, and it shook not only the foundations of the Shah"s despotic rule but also the White House inWashington. In this speech, Imam Khomeini made clear his categorical and uncompromising stance against Eastern and Western blocks and confirmed the"No East, No West" policy
which he adhered to until the end of his life. He illustrated his position vis-à-vis imperialist governments in this way:"America is worse than Britain, Britain is worse than America and the Soviet Union is worse than both of them. Each one is worse than the other; each one is more abominable than the other. But today we are concerned with this malicious entity which is America. Let the American President know that in the eyes of the Iranian nation, he is the most repulsive member of the human race today because of the injustice he has imposed on our Muslim nation."
It was in this speech that Imam also determined the aims and goals of the clerics and gave invaluable and substantial guidance to contemporary and future generations
. Imam introduced the principle of struggle withAmerica - America which is the real reason for the misfortune of the Iranian nation and other nations - as an intrinsic aspect of the fundaments of the new period of the Iranian nation"s struggle; the people of the world witnessed that up until his death he stood firmly by this principle.
In addition to this historic speech, Imam Khomeini issued adeclaration
which revealed more fully the regime"s treachery. The declaration, which was issued onOctober 26, 1964 (Aban 4, 1343) and in which the problem of changing the pledge of allegiance in the army was referred to, was published in large numbers and in a short time was distributed in all the cities. More than 40,000 copies were distributed inTehran alone in less than ten minutes by 500 youths from the bazaar and universities. The speed and manner in which they were distributed alarmed SAVAK, but they were unable to do anything about it. The declarations aroused public opinion and this along with the rising discontent of the people with the Shah"s rule frightened the regime. It realized that with the existence of a vigilant leader in Iran like Imam Khomeini the implementation of the Shah"s so-called "reform" measures was not only impossible but the very foundations of the Shah"s regime were in danger of being destroyed. Therefore, it decided to free itself of this peril by arresting Imam and sending him into exile.
Following Imam"s warnings to the government in the form of telegrams to the prime minister of the time, along with his revelatory speeches and trenchant declarations and coupled with the support given by the maraje" as well as the widespread demonstrations of the people in Qom, Tehran and other cities,the Shah's regime was forced to retreat from its stance and rescind the bill
. The struggle continued, and the regime, in a precipitous move onMarch 22, 1963 (Farvardin 2, 1342) attacked theFeyziyeh Seminary
inQom. Imam"s messages and speeches on this tragic incident were distributed throughoutIran, and on the afternoon of Ashura 1383 AS (June 3, 1963 / Khordad 13, 1342), in a hard-hittingspeech
, he revealed the secret relations, the agreements and the friendship existing between theShah and Israel
. Subsequently, at 3 am in the morning of June 5 (Khordad 15), Imam"s home was surrounded by commandos and as dawn broke, the Leader of the Revolution was arrested and taken to Tehran.
The response of the people was immediate. As news of Imam"s arrest broke around the country, the people took to the streets in the early hours of June 5 and staged protest demonstrations. The largest of these took place in the city of Qom, and as soldiers intervened, large numbers of people were martyred. With the announcement of martial law in Tehran, the suppression of the people"s demonstrations on that and the following day reached new heights with the resultant deaths of thousands of innocent people.
The tragedy of June 5 was so great that news of it spread across the borders. The pressure of public opinion and the protests of the clerics and people from different areas within the country and outside it eventually forced the regime to free Imam after a ten-month period of imprisonment and house arrest.
The Shah's regime saw the solution to their problem to lie in the expulsion of Imam
. At dawn on November 4, 1964 (Aban 13, 1343 AHS), Imam's home was once again surrounded by hundreds of commandos and paratroopers. Imam was arrested by the regime"s agents and taken straight to Mehrabad Airport in Tehran from where, according to previously arranged agreements, he was sent first to Ankara and then into exile in Bursa, a city in the west of Turkey.
On the morning of the same day, the eldest son of Imam, the martyr Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini, was arrested and taken to the Qazil-Qal`a Prison. An official statement from the country's State Security and Intelligence Organization (SAVAK) was broadcast on the radio and published by the press.
The text of the announcement was as follows:"Because Mr. Khomeini's behavior and his instigations were seen as being a threat to the nation and the security and independence of the country, and based on reliable information, sufficient reasons and evidence, he was sent into exile onNovember 4, 1964 (Aban 13, 1343)."
