Ruhollah Khomeini

1979 – 1989
1989, Old age
Shariah Law
Grand Ayatollah
Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini
Khomeini portrait.jpg
1st Supreme Leader of Iran
In office
3 December 1979 – 3 June 1989
President Abolhassan Banisadr
Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Ali Khamenei
Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan
Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Mohammad-Javad Bahonar
Mahdavi Kani
Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Deputy Hussein-Ali Montazeri
Succeeded by Ali Khamenei
Personal details
Born Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini
(1902-09-22)22 September 1902[1][2][3][4][5]
Khomeyn, Persia
Died 3 June 1989(1989-06-03) (aged 86)
Tehran, Iran
Spouse(s) Khadijeh Saqafi (m.1929 – will.1989)
Children Mostafa
Religion Usuli Twelver Shia Islam

Sayyid Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini (سید روح‌اللّه مصطفوی موسوی خمینی, Persian pronunciation: [ruːholˈlɑːhe muːsæˈviːje xomeiˈniː], 22 September 1902 – 3 June 1989) was an Iranian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death.

Khomeini was a marja ("source of emulation") in Twelver Shi'a Islam, author of more than forty books, but is primarily known for his political activities. He spent more than 15 years in exile for his opposition to the last Shah. In his writings and preachings he expanded the Shi'a Usuli theory of velayat-e faqih, the "guardianship of the jurisconsult (clerical authority)" to include theocratic political rule by the Islamic jurists. This principle (though not known to the wider public before the revolution)[6][7] was installed in the new Iranian constitution[8] after being put to a referendum.[9]

He was named Man of the Year in 1979 by American newsmagazine TIME[10] for his international influence and has been described as the "virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture."[11] He was known for his support of the hostage takers during the Iran hostage crisis[12] and his fatwa calling for the death of British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie.[10][13]

Khomeini has been criticized for these acts and for human rights violations of Iranians; he has been accused of pursuing a mass campaign of torture and execution against political opponents as well as their families, close friends, and anyone who was accused of insufficient Islamic behavior (including Bahai's), resulting in the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children, who were usually tried in secret kangaroo courts run by hard line clerics,[14] as well as in 1988, when he ordered the execution of 30,000 political prisoners.[15][16][17] Nevertheless he is also lauded as a "charismatic leader of immense popularity",[18] and a "champion of Islamic revival" by Shia scholars.[11]

Khomeini held the title of Grand Ayatollah and is officially known as Imam Khomeini inside Iran and by his supporters internationally,[19] and generally referred to as Ayatollah Khomeini by others.[20]
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