On this day February 1, 1979

The Ayatollah Khomeini is welcomed back into Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile.

imam_khomeini_in_mehrabadKhomeini had refused to return to Iran until the Shah left. On January 16, 1979, the Shah did leave the country (ostensibly “on vacation”), never to return.

Two weeks later, on Thursday, February 1, 1979, Khomeini returned in triumph to Iran, welcomed by a joyous crowd estimated at at least six million by ABC News reporter Peter Jennings, who was reporting the event from Tehran.

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 “Hichi” (nothing).

This statement was considered reflective of his mystical or puritanical belief that Dar al-Islam, rather than the motherland, was what mattered, and also a warning to Iranians who hoped he would be a “mainstream nationalist leader” that they were in for disappointment.

Khomeini adamantly opposed the provisional government of Shapour Bakhtiar, promising “I shall kick their teeth in. I appoint the government. I appoint the government by support of this nation.”`

On February 11 [(Bahman 22)], Khomeini appointed his own competing interim prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan, demanding, “since I have appointed him, he must be obeyed.” It was “God’s government,” he warned, disobedience against which was a “revolt against God.”

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