Ruhollah Khomeini

Ayatollah Khomeini founded the first modern Islamic republic

Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini (آیت‌الله روح‌الله خمینی in Persian) (May 17, 1900 – June 3, 1989) was an Iranian Shi'a Muslim cleric, and the political and spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. Khomeini was considered a spiritual leader to many Shi'a Muslims, and ruled Iran from the Shah's overthrow to Khomeini's own death in 1989. In Iran, he is officially addressed as Imam rather than Ayatollah, and his supporters also adhere to this convention. Khomeini is considered by many as one of the most influential men of the 20th century, and was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1979.

Life in exile

He was born in the town of Khomein as Ruhollah Mousavi (روح‌الله موسوی in Persian) in 1900. As a descendent of the prophet Muhammad, he was entitled to use the style Sayyid before his name. Khomeini was named an ayatollah in the 1950s. In 1964 he was exiled from Iran for his constant criticisms of the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He was sent initially to Turkey, before later being allowed to move to Iraq, where he stayed until being forced to leave in 1978, after which he went to Neauphle-le-Château in France. According to Alexandre de Marenches (then head of the French secret services), France suggested to the Shah that they could "arrange for Khomeini to have a lethal accident"; the Shah declined the assassination offer, arguing that this would make him a martyr. After the murder of Ali Shariati, a prominent revolutionary philosopher, Khomeini became one of the most influential opponents to the rule of the Shah, being perceived as the spiritual leader of those fighting his rule. During his exile, Khomeini wrote a book titled Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, which laid out his beliefs as such: that all laws in an Islamic society should be based on the laws of Islam, all laws and activities should be monitored by clerical authorities on Islamic law (guardians), there should be no monarch (that Islamic countries should become republics and not monarchies). Khomeini believed that the leader of an Islamic Republic should be a Faqih (Islamic Jurist), who should be selected by a group of clerics. This Faqih would have absolute authority, and could only be removed from power by that very same group of clerics. Though the public cannot vote for the Faqih, according to the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a group of clerics called the Assembly of Experts is voted in by the citizens of Iran every eight years, and they select the Faqih. The leader of Iran is usually addressed as the “Supreme Leader.” The book provides an insight on the eventual political background of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khomeini replaced the Shah's government with a religious system dominated by the clergy.

Return to Iran

Only two weeks after the Shah left Iran on January 16, Khomeini returned to Iran, on Thursday, February 1, 1979, invited by the anti-Shah revolution which was already in progress. Western media sources estimated that up to six million revolutionaries welcomed him. Khomeini declared a provisional government, with Mehdi Bazargan as its prime minister, on February 11. On March 30 and 31, 1979, the provisional government asked all Iranians sixteen years of age and older to vote in a referendum on the question of accepting an Islamic Republic as the new form of government. Over 98% voted in favour of replacing the monarchy with an Islamic republic. Subsequent elections were held to approve of the newly-drafted constitution. Along with the position of the Supreme Leader, the constitution also requires that a president be elected every four years, but only those candidates approved indirectly by the Council of Guardians may run for the office. Khomeini himself became Supreme Leader for life, as "Leader of the Revolution". On February 4, 1980 Abolhassan Banisadr was elected as the first president of Iran.

Hostage crisis

On November 4, 1979 a group of students, all of whom were ardent followers of Khomeini, raided the United States embassy in Tehran, and took as hostage 63 American citizens. Three additional hostages were taken at the Iranian Foreign Ministry. Thirteen of the 66 hostages were released within two weeks, and one more in July 1980. The remaining fifty men and two women were held for 444 days — an event usually referred to as the Iran hostage crisis. The hostage-takers justified this violation of long-established international law as a reaction to the American refusal to hand over the Shah for trial. Supporters of Khomeini named the embassy a “Spy Den”, and fifty volumes of official and secret documents were gathered from it. Khomeini stated on February 23, 1980 that Iran's Parliament would decide the fate of the American embassy hostages, demanding that the United States hand over the Shah for trial in Iran. President Jimmy Carter launched a commando mission to rescue the hostages, but the attempt was thwarted when the helicopters failed under unexpected desert conditions in Tabas. Some Iranians considered this to be a miracle. Many commentators point to this failure as a major cause for Carter's loss in the following elections to Ronald Reagan. See also October Surprise.

