In 1978 and while Islamic movement of Iranian people led by Imam Khomeini had reached its culmination, the Shah’s regime, disappointed at compromising with Imam Khomeini, tried some political measures to limit his activities or deport him from Iraq.
At a meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran and Iraq in New York, a decision was made to deport Imam Khomeini from Iraq. On 24 September 1978, Iraqi troops laid siege to Imam Khomeini’s house in Najaf. The news of the siege angered the Muslims in Iran, Iraq and other countries. In his visit to Imam Khomeini, Iraqi security chief, indicated that if Imam wished to stay in Iraq he must give up his challenge and politics, and the Imam replied that, due to the responsibility he felt for the Muslim ummah, he was not willing to remain quiet nor was he willing to make a compromise.
Imam Khomeini, determined to continue the struggle at any cost, decided to leave Iraq for Syria, but due to strained relations between the two countries it was decided that he transits Kuwaiti territories to Syria. While a visa on his arrival to Kuwait had been issued, Kuwaiti officials issued a decree to prevent him from entering the country. Imam stayed the night in Basra and decided to fly to Paris. In a message addressing the Iranian nation, he mentioned the reasons for his flight, “Now that I’m forced to leave neighborhood of Imam Ali (A.S.) and do not have freedom in Islamic territories to serve you the oppressed nation who are attacked by foreigners and their affiliates, and in a situation that they have stopped me from entering Kuwait while I had a visa, I travel to France. No matter where I am, what is of significance to me is fulfilling my divine duty and high interests of Islam and the Muslims. Now that the Islamic movement has reached a critical stage, you and I are responsible. Islam expects us to do something.”
Accordingly, Imam and his companions went to Baghdad on October 6, 1978, and the following day he began an epochal flight for the sake of God, in which after a short stay in Paris he resided at Neauphle-le-Château village.
Officials of the Elysee Palace apprised the Imam of the views of the French President that the Imam must not indulge in politics. The Imam’s sharp reaction and answer was that such limitation contradicts the France’s claim to democracy, and that he would rather, commute between airports, from one country to another than give up his objective.
Quite contrary to the Shah’s expectation, Imam’s stay in Paris accelerated the pace of revolution and many reporters and journalists rushed to Imam’ visit every day and that small village turned into the focus of world news. After few months the Islamic Revolution achieved its victory.
Giscard d’Estaing, the then French President, has expressed in his memoirs that he had issued order that the Imam be expelled from France, but at the last moment the diplomatic delegates of the Shah, who were despondent in those days, advised Giscard d’Estaing of the danger of a vehement and uncontrollable reaction by the people, and had declared themselves exempt from the repercussions of such reaction in Europe and in Iran. During the four-month stay of Imam Khomeini in Paris, Neauphle-le-Château was the most important news center in the world. Imam Khomeini’s various interviews and his visits revealed to the world, his views of Islamic government, and the future aims of his movement.
Thus a larger number of people of the world became familiar with the Imam’s thought and his uprising, and it was from this stage and station that he guided the most critical period of the movement in Iran.
The Sharif-Emami’s government lasted no more than two months. The Shah appointed Azharia, a military officer as prime minister and announced martial law.
Killings were accelerated, though they did not affect the people’s uprising. The desperate Shah asked the American and British embassies for a solution but none of their former plans had been useful. Participation of millions in anti-Shah demonstrations, which were termed “people’s informal referendum against the Shah’s monarchy”, were held on the occasions of Tasua and Ashura (9th & 10th of Moharram), in Tehran and other cities. ShapurBakhtiar, a National Front top man was the U.S.’s last dice to be introduced to the Shah as the Prime Minister. Leaders of the four industrial nations at Guadalupe expressed their joint views in support of Bakhtiar. Following the above development, General Huyser, Deputy Commander of NATO, made a trip to Iran on a secret mission for two months. He later revealed in his remarks that his mission was to secure the support of the military forces for Bakhtiar to organize his government, break up the strikes and engineer a coup d’etat for returning the Shah to power – similar to what had happened in 1953. But, Imam Khomeini’s messages about the necessity to continue the struggles, diffused all Huyser’splansh. In December 1978, Imam Khomeini established the Revolutionary Council. The Shah fled the country in January, two days later the Council of Monarchy convened to gain vote of confidence for Bakhtiar’s cabinet. News of the Shah’s departure delighted the people in Tehran, and then all over the country people poured into the streets, celebrating his ouster. Huyser’s regular meetings with U.S. military advisors and generals of the Shah’s army could not help Bakhtiar to suppress the strikes and end the people’s uprising.
Shortly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the United States supported Saddam Hussain of Iraq to invade Iran in the hope of putting an end to the Revolution. But after eights years of war, Saddam had to accept ceasefire and the United Nations announced that Saddam was an invader.
President Carter gave the Iraqis a green light to launch the war against Iran through Fahd. In other words, according to Haig’s information, Saudi Prince Fahd (later King Fahd) claimed that President Carter, apparently hoping to strengthen the U.S. hand in the Middle East and desperate to pressure Iran over the stalled hostage talks, gave clearance to Saddam’s invasion of Iran. If true, Jimmy Carter, the peacemaker, had encouraged a war.
Statement by 59th US Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, indicating that Carter gave a green signal to Saddam Hussain to invade Iran.