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  • Date :
  • 1/24/2008

Return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran

Imam khomeini

Religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini has made a triumphant return to Iran after 14 years in exile.

Up to five million people lined the streets of the nation's capital, Tehran, to witness the homecoming of the Shia Muslim imam.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, 78, was imprisoned by the Shah in 1963 for his opposition to reforms and was expelled the following year, to Iraq - via Turkey.

He spent the last few months of his exile in France, near Paris, from where he co-ordinated the revolution in January that forced the Shah of Iran to go into hiding.

The Ayatollah - a title meaning Gift of God - emerged from his chartered plane looking tired and tearful to meet the 1,500 religious and political leaders allowed to meet him in the terminal building.

A force of 50,000 police quickly lost control of the crowds outside the airport clamouring to catch a glimpse of the man who has been their spiritual inspiration.

Hands raised in greeting and appreciation, Ayatollah Khomeini made slow progress as his blue and white Chevrolet forced its way through a mass of people.

The cavalcade did not stop in Tehran itself but made the 12 mile journey south to the Cemetery of Martyrs where Mr. Khomeini addressed 250,000 supporters.

He was openly belligerent towards the current government of Prime Minister Shapoor Bakhtiar.

"These people are trying to bring back the regime of the late Shah or another regime. I will strike with my fists at the mouths of this government. From now on it is I who will name the government," he claimed.

Dr Bakhtiar responded by saying: "Don't worry about this kind of speech. That is Khomeini. He is free to speak but he is not free to act."

The government has tried to re-assert its authority by cutting TV pictures of Mr. Khomeini's progress and holding a military parade through Tehran this evening.

 Ayatollah KhomeiniI: will strike with my fists at the mouths of this government .

***

 On the airplane on his way to Iran Khomeini was asked by reporter Peter Jennings: "What do you feel in returning to Iran?" Khomeini answered "Hich ehsâsi nadâram" (I don't feel a thing). This statement is often referred to by those who oppose Khomeini as demonstrating the ruthlessness and heartlessness of Khomeini. His supporters, however, attribute this comment as demonstrating the mystic aspiration and selflessness of Khomeini's revolution.

Imam khomeini

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