Iran-Iraq war

Shortly after taking power, Khomeini began calling for similar Islamic revolutions across the Middle East. Led by Saddam Hussein, the secular republic of Iraq, ambitious to occupy its oil-rich neighbor (particularly Khuzestan province) and believing Iran to be weakened and in a state of turmoil, invaded Iran, starting what would become the decade-long Iran-Iraq war. The Iraqi invasion of Iran, supported by the United States to contain the ideological spread of Islamic revolution in the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, ironically enhanced Khomeini's stature and allowed him to consolidate and stabilize his leadership. During the war, the people of Iran rallied around Khomeini and his regime, and his personal popularity and power became unmatched, as Khomeini urged Iranians to fight for their country and religion, against secular Iraq.

Life under Khomeini

Under Khomeini's rule, Islamic law was instituted, with the Islamic dress code being strictly enforced for both men and women. While freedom of speech and freedom of the press continued to be just as curtailed as it was under the Shah, the oppression by the "morality police" made life extremely difficult for those opposed to the veil (hijab). Khomeini became the center of a large personality cult, and opposition to the religious rule of the clergy or Islam in general was often met with harsh punishments. In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution, there were many allegations of systematic human rights abuses, including mass executions, and torture.

In early 1989, Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Salman Rushdie, claiming that Rushdie's murder was a religious duty for Muslims, because of Rushdie's alleged blasphemy against Muhammad. The Satanic Verses, Rushdie's novel which examines the integration of Indian characters into modern Western culture, implies that the Qur'an was not properly preserved. Rushdie's book contains passages that some Muslims – including Ayatollah Khomeini – considered offensive to Islam and Muhammad. The issuance of the fatwa caused many Westerners, particularly those on the left who had generally been in favor of the Revolution against the Shah, to reconsider their support of Khomeini.

Death and funeral

After eleven days in a hospital for an operation to stop internal bleeding, Khomeini died on Saturday, June 3, 1989. During the funeral, Tehran fell into chaos, requiring cancellation of the funeral, and new plans for a second funeral. Khomeini's first funeral was aborted by Iranian officials, after a large mob stormed the funeral procession, nearly destroying Khomeini's wooden coffin in order to get a glimpse of his body. At one point, Khomeini's body actually fell to the ground, as the crowd attempted to grab pieces of the shroud. Over ten thousand people were said to have been injured.

The second funeral was held under much tighter security. Khomeini's casket was made of steel, and it was surrounded by heavily armed security personnel. It was said that a crowd of more than nine million supporters of Khomeini gathered around the burial location, which itself was not supposed to have been revealed at the time.

Political thought and legacy

Although considered a fundamentalist by the western countries, most Iranians believe that among Shia clerics, Khomeini was actually one of the reformists of his time. He made many reforms to the shia clerical ahkaam which were revolutionary in their own time, and many Iranian clerics were against him on those cases. His most famous fatwas are the ones allowing Muslims to play chess, allowing the Iranian Muslim TV to show women without hijaab, and allowing gender-change surgeries in hospitals (Iran has now become the only country in the region with the technology). It is even said that Khomeini was personally against the hijaab being compulsory in Iran, and it was done under the pressure of hard-liner pressure groups, some years after the 1979 revolution.

Throughout his many writings and speeches, Khomeini consistently promoted his vision of a technocratic Islamic society, guided by the morality and ethics of the clergy. He believed in a free market economy, with respect for private ownership, and that businesses and corporations should be encouraged to contribute to religious charitable foundations which would benefit the poor. He advised against allowing wealthy individuals to participate in the government, and that politicians should follow his example and live a modest, frugal lifestyle, devoid of elitism and excess.

