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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Sayyed Ruhollah Mostafavi Mosavi Khomeini, or Ayatollah Khomeini (1902–1989), was the leader of the Iranian revolution of 1979. After the downfall of the ruling Shah (King), Khomeini, who had been living in exile in Paris, returned to Iran and became the Supreme leader, the highest political and spiritual office in the country. He held this position until his death. Under his rule, the principle of Velayet-e-faqih—a Shi’a political concept that gave religious clerics political power—was enshrined in the postrevolutionary constitution. This excerpt from his Message puts the struggles in Iran in a global context, as many nations around the world were caught up in proxy wars between the superpowers of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States. Trumpeting a new Muslim unity (tawhid), Khomeini depicts Muslim leaders who make deals with the “infidel” Americans as traitors, prefiguring the coming fundamentalist Islamic opposition to both superpowers, especially the Soviets in Afghanistan, but notably the resistance to American power in the Middle East.

From Jussi Hanhimäki and Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, pages 563–4.

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