Thirty six years ago, today, February 1, 1979, marked a big day in the history of Iran. The great founder and builder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini returned home after over 14 years of exile in Turkey, Iraq and France.
Imam Khomeini spent more than 14 years in exile, mostly in the Shia holy city of Najaf, Iraq. Initially he was sent to Turkey on 4 November 1964 where he stayed in the city of Bursa. In October 1965, after less than a year, he was allowed to move to Najaf, Iraq, where he stayed until 1978, when he was encouraged to leave by then-Vice President Saddam Hussein. By this time discontent with the Shah was becoming intense and Imam Khomeini went to Neauphle-le-Château, suburb of Paris, France.
Thirty six years ago, today, Iranians from all walks of life in all big and small cities of Iran poured to to the streets in jubilation and celebrated the reurn of their great leader.
After 14 years being far from homeland, Imam Khomeini flew to Tehran from Paris on an Air France airliner. The plane touched down at 9:36 (local time).
Millions of Iranians gave Imam Khomeini a special welcome in the streets of Tehran. In the 33-km road between Mehrabad Airport and the huge Behesht Zahra Cemetery in the southern suburb of Tehran, where thousands of revolution martyrs had been buried, enthusiastic people shouted slogan to support Imam Khomeini and the revolution and to denounce the despotic regime of the Shah.
Imam Khomeini gave a speech in Behesht Zahra Cemetery in which he thanked people for their sacrifices during the revolution against the monarchy. He also urged people to keep their unity until the downfall of the regime.
The great founder of the Islamic Revolution advised the leaders of the armed forces to join people. Imam Khomeini also criticized the economic, political and cultural policies of the regime and warned the Shah designated Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar to resign or be ready to face trial by people.
The great builder of the revolution promised people to form a new government as soon as possible.
While the ceremony was broadcast by national television, the army attacked the television station and stopped the live coverage of the welcome ceremony. After his speech in Behesht Zahra Cemetery, Imam Khomeini went to a hospital in Tehran to visit the injured of the revolution.