He was strongly against close relations with Western and East bloc nations, and believed that Iran should strive towards self-reliance. He viewed certain elements of Western culture as being inherently evil, and a corrupting influence upon the youth. As such, he often advocated the banning of popular Western fashions, music, cinema, and literature. His ultimate vision was for Islamic nations to converge together into a single unified power, in order to avoid alignment with either side (the West or the East), and he believed that this would happen at some point in the near future.

Khomeini's ideas did not originally find favor amongst the orthodox Iranian Shi'a clergy of the time, most of whom did not oppose the monarchy. While such clerics generally adhered to widely-accepted conservative theological schools of thought, Khomeini believed that interpretations should change and evolve, even if such changes were to radically differ from tradition, and that a cleric should be moved by divinely inspired guidance. In contrast with clerical mores of the day, he led an ascetic lifestyle, being deeply interested in Sufism, and was against the accumulation of land and wealth by the clergy (despite the fact that land reform had been a major cause of the mullahs' anger against the Shah). Towards the 1979 Revolution, many clerics gradually became disillusioned with the rule of the Shah, and began supporting Khomeini's vision of an Islamic Republic.

While Khomeini had never been a major figure amongst leftist intellectuals and activists prior to the Revolution, many of his political and religious ideas were considered by them to be progressive and reformist. However, they did not support many of his other views which conflicted with their own, in particular those that dealt with issues of secularism, women's rights, freedom of religion, and the concept of velayat-e-faqih (Guardianship of the Clergy).

Many of the democratic and social reforms that he had promised did not come to pass during his lifetime, and when faced with such criticism, Khomeini often stated that the Islamic Revolution would not be complete until Iran becomes a truly Islamic nation in every aspect, and that democracy and freedom would then come about "as a natural result of such a transformation". Khomeini's definition of democracy existed within an Islamic framework, his reasoning being that since Islam is the religion of the majority, anything that contradicted Islam would consequently be against democratic rule. His last will and testament largely focuses on this line of thought, encouraging both the general Iranian populace, the lower economic classes in particular, and the clergy to maintain their commitment to fulfilling Islamic revolutionary ideals.

Some centrist and reformist politicians, such as Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, have instituted or advocated policies which have led to conflicts with the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Judiciary, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. While the hard-line Iranians consider these policies as being opposed to Khomeini's principles, the reformers, especially Mohammad Khatami, claim that they are in exact accordance with Khomeini's style, referring to his constant warnings against extremism, and his views about freedom of speech.

These policies have been viewed by some as having alienated the lower economic classes, allowing wealthy elites to dominate the government, promoting closer relations with the West, and potentially disconnecting Khomeini from the future evolution of the Islamic Republic. Such factors played an important part in the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who adheres closely to Khomeini, in the 2005 presidential elections.

Family and descendants

In 1929, Khomeini married the daughter of a cleric in Tehran. 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. The elder son, Mostafa, died in 1977 while in exile with his father in Najaf, Iraq. Ahmad, the younger son, died in 1995, under mysterious circumstances.

Khomeini's granddaughter, Zahra Eshraghi, is married to Mohammad Reza Khatami, head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the main reformist party in the country, and is considered a pro-reform character herself.

Khomeini's grandson, Hossein, is a high-profile cleric, who is strongly against the system of the Islamic Republic. [1] After the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq, he relocated to the holy city of Karbala.


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[1] After the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq, he relocated to the holy city of Karbala. They sometimes referred to this in their letters as putting their letters "into the strong box.". Khomeini's grandson, Hossein, is a high-profile cleric, who is strongly against the system of the Islamic Republic. The record is incomplete, according to Martha Freeman, because Carson and Freeman destroyed some of their correspondence. Khomeini's granddaughter, Zahra Eshraghi, is married to Mohammad Reza Khatami, head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the main reformist party in the country, and is considered a pro-reform character herself. I want him to know what you mean to me. Ahmad, the younger son, died in 1995, under mysterious circumstances. And darling, I hope I made it clear in my little note that I was so glad you read him the letter--or parts of it.

