Culmination and Victory of the Islamic
Young Student in Support of Islamic Republic
The martyrdom of Imam’s son, Ayatollah Hajj Aqa Mostafa Khomeini, on October 23, 1977 (Aban 1, 1356 AHS) was a watershed in the movement, and the huge ceremonies which took place in his memory throughout Iran marked the renewal of the uprising of the theological centers and the religious community in Iran. Imam Khomeini dealt with his son’s death in a surprising manner, accepting it as one of God’s blessings in disguise.
In revenge for the holding of these large memorial ceremonies, and the attacks which were made on the Shah in them, the regime published a scurrilous article against Imam in one of the country’s state-run newspapers. Opposition to this article culminated in the uprising by the people of Qom on January 9, 1978 (Dey 19, 1356 AHS) during which a number of revolutionary religious students were killed. Once again the uprising had begun in the city of Qom and within a short space of time had spread to the rest of the country. Funeral ceremonies which, according to custom, took place on the third, seventh and fortieth day in commemoration of the deaths of the martyrs of this recent uprising, occurred one after the other in Tabriz, Yazd, Jahrom, Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran, spawning numerous revolts.
Throughout the whole of this period, Imam Khomeini’s messages came thick and fast, and these, along with the tape recordings of his speeches in which he called on the people to be steadfast and continue with their uprising until the foundations of the monarchical regime had been destroyed and an Islamic government established, were reproduced by his friends and followers and distributed on a wide scale throughout Iran.
Despite resorting to the murder of crowds of people, the Shah could not quench the fire that had been kindled, and such tactics as announcing martial law in eleven cities, replacing the prime minister and changing officials in high positions also proved ineffective in stopping the spread of the revolution. All of the Shah’s political and military manoeuvres were negated by the publication of Imam Khomeini’s revelatory statements and militant directives.
In a meeting between the Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers in New York, the decision was made to expel Imam from Iraq. On September 24, 1978 (Mehr 2, 1357 AHS), Imam’s home in Najaf was surrounded by Ba’thist forces. It was announced that his remaining in Iraq now depended on him stopping his political activities and relinquishing his struggle. Consequently, Imam’s decision to continue with the fight led to his leaving Najaf, after thirteen years in exile there, on October 4, 1978 (Mehr 12, 1357 AHS), and heading for Kuwait. On arriving at the border, however, the Kuwaiti authorities, having been influenced by the Shah’s regime, refused him entry. Thus, the Leader of the Revolution, after studying the situation in other Muslim countries and consulting with his son, Hojjatol-Islam wal Muslemin Hajj Seyyed Ahmad Khomeini, decided to go to Paris.
Subsequently, on October 6 (Mehr 14) Imam entered Paris and two days later took up residence in the home of an Iranian in Neauphle-le-Château on the outskirts of Paris. Representatives from the Elysées Palace communicated to him the French President’s wish that he refrain from any kind of political activity while in France. Imam reacted sharply, making it clear that such restrictions were contrary to democratic principles and stating that even if he had to travel from airport to airport and country to country, he would not relinquish his aims.
Imam"s four-month stay in France changed Neauphle-le-Château into the most important news center in the world. His numerous interviews and meetings of different kinds with the many visitors who poured into the hamlet from all parts of the world meant that his views concerning an Islamic government and the future aims of the movement were made clearer for the people of the world. On receiving the guidelines of Imam, the Iranian nation intensified their demonstrations, and through widening their strikes, paralyzed governmental organs and organizations. The replacement of prime ministers one after the other; the Shah’s repentance for past offences; the regime’s arrest and trial of old, infamous pawns; the freeing of political prisoners, and so on, went nowhere towards stopping the spread and intensification of the revolution.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution sets up a Council of Revolution and informs the nation of its members. The Shah, on the pretext of feeling ill and needing a rest, flees the country on January 16, 1979 (Dey 26, 1357 AHS).
Shah With His Wife
The news of the Shah’s departure filled the nation with joy and strengthened their resolve to continue the fight until the regime was destroyed. Imam’s decision to return to the country created a wave of happiness and optimism that swept through the nation forcing the enemies of the revolution to react precipitously. After consultation with the American government, and with their co-operation, the regime closed the airports in the country to all foreign flights. As news of the closures reached the people, huge crowds from all parts of the country converged on Tehran and took part in the million-strong demonstrations staged by the people of Tehran to demand their reopening.
The regime gives in to the demands of the nation and opens Mehrabad airport in Tehran. Consequently, on February 12, 1979 (Bahman 12, 1357 AHS), after fourteen years in exile, Imam returns to his homeland.
The unprecedented welcome given Imam by the people of Iran was so huge and unequivocal that Western news agencies had no alternative but to recognize it for what it was; they put the figure of those attending at four to six million. Despite the fact that the Shah’s government was still in place, the Leader of the Revolution announced the formation of a provisional government and on February 5, 1979 (Bahman 16, 1357 AHS) with the appointment of a prime minister, he enjoined it to prepare the preliminaries for a referendum and the holding of elections.
On February 8 (Bahman 19), air force personnel went to the `Alavi school in Tehran, where Imam was staying, to pledge their allegiance to him. The following day (February 9 / Bahman 20), soldiers from the Imperial Guard were dispatched to one of the most important air force bases in Tehran to quash a revolt by air force technicians (homafars) there. The people entered the arena to support the revolutionary forces and on February 10 (Bahman 21) police stations and government centers fell into the hands of the people one after the other.
Tehran"s Military Command issues a proclamation extending curfew hours from 4 o’clock in the afternoon so that the Shah’s government, with the help of the American military advisers stationed in Tehran, can implement the prearranged plan for a coup d’état. In a message, Imam Khomeini calls on the people of Tehran to take to the streets to prevent the impending plot from being carried out and to nullify martial law.
As a consequence, children, men and women, young and old alike, flood into the streets and set to building barricades. As soon as the first tanks and armored personnel carriers of the coup d’état group leave their bases, they are immobilized by the people and the coup d’état is faced with defeat at its very inception. In this way, the final resistance of the Shah’s regime is broken and the sun of victory shines on the Islamic Revolution with the dawn of February 11, 1979 (Bahman 22, 1357 AHS).