The Historical Return
After the Shah’s departure, people were eager for Imam Khomeini’s return to Iran. In Tehran ceremonies were being organized to celebrate the Imam’s historical return. However due to the fact that Bakhtiyar, who was the Prime Minister at the time, announced he would close the airport, the Imam’s return was delayed for some time. Finally, on the 1st of February the Imam entered Iranian soil while millions of people came to see his arrival.
In the Imam’s last interview in France, a French reporter asked him: “Did you get any support?” The Imam replied: “We did not get any support from anyone.” The Imam also said that “the Iranian nation has made up its mind and will succeed. We will definitely be victorious.”
On the 1st of February 1979, millions of people came to welcome and witness the Imam’s return form Paris. It was a winter morning, but nobody could feel the cold weather. It was dangerous and various threats were made but people still came. It seemed as if the passenger on that airplane had captivated everyone, so that the people forgot all hardships and worries and waited to see the Imam.
Slowly the wheels of the French airplane came to a halt at the Mehr Abad airport runway. A few moments later, the old spiritual man came down the stairs. At that moment, not only Iranians but people all over the world were awaiting the Imam’s entrance into Iran. Fourteen years ago, this very man was deported from Iran and people thought he would be forgotten in history. However, it seems that everything was reversed and the assertive powerful men of that era were quickly forgotten and that Imam became the guest of millions of Iranians’ hearts. His first words in the airport were, “I thank you all for your love. The Iranian people’s affection is a great responsibility on my shoulders, and I cannot repay it. Unity is the key to victory.”
After a while, Imam Khomeini left the airport for the Behest Zahra cemetery in order to visit the graves of the martyrs and pay his respects to them. These martyrs lost their lives for the love of Imam Khomeini. The car carrying Imam Khomeini moved very slowly and finally stopped in front of a particular area in the cemetery, where the martyrs of the revolution were buried. Here Imam Khomeini stated, “We have experienced many tragedies. Some of these tragedies were so great but the victories after them were far greater. There were many tragedies of women losing their husbands, and men losing their children. When I see people whose children died in these movements, I become sorrowful and sense a heavy weight on my shoulders. I am unable to thank a nation who has lost their lives for the sake God.”
Imam Khomeini then gave a brief description of how the Pahlavi dynasty was established, and then began to explain its illegality and corruptions. He stated: “I will appoint a state. I will act against this government. With the nation’s support, I will appoint a state.” At the end of his speech, the Imam gave some advice to the army and told the commanders of the army to come back to their people.
Imam Khomeini’s first residence was in the “Refah School” near Baharestan Square. After settling there, he started planning the next courses of action. He had to respond to millions of people letters, questions and hundreds who visited him daily at his residence. Imam Khomeini had so much to do that although he was very tired, on the same day he entered Iran he gave a speech at Behesht Zahra cemetery and also issued a statement to the commanders, officers and soldier to stop cooperating with the corrupt government.
Meanwhile, Bakhtiar, the Shah’s last prime minister, tried to extinguish the fire of the upcoming revolution and to keep his power. His efforts, however, were futile because of the support of the masses for Imam Khomeini’s rise.
Assigning the first Prime Minister of the revolution
A very important and sensitive event took place on the 4th of February. On this day, Imam Khomeini assigned Mehdi Bazargan as the Prime Minister of Iran. This made Iran one step closer to the revolution. Imam asked the people to come to the streets to show their support for this appointment. The next day military jets flew in the skies of Tehran to frighten the people but had no effect whatsoever. On the 8th of February many of the air force personnel marched before Imam Khomeini.
The fall of the Pahlavi regime
During the final hours of Friday the 9th of February, the conflicts between the air force personnel, who were divided into supporters and opponents of the Imam, was dragged outside the barracks. People went to join the military forces that supported the Imam. These conflicts carried on through the next day. The people created obstacles to stop the military forces that had come out with their tanks, ready for another massacre.
At 2pm it was announced on the radio that the military commander of Tehran has declared that a curfew will be imposed after 4:30 pm. The Imam called this curfew a trick and illegal, and asked the people to ignore it.
The sensitivity and danger of this decision by the Imam was such that Ayatollah Talegaani and Bazargaan tried to change the Imam’s opinion. They believed that this decision would lead to a massacre. However Imam Khomeini insisted that the people should ignore the curfew. Thus, nobody went home and people stayed in the streets.
Finally on the 11th of February 1979 the army surrendered and announced it would no longer take part in the conflicts. The Imam told people to keep calm and peaceful if the army was to return to the barracks.
The revolution was finally victorious in the evening of the 11th of February 1979. The people’s persistence, blood and hard work finally paid off.
Imam’s residence, center of decisions
Imam Khomeini’s residence was turned into the center of decision-making and everyone waited to hear the decisions that came out from there. From the 11th of February onwards people arrested those who cooperated with the Pahlavi regime and brought them to Imam Khomeini’s residence. These arrests were so great in number that the security forces, who stood at the front door, cried out that only the leaders within the Regime could be admitted. It seemed as if the nation wanted to admit every single person who had anything to do with the regime. Furthermore at the Imam’s residence the future leaders were chosen.
Imam Khomeini’s successive messages asked people to observe peace so they could live their normal lives again and the new state could be established. The Imam stated: “We are now obligated to cooperate with each other and make a new Iran.” The first temporary cabinet members of the state began their work on the 22nd of February. Imam Khomeini ordered that all the schools, offices, factories, markets and anywhere else, which was on strike, to begin work again. In the meanwhile, people from different social classes came to visit Imam Khomeini, negotiate with him, and listen to his words. In one of these meetings, a poet who was influenced by the events that had happened to the Imam recited a poem about the Imam. The Imam told him: “It is better for you to write poetry for the poor and those who have sacrificed something”.