The elder son, Mostafa, died in 1977 while in exile with his father in Najaf, Iraq. Carson spoke of Dorothy's sharing of their letters with her husband Stanley:. His daughters all married into either merchant or clerical families, and both his sons entered into religious life. Others have countered these claims, observing among other things that Dorothy Freeman was married. They had seven children, though only five survived infancy. And as for you, my dear one, there is not a single thing about you that I would change if I could! Once written, that seems an odd thing to say; I am trying to express my complete and overflowing happiness in the whole thing!. In 1929, Khomeini married the daughter of a cleric in Tehran. I do hope that for you, as they truly are for me, the memories of Wednesday are completely unclouded by any sense of disappointment, or of hopes unrealized.

Such factors played an important part in the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who adheres closely to Khomeini, in the 2005 presidential elections. Reality can so easily fall short of hopes and expectations, especially where they have been high. These policies have been viewed by some as having alienated the lower economic classes, allowing wealthy elites to dominate the government, promoting closer relations with the West, and potentially disconnecting Khomeini from the future evolution of the Islamic Republic. And let me say again how truly perfect it all was. While the hard-line Iranians consider these policies as being opposed to Khomeini's principles, the reformers, especially Mohammad Khatami, claim that they are in exact accordance with Khomeini's style, referring to his constant warnings against extremism, and his views about freedom of speech. You don't need to answer that, for I think I know. Some centrist and reformist politicians, such as Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, have instituted or advocated policies which have led to conflicts with the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Judiciary, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. And I wondered if perhaps, in the same sense, I stayed in West Bridgewater that night.

His last will and testament largely focuses on this line of thought, encouraging both the general Iranian populace, the lower economic classes in particular, and the clergy to maintain their commitment to fulfilling Islamic revolutionary ideals. ...As I told you, you were always with me when I wakened in the night--and I did often, not being a very good train sleeper--and always the sense of your presence, and of your sweet tenderness, and love was very real to me. Khomeini's definition of democracy existed within an Islamic framework, his reasoning being that since Islam is the religion of the majority, anything that contradicted Islam would consequently be against democratic rule. In their correspondence, Rachel addressed Dorothy as "darling" or "dearest", and the letters were replete with sentiments like the following, quoted from a letter dated 1 January 1954:. Many of the democratic and social reforms that he had promised did not come to pass during his lifetime, and when faced with such criticism, Khomeini often stated that the Islamic Revolution would not be complete until Iran becomes a truly Islamic nation in every aspect, and that democracy and freedom would then come about "as a natural result of such a transformation". The claim arises from correspondence between Carson and Freeman, since published by Dorothy Freeman's granddaughter Martha in the book Always Rachel: the letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964, an intimate portrait of a remarkable friendship. However, they did not support many of his other views which conflicted with their own, in particular those that dealt with issues of secularism, women's rights, freedom of religion, and the concept of velayat-e-faqih (Guardianship of the Clergy). In recent years, Rachel Carson has been adopted as a lesbian icon, based on the controversial claim that she carried on a long-term lesbian relationship with her friend Dorothy Freeman, spanning the final twelve years of her life.

While Khomeini had never been a major figure amongst leftist intellectuals and activists prior to the Revolution, many of his political and religious ideas were considered by them to be progressive and reformist. The National Academy of Sciences stated in 1965 that “in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable.” While Silent Spring remains a founding text for the contemporary environmental movement and an important work to this day, Carson has also been blamed for, in effect, reviving the malaria plague that had largely been wiped out in the Third World. Towards the 1979 Revolution, many clerics gradually became disillusioned with the rule of the Shah, and began supporting Khomeini's vision of an Islamic Republic. Supporters argue strongly for its use in selective environments. In contrast with clerical mores of the day, he led an ascetic lifestyle, being deeply interested in Sufism, and was against the accumulation of land and wealth by the clergy (despite the fact that land reform had been a major cause of the mullahs' anger against the Shah). The issue of DDT use is quite different in Third World counties, where it is frequently used to control malarial insects. While such clerics generally adhered to widely-accepted conservative theological schools of thought, Khomeini believed that interpretations should change and evolve, even if such changes were to radically differ from tradition, and that a cleric should be moved by divinely inspired guidance. The evidence in this proceeding supports the conclusion that there is a present need for the essential uses of DDT.” However, two months later, the head of the EPA, William Ruckelshaus, overturned Judge Sweeney's decision, saying that DDT was a “potential human carcinogen,” and banned its use.

