On 1th February 1979, reporting the arrival of of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran after the fall of the monarchy, Agence France Presse descried “a reception committee at the airport to greet the Ayatollah, consisting of representatives of the country’s relgious and secular opposition forces. Turbaned clerics jostled with suit-clad liberals and Marxist opponents, struggling to get close to the stern-looking cleric , now the most powerful man in Iran.”
Ayatollah Khomeini was hailed by many leading Iranian political activists as Iran’s Gandhi, though in reality he was unknown entity, having spent many years in exile. He was a blank canvas who could be all things to all people. No one had any reason to doubt the statements Khomeini gave to world’s press while exiled in Paris:
I Have repeatedly said the neither my desire nor my age nor position allow me to govern.(United Press, 8 November 1978)
In Iran’s Islamic government the media have the freedom to express all Iran’s realities and events and people have the freedom to form any form of political party and gathering that they like. (Paese Sera, 2 November 1978)
Women are free in Islamic Republic in the selection of their activities, future and their clothing. (Guardian, 6 November 1978)
Perhaps it is not so astonishing that in 1979 Maryam Firouz, a female executive member of the communist Tudeh Party (and a secular feminist activist since 1940s), hailed Ayatollah Khomeini as the ‘leading advocate of women’s rights in our history’ . After all, when he seized power in Iran , US President Jimmy Carter’s UN Ambassador Andrew Young speculated that, if successful, Khomeini would ‘eventually be hailed as a saint’ . Communism was regards as the threat facing the West, not ‘political Islam’ – which even seemed like a safeguard against Communism. Yet it wasn’t long before Khomeini started singing from a totally different songsheet.
Those who are trying to bring corruption and destruction to our country in the name of democracy will be broken … they must be hanged. We will oppress them by God’s order and God’s call to prayer. (Qom, 30 august 1979)
As your average five-year-old boy, I was crazy about toy cars of all varieties and colours. During an ordinary day outing to the shops, my father refused to buy me a toy car; I threw your average run-of-the-mill temper tantrum and I was carried kicking and screaming into taxi … But I guess you could say it was an incomparable time in our history, those early days of the Revolution.
The streets were full of people with complete mayhem all around. I hate my father and I wanted him hanged like the people that they were executing on our television screens. There were no children’s programmes, everything was suspended and we would sit and watch as they hanged and hanged. (daftarsepid.blogspot.com)