On hearing the news of the illegal expulsion of their leader, the great, self-sacrificing nation ofIran took to the streets in a show of protest, and the bazaars in Tehran, Qom and many other Iranian cities closed. The arrest and expulsion of Imam Khomeini effected a strong reaction from the clerics. The lessons of the religious schools and the daily congregational prayer ceremonies in Qom, Mashhad and Tehran and many other cities were suspended for between fifteen to thirty days. The Iranian`ulama proclaimed their support for Imam and his goals through telegrams and declarations. The Shah"s regime tried, through a Machiavellian maneuver, to mitigate the anger of the people. Thus, after spending fifty-seven days in the Qazil-Qal`a prison, Ayatollah Hajj Mustafa Khomeini was freed and allowed to return to Qom. However, at 2 pm on the afternoon of January 3, 1965 (Day 13, 1343 AHS), the head of SAVAK in Qom, along with a number of his agents, attacked Imam Khomeini"s house and after re-arresting Hajj Mustafa sent him to Tehran and then from there into exile in Turkey.
On hearing the news of the illegal expulsion of their leader, the great nation ofIran took to the streets in a show of protest.
After the forced expulsion of Imam Khomeini and his son toTurkey, some enlightened clerics began to divulge the facts. Consequently, many of them were arrested for their efforts, put on trial in the Shah"s puppet court and sentenced to various prison terms. Eventually, the pure heart of the valiantmartyr Muhammad Bokhara"i
was set aflame by the anger of the gallant Muslim people ofIran. On Thursday January 21, 1965 (Bahman 1, 1343), in front of the Parliament building, Bokhara"i, this self-sacrificing soldier of Islam, with his fiery bullet ended the life of Hasan Ali Mansour, the Prime Minister who had taken the Capitulation Bill to the Parliament and had it approved.
Period in Exile
Imam"s stay inTurkey lasted for eleven months, and during this time, the Shah"s regime, through the use of unprecedented draconian measures, broke what remained of the resistance in Iran. Imam"s compulsory stay inTurkey, gave him an invaluable opportunity to compile his great workTahrir al-Wasila
. In this book, which is in fact his practical treatise (resalah), for the first time in that period, opinions governingholy war
(jihad), defense, enjoining good and forbidding that which is wrong, and current problems were presented.
OnOctober 5, 1965 (Mehr 13, 1344 AHS), Imam, accompanied by his son Hajj Aqa Mostafa, leftTurkey for hissecond place of exile:Iraq
. There, he took up residence in the city ofNajaf. In addition to his engagement in the teaching of courses in advanced studies of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and presenting the theoretical bases of Islamic rule, which were later published in a book entitled Velayat-e Faqih
(the Government of the Islamic Jurisprudent), and despite the existing difficulties, Imam assiduously monitored the political affairs of Iran and the world of Islam whilst in Najaf and maintained contact in various ways with the Iranian revolutionaries, the families of those martyred in the uprising of June 5 (Khordad 15 AHS) and political prisoners. Imam"s presence inIraq presented the opportunity for the establishment of amore direct and improved connection
with the believers and the Muslim students abroad than had existed in the past; and this very factor played a significant role in propagating Imam"s ideas and the objectives of the struggle throughout the world.
With regard to the Arab-Israeli wars and the acts of aggression perpetrated by the Zionist regime, Imam put a great deal of effort intosupporting the Palestinian Muslims" uprising
and backing other front-line countries. Numerous meetings were held with the heads of militant Palestinian organizations; envoys were sent to Lebanon; and an important and historic religious decree (fatwa) was issued in which he declared it a religious duty to give military and economic support to the Palestinian uprising and those countries subject to invasion. These were just some of the actions that, for the first time, were taken by one of the world"s prominent Shi"a maraje".
Imam's informative speeches and inspiring messages concerning the problems with Iran at a time when the Shah was at the peak of his power and was busy settingcelebrations for 2,500 years of monarchical rule in motion and establishing a one-party system through the formation of the Rastakhiz Party, kept the flames of struggle burning. Imam"s words of encouragement at this time were like balm to the wounds and iron to the resolve of the combatants who were undergoing barbaric forms of torture in Savakis dark, dank dungeons and were condemned to long periods of imprisonment.