Khomeini's ideas did not originally find favor amongst the orthodox Iranian Shi'a clergy of the time, most of whom did not oppose the monarchy. The uses of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife.. His ultimate vision was for Islamic nations to converge together into a single unified power, in order to avoid alignment with either side (the West or the East), and he believed that this would happen at some point in the near future. After seven months of testimony, EPA Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney determined, “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man.. As such, he often advocated the banning of popular Western fashions, music, cinema, and literature. In 1980 she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the USA. He viewed certain elements of Western culture as being inherently evil, and a corrupting influence upon the youth. She died on 14 April 1964 at the age of fifty-six.

He was strongly against close relations with Western and East bloc nations, and believed that Iran should strive towards self-reliance. However, she never did live to see the banning of DDT, an issue that she had fought so passionately for. He advised against allowing wealthy individuals to participate in the government, and that politicians should follow his example and live a modest, frugal lifestyle, devoid of elitism and excess. Her health had been steadily declining since she had been diagnosed with breast cancer halfway through the writing of “Silent Spring.” In one of her last public appearances, Carson testified before a Senate investigative committee. He believed in a free market economy, with respect for private ownership, and that businesses and corporations should be encouraged to contribute to religious charitable foundations which would benefit the poor. Carson received hundreds of speaking invitations, but was unable to accept the great majority of them. Throughout his many writings and speeches, Khomeini consistently promoted his vision of a technocratic Islamic society, guided by the morality and ethics of the clergy. Later that year she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received many other honors and awards, including the Audubon Medal and the Cullen Medal of the American Geographical Society.

It is even said that Khomeini was personally against the hijaab being compulsory in Iran, and it was done under the pressure of hard-liner pressure groups, some years after the 1979 revolution. Pesticide use became a major public issue, helped by Carson's April 1963 appearance on a CBS TV special with the soft-spoken Carson in debate with a chemical company spokesman. His most famous fatwas are the ones allowing Muslims to play chess, allowing the Iranian Muslim TV to show women without hijaab, and allowing gender-change surgeries in hospitals (Iran has now become the only country in the region with the technology). In their ugly campaign to reduce a brave scientist's protest to a matter of public relations, the chemical interests had only increased public awareness.” [1]. He made many reforms to the shia clerical ahkaam which were revolutionary in their own time, and many Iranian clerics were against him on those cases. As Time Magazine recalls, within a year or so of publication, "all but the most self-serving of Carson's attackers were backing rapidly toward safer ground. Although considered a fundamentalist by the western countries, most Iranians believe that among Shia clerics, Khomeini was actually one of the reformists of his time. Silent Spring was positively reviewed by many outside of the agricultural and chemical fields, and it became a runaway best seller both in the USA and overseas.

It was said that a crowd of more than nine million supporters of Khomeini gathered around the burial location, which itself was not supposed to have been revealed at the time. Houghton Mifflin was pressured to suppress the book, but did not succumb. Khomeini's casket was made of steel, and it was surrounded by heavily armed security personnel. These chemical companies called her unprofessional and even accused of her of being a communist. The second funeral was held under much tighter security. Scientists, chemical companies and other critics attacked the data and interpretation in the book, and some went further to attack Carson's scientific credentials. Over ten thousand people were said to have been injured. A huge counterattack was organized and led by Monsanto, Velsicol, American Cyanamid - indeed, the whole chemical industry - duly supported by the Agriculture Department as well as the more cautious in the media.

