On February 1, 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran in triumph immediately after 15 years of exile. The shah and his family members had fled the country two weeks before, and jubilant Iranian revolutionaries have already been eager to set up a fundamentalist Islamic government below Khomeini’s leadership.
Born round the turn of the century, Ruhollah Khomeini was the son of an Islamic religious scholar and in his youth memorized the Qur’an. He was a Shiite-the branch of Islam practiced by way of a most Iranians-and quickly devoted himself to the formal study of Shia Islam in the town of Qom. A devout cleric, he rose steadily in the informal Shiite hierarchy and attracted plenty of disciples.
In 1941, British and Soviet troops occupied Iran and installed Mohammad Reza Pahlavi because the second present day shah of Iran. The new shah had close ties with the West, and in 1953 British and U.S. intelligence agents helped him overthrow a standard political rival. Mohammad Reza embraced many Western concepts and in 1963 launched his “White Revolution,” an easy government program that referred to as for the reduced amount of religious estates in the name of land redistribution, equal rights for women, day reforms along with other modern.
Khomeini, now known by the bigger Shiite title “ayatollah,” was the 1st religious leader to openly condemn the shah’s plan of westernization. In fiery dispatches from his Faziye Seminary in Qom, Khomeini needed the overthrow of the shah and the establishment of an Islamic state. In 1963, Mohammad Reza imprisoned him, which resulted in riots, and on November 4, 1964, expelled him from Iran.
Khomeini settled in An Najaf, a Shiite holy city over the border in Iraq, and sent residence recordings of his sermons that continued to incite his student followers. Breaking precedence with the Shiite tradition that discouraged clerical participation in government, he known as for Shiite leaders to govern Iran.
In the 1970s, Mohammad Reza additional enraged Islamic fundamentalists in Iran by holding an extravagant celebration of the 2,500th anniversary of the pre-Islamic Persian monarchy and replaced the Islamic calendar with a Persian calendar. As discontent grew, the shah became more repressive, and support for Khomeini grew. In 1978, huge anti-shah demonstrations broke out in Iran’s key cities. Dissatisfied members of the decrease and middle classes joined the radical students, and Khomeini needed the shah’s instant overthrow. In December, the army mutinied, and on January 16, 1979, the shah fled.
Khomeini found its way to Tehran in triumph on February 1, 1979, and was acclaimed because the leader of the Iranian Revolution. With religious fervor operating high, he consolidated his authority and attempt to transform Iran right into a religious state. On November 4, 1979, the 15th anniversary of his exile, students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took the staff hostage. With Khomeini’s approval, the radicals demanded the return of the shah to Iran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The shah died in Egypt of cancer in July 1980.
In December 1979, a fresh Iranian constitution was authorized, naming Khomeini as Iran’s political and religious leader forever. Under his rule, Iranian girls were denied equal rights and necessary to placed on a veil, Western culture was banned, and classic Islamic law and its own frequently-brutal punishments have already been reinstated. In suppressing opposition, Khomeini proved as ruthless because the shah, and a large number of political dissidents have been executed throughout his decade of rule.
In 1980, Iraq invaded Iran’s oil-making province of Khuzestan. After initial advances, the Iraqi offense was repulsed. In 1982, Iraq voluntarily withdrew and sought a peace agreement, but Khomeini renewed fighting. Stalemates and the deaths of a large number of young Iranian conscripts in Iraq followed. In 1988, Khomeini ultimately decided to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.
After the Ayatollah Khomeini died on June 3, 1989, a lot more than two million anguished mourners attended his funeral. Gradual democratization began in Iran in early the 1990s, culminating in an absolutely free election in 1997 where the moderate reformist Mohammed Khatami was elected president.