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. Named for him. Khomeini's grandson, Hossein, is a high-profile cleric, who is strongly against the system of the Islamic Republic. Awards. 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. Unfortunately this occurred in 1953 - Hubble died before he could be given the prize, or even informed that he would receive it (his wife was informed after his death). Ahmad, the younger son, died in 1995, under mysterious circumstances. Finally the Nobel Prize Committee decided that astronomy should fall under the description of physics.

The elder son, Mostafa, died in 1977 while in exile with his father in Najaf, Iraq. This campaign was long unsuccessful and it appeared that Hubble's great achievements would remain unrewarded. His daughters all married into either merchant or clerical families, and both his sons entered into religious life. He did this largely so that astronomers could be recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee for their valuable contributions to astrophysics. They had seven children, though only five survived infancy. Hubble spent much of the later part of his career attempting to have astronomy considered an area of physics, instead of being its own science. In 1929, Khomeini married the daughter of a cleric in Tehran. He also wrote The Observational Approach to Cosmology and The Realm of the Nebulae around this time.

Such factors played an important part in the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who adheres closely to Khomeini, in the 2005 presidential elections. Hubble discovered the asteroid 1373 Cincinnati on August 30, 1935. 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. When Einstein heard of Hubble's discovery, he said that changing his equations was "the biggest blunder of my life".3. 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. Unable to believe what his own equations were telling him, Einstein introduced a cosmological constant (a "fudge factor") to the equations to avoid this "problem". 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. Earlier, in 1917, Albert Einstein had found that his newly developed General Theory of Relatively indicated that the universe must be either expanding or contracting.

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. This discovery later resulted in the formulation of the Big Bang theory. 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. The law states that the greater the distance between any two galaxies, the greater their relative speed of separation. 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". This led to the concept of the expanding universe. 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 1929 Hubble and Milton Humason formulated the empirical Redshift Distance Law of galaxies, nowadays known as Hubble's law, which, once the redshift is interpreted as a measure of recession speed, is consistent with the solutions of Einstein’s General Relativity Equations for an homogeneous, isotropic expanding space.

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. Hubble was generally credited with discovering2 the redshift of galaxies. 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. Hubble also devised a classification system for galaxies, grouping them according to their content, distance, shape, size and brightness. 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). He announced this discovery on December 30, 1924. 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. Hubble's observations in 1923–1924 with the Hooker Telescope established beyond doubt that the fuzzy "nebulae" seen earlier with less powerful telescopes were not part of our galaxy, as had been thought, but were galaxies themselves, outside the Milky Way.

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. Hubble's arrival at Mount Wilson in 1919 coincided roughly with the completion of the 100-inch Hooker Telescope, then the world's most powerful telescope. 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. As of 2005, the whereabouts of his remains are unknown. As such, he often advocated the banning of popular Western fashions, music, cinema, and literature. His wife, Grace, did not have a funeral for him and never revealed what was done with his body - it was apparently Hubble's wish to have no funeral service and be buried in an unmarked grave. He viewed certain elements of Western culture as being inherently evil, and a corrupting influence upon the youth. He died of a heart attack on September 28, 1953, in San Marino, California.

He was strongly against close relations with Western and East bloc nations, and believed that Iran should strive towards self-reliance. Shortly before his death, Palomar's 200-inch Hale Telescope was completed; Hubble was the first to use it. 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 also served in the US army during World War II. 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. In 1919 Hubble was offered a staff position by George Ellery Hale, the founder and director of Carnegie Institution's Mount Wilson Observatory, near Pasadena, California, where he remained until his death. 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. in 1917.

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. He returned to astronomy at the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. 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). He served in World War I and quickly became Major. 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. degree, after which he returned to the United States as a high school teacher and a basketball coach in New Albany, Indiana. 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 spent the next three years as one of Oxford's first Rhodes Scholars, where he studied in the field of law and received the M.A.

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. degree in 1910. Khomeini's casket was made of steel, and it was surrounded by heavily armed security personnel. His studies at the University of Chicago concentrated on mathematics and astronomy which led to a B.S. The second funeral was held under much tighter security. That year he also set a state record for high jump in Illinois. Over ten thousand people were said to have been injured. In his younger days, he was noted more for his athletic abilities rather than his intellectual genius: he won seven first places1 and a third placing in a single high school meet in 1906.

At one point, Khomeini's body actually fell to the ground, as the crowd attempted to grab pieces of the shroud. Hubble was born to an insurance executive in Marshfield, Missouri and moved to Wheaton, Illinois in 1898. 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. . During the funeral, Tehran fell into chaos, requiring cancellation of the funeral, and new plans for a second funeral. He was one of the leading astronomers of modern times and laid down the foundation upon which physical cosmology now rests. After eleven days in a hospital for an operation to stop internal bleeding, Khomeini died on Saturday, June 3, 1989. Edwin Hubble was one of the first to argue that the red shift of distant galaxies is due to the Doppler effect induced by the expansion of the universe.

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. Edwin Powell Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953) was an American astronomer, noted for his discovery of galaxies beyond the Milky Way and the cosmic red shift. Rushdie's book contains passages that some Muslims – including Ayatollah Khomeini – considered offensive to Islam and Muhammad. Note 3: PBS Cosmological Constant. 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. Note 2: This had actually been observed by Vesto Slipher in the 1910s, but the world was largely unaware. 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 third-placing was for broad jump.

In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution, there were many allegations of systematic human rights abuses, including mass executions, and torture. Note 1: For the record, these were discus, hammer throw, pole vault, standing and running high jump, shot put, mile-relay. 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. Orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. 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). Hubble crater on the Moon. Under Khomeini's rule, Islamic law was instituted, with the Islamic dress code being strictly enforced for both men and women. Asteroid 2069 Hubble.

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. Medal of Merit for outstanding contribution to ballistics research in 1946--ARP. 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. Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1940. 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. Bruce Medal in 1938. Shortly after taking power, Khomeini began calling for similar Islamic revolutions across the Middle East.

See also October Surprise.. Many commentators point to this failure as a major cause for Carter's loss in the following elections to Ronald Reagan. Some Iranians considered this to be a miracle. 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.

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. Supporters of Khomeini named the embassy a “Spy Den”, and fifty volumes of official and secret documents were gathered from it. 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. The remaining fifty men and two women were held for 444 days — an event usually referred to as the Iran hostage crisis.

Thirteen of the 66 hostages were released within two weeks, and one more in July 1980. Three additional hostages were taken at the Iranian Foreign Ministry. 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. On February 4, 1980 Abolhassan Banisadr was elected as the first president of Iran.

Khomeini himself became Supreme Leader for life, as "Leader of the Revolution". 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. Subsequent elections were held to approve of the newly-drafted constitution. Over 98% voted in favour of replacing the monarchy with an Islamic republic.

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. Khomeini declared a provisional government, with Mehdi Bazargan as its prime minister, on February 11. Western media sources estimated that up to six million revolutionaries welcomed him. 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.

Khomeini replaced the Shah's government with a religious system dominated by the clergy. 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. 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. This Faqih would have absolute authority, and could only be removed from power by that very same group of clerics.

Khomeini believed that the leader of an Islamic Republic should be a Faqih (Islamic Jurist), who should be selected by a group of clerics. 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). 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. 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.

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. 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. As a descendent of the prophet Muhammad, he was entitled to use the style Sayyid before his name.

He was born in the town of Khomein as Ruhollah Mousavi (روح‌الله موسوی in Persian) in 1900. . 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. In Iran, he is officially addressed as Imam rather than Ayatollah, and his supporters also adhere to this convention.

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. 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.

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