At one point, Khomeini's body actually fell to the ground, as the crowd attempted to grab pieces of the shroud. Carson was violently assailed by threats of lawsuits and derision, including suggestions that this meticulous scientist was a "hysterical woman" unqualified to write such a book. Khomeini's first funeral was aborted by Iranian officials, after a large mob stormed the funeral procession, nearly destroying Khomeini's wooden coffin in order to get a glimpse of his body. As Time Magazine recounted in 1999:. During the funeral, Tehran fell into chaos, requiring cancellation of the funeral, and new plans for a second funeral. Even before Silent Spring was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, there was strong opposition to it. After eleven days in a hospital for an operation to stop internal bleeding, Khomeini died on Saturday, June 3, 1989. Silent Spring became a detailed chronicle of the association between wildlife mortality and over-use of pesticides like dieldrin, toxaphene, heptachlor, and DDT, but it was no mere dry recital of the facts and figures: Carson's writing was as lyrical and evocative as it was precise.

The issuance of the fatwa caused many Westerners, particularly those on the left who had generally been in favor of the Revolution against the Shah, to reconsider their support of Khomeini. Now, as a renowned scientist, she was able to ask for (and receive) the aid of prominent biologists, chemists, pathologists, and entomologists. Rushdie's book contains passages that some Muslims – including Ayatollah Khomeini – considered offensive to Islam and Muhammad. Carson decided it would be more effective to raise the issue in a popular magazine; however, publishers were uninterested, and eventually the project became a book instead. The Satanic Verses, Rushdie's novel which examines the integration of Indian characters into modern Western culture, implies that the Qur'an was not properly preserved. The letter asked Carson to use her influence with government authorities to begin an investigation into pesticide use. In early 1989, Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Salman Rushdie, claiming that Rushdie's murder was a religious duty for Muslims, because of Rushdie's alleged blasphemy against Muhammad. The four-year task of writing Silent Spring began with a letter from the custodian of a Massachusetts bird sanctuary that had been destroyed by aerial spraying of DDT.

In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution, there were many allegations of systematic human rights abuses, including mass executions, and torture. Carson explored the theme of environmental connectedness: although a pesticide is aimed at eliminating one organism, its effects are felt throughout the food chain, and what was intended to poison an insect ends up poisoning larger animals and humans. Khomeini became the center of a large personality cult, and opposition to the religious rule of the clergy or Islam in general was often met with harsh punishments. Silent Spring was Carson’s first book focused on the environment, and pesticides in particular. While freedom of speech and freedom of the press continued to be just as curtailed as it was under the Shah, the oppression by the "morality police" made life extremely difficult for those opposed to the veil (hijab). "What I discovered was that everything which meant most to me as a naturalist was being threatened, and that nothing I could do would be more important.". Under Khomeini's rule, Islamic law was instituted, with the Islamic dress code being strictly enforced for both men and women. "The more I learned about the use of pesticides, the more appalled I became," she wrote later, explaining her decision to start researching for what would eventually become her most famous work, Silent Spring.

During the war, the people of Iran rallied around Khomeini and his regime, and his personal popularity and power became unmatched, as Khomeini urged Iranians to fight for their country and religion, against secular Iraq. Starting in the mid-1940s, Carson became concerned about the use of newly invented pesticides, especially DDT. The Iraqi invasion of Iran, supported by the United States to contain the ideological spread of Islamic revolution in the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, ironically enhanced Khomeini's stature and allowed him to consolidate and stabilize his leadership. This environment was to be a major factor in the choice of her next topic. Led by Saddam Hussein, the secular republic of Iraq, ambitious to occupy its oil-rich neighbor (particularly Khuzestan province) and believing Iran to be weakened and in a state of turmoil, invaded Iran, starting what would become the decade-long Iran-Iraq war. She adopted the boy and, needing a suitable place to raise him, bought a rural property in Maryland. Shortly after taking power, Khomeini began calling for similar Islamic revolutions across the Middle East. Carson took on that responsibility alongside the continuing one of caring for her mother, who was almost 90 by this time.

