Khomeini, Ruhollah biographical name
(born May 17, 1900?, Khomeyn, Irandied June 3, 1989, Tehran) Shi'ite cleric and leader of Iran (1979–89). He received a traditional religious education and settled in Qom c. 1922, where he became a Shi'ite scholar of some repute and an outspoken opponent first of Iran's ruler, Reza Shah Pahlavi (r. 1926–41), and then of his son, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (r. 1941–79). Popularly recognized as a grand ayatollah in the early 1960s, he was imprisoned and then exiled (1964) for his criticism of the government. He settled first in Iraqwhere he taught at the shrine city of Al-Najaf for some yearsand then, in 1978, near Paris, where he continued to speak out against the shah. During that time he also refined his theory of velayat-e faqih (government of the jurist), in which the Shi'ite clergytraditionally politically quiescent in Iranwould govern the state. Iranian unrest increased until the shah fled in 1979; Khomeini returned shortly thereafter and was eventually named Iran's political and religious leader (rahbar). He ruled over a system in which the clergy dominated the government, and his foreign policies were both anti-Western and anticommunist. During the first year of his leadership, Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehrangreatly exacerbating tensions with the U.S.and the devastating Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) began.
Variants of KHOMEINI, RUHOLLAH
Khomeini, Ruhollah orig. Ruhollah Musavi
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Khomeini, Ruhollah, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up Khomeini, Ruhollah? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.