See also October Surprise.. Family tragedy struck a third time when one of the nieces she had cared for in the 1940s died at the age of 36, leaving a five-year-old orphan son. Many commentators point to this failure as a major cause for Carter's loss in the following elections to Ronald Reagan. Through 1956 and 1957, Carson worked on a number of projects, and wrote articles for popular magazines. Some Iranians considered this to be a miracle. This severely embarrassed Carson: she was appalled at the film's sensational style and distortion of fact, and disassociated herself from it. President Jimmy Carter launched a commando mission to rescue the hostages, but the attempt was thwarted when the helicopters failed under unexpected desert conditions in Tabas. It was also a bestseller, winning further awards, and it was made into an Oscar-winning documentary film.

Khomeini stated on February 23, 1980 that Iran's Parliament would decide the fate of the American embassy hostages, demanding that the United States hand over the Shah for trial in Iran. With success came financial security, and Carson was able to give up her job in 1952 to concentrate on writing full time: completing the third volume of her sea trilogy, The Edge of the Sea in 1955. Supporters of Khomeini named the embassy a “Spy Den”, and fifty volumes of official and secret documents were gathered from it. It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 86 weeks, was abridged by Reader's Digest, won the National Book Award, and resulted in Carson being awarded two honorary doctorates. The hostage-takers justified this violation of long-established international law as a reaction to the American refusal to hand over the Shah for trial. Other parts soon appeared in Nature, and Oxford University Press published it in book form as The Sea Around Us. The remaining fifty men and two women were held for 444 days — an event usually referred to as the Iran hostage crisis. For some time she had been working on material for a second book: it was rejected by fifteen different magazines before The New Yorker serialized parts of it as A Profile of the Sea in 1951.

Thirteen of the 66 hostages were released within two weeks, and one more in July 1980. Carson rose within the Bureau (by then transformed into the Fish and Wildlife Service), becoming chief editor of publications in 1949. Three additional hostages were taken at the Iranian Foreign Ministry. It had the misfortune to be released just a month before the Pearl Harbor raid catapulted America into World War II. On November 4, 1979 a group of students, all of whom were ardent followers of Khomeini, raided the United States embassy in Tehran, and took as hostage 63 American citizens. Several years of working in the evenings resulted in Under the Sea-Wind (1941) which received excellent reviews but was a commercial flop. On February 4, 1980 Abolhassan Banisadr was elected as the first president of Iran. Publishing house Simon & Schuster, impressed by Undersea, contacted Carson and suggested that she expand it into book form.

Khomeini himself became Supreme Leader for life, as "Leader of the Revolution". (Other sources have it that it was the editor of The Baltimore Sun who made the Atlantic Monthly suggestion - Carson had been supplementing her meager income by writing short articles for that paper for some time.) Carson's family responsibilities further increased that year when her older sister died at the age of 40, and she had to take on responsibility for her two nieces. Along with the position of the Supreme Leader, the constitution also requires that a president be elected every four years, but only those candidates approved indirectly by the Council of Guardians may run for the office. To Carson's astonishment and delight, it was accepted, and published as Undersea in 1937. Subsequent elections were held to approve of the newly-drafted constitution. He suggested that she submit it to the Atlantic Monthly. Over 98% voted in favour of replacing the monarchy with an Islamic republic. Early in her career, the head of the Bureau's Division of Scientific Inquiry, who had been instrumental in finding a position for her in the first place, rejected one of Carson's radio scripts because it was "too literary".

On March 30 and 31, 1979, the provisional government asked all Iranians sixteen years of age and older to vote in a referendum on the question of accepting an Islamic Republic as the new form of government. At the Bureau, Carson worked on everything from cookbooks to scientific journals, and became known for her ruthless insistence on high standards of writing. Khomeini declared a provisional government, with Mehdi Bazargan as its prime minister, on February 11. In spite of the odds, she outscored all other applicants on the exam and in 1936 became only the second woman to be hired by the Bureau of Fisheries for a full-time, professional position, as a junior aquatic biologist. Western media sources estimated that up to six million revolutionaries welcomed him. In the process, she had to overcome resistance to the then-radical idea of having a woman sit for the Civil Service exam. Only two weeks after the Shah left Iran on January 16, Khomeini returned to Iran, on Thursday, February 1, 1979, invited by the anti-Shah revolution which was already in progress. Bureau of Fisheries as a science writer working on radio scripts.

Khomeini replaced the Shah's government with a religious system dominated by the clergy. She took on a part-time position at the U.S. The leader of Iran is usually addressed as the “Supreme Leader.” The book provides an insight on the eventual political background of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Her financial situation, never satisfactory, became worse in 1932 when her father died, leaving Carson to care for her aging mother; this burden made continued doctoral studies impossible. Though the public cannot vote for the Faqih, according to the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a group of clerics called the Assembly of Experts is voted in by the citizens of Iran every eight years, and they select the Faqih. She continued to study towards her doctoral degree, particularly at the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This Faqih would have absolute authority, and could only be removed from power by that very same group of clerics. Carson taught zoology at Johns Hopkins and at the University of Maryland for several years.

Khomeini believed that the leader of an Islamic Republic should be a Faqih (Islamic Jurist), who should be selected by a group of clerics. Despite financial difficulties, she continued her studies in zoology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University, earning a master's degree in zoology in 1932. During his exile, Khomeini wrote a book titled Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, which laid out his beliefs as such: that all laws in an Islamic society should be based on the laws of Islam, all laws and activities should be monitored by clerical authorities on Islamic law (guardians), there should be no monarch (that Islamic countries should become republics and not monarchies). She graduated from the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929 with magna cum laude honors. After the murder of Ali Shariati, a prominent revolutionary philosopher, Khomeini became one of the most influential opponents to the rule of the Shah, being perceived as the spiritual leader of those fighting his rule. Her talent for writing would help her in her new field, as she resolved to "make animals in the woods or waters, where they live, as alive to others as they are to me". According to Alexandre de Marenches (then head of the French secret services), France suggested to the Shah that they could "arrange for Khomeini to have a lethal accident"; the Shah declined the assassination offer, arguing that this would make him a martyr. She originally went to school to study English but switched her major to biology.

He was sent initially to Turkey, before later being allowed to move to Iraq, where he stayed until being forced to leave in 1978, after which he went to Neauphle-le-Château in France. Carson was born in 1907 on a small family farm in the Pittsburgh suburb of Springdale, Pennsylvania. In 1964 he was exiled from Iran for his constant criticisms of the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. . Khomeini was named an ayatollah in the 1950s. Silent Spring had an immense effect in the United States, where it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy. As a descendent of the prophet Muhammad, he was entitled to use the style Sayyid before his name. Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-born zoologist and biologist whose landmark book, Silent Spring, is often credited with having launched the global environmental movement.

He was born in the town of Khomein as Ruhollah Mousavi (روح‌الله موسوی in Persian) in 1900. Visit and experience first-hand the surroundings that made Rachel Carson a fierce and poetic defender of the natural world. . The Rachel Carson Homestead The Rachel Carson Homestead Association was formed in 1975 to preserve and restore this National Register historic site and to offer education programs which advance Rachel Carson's environmental ethic. Khomeini is considered by many as one of the most influential men of the 20th century, and was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1979. Silent Spring at 40: Rachel Carson’s classic is not aging well Reason Online, 12 June 2002. In Iran, he is officially addressed as Imam rather than Ayatollah, and his supporters also adhere to this convention. New York Times obituary.

Khomeini was considered a spiritual leader to many Shi'a Muslims, and ruled Iran from the Shah's overthrow to Khomeini's own death in 1989. The Mosquito Killer by Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of The Tipping Point and Blink. Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini (آیت‌الله روح‌الله خمینی in Persian) (May 17, 1900 – June 3, 1989) was an Iranian Shi'a Muslim cleric, and the political and spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. Silent Spring Institute Research on the environment and women's health, especially breast cancer. Time magazine's "100 most important people" article on Carson. RachelCarson.org The life and legacy of Rachel Carson.

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