By: Mir M.Hosseini
An important milestone in actualization of the Islamic Revolution was Ayatollah Khomeini's return from exile on this day, Feb, 1, 1979. He arrived at the Mehrabad Airport of Tehran at 9:33 am on Air France. Accompanied by thousands of enthusiastic supporters, he went directly to Behesht Zahra Cemetery and made a speech honoring martyrs killed during the uprising against Mohammad Reza Shah.
Imam Khomeini was born on May, 17, 1900 and became one of the most prominent religious leaders in the Shia Muslim world. His famous speech against Capitulation rights to American citizens on June, 5, 1963 incited a revolt in Qom soon to spread around Iran. Therefore he entered the black list of Shah's notorious secret service named SAVAK. Khomeini was arrested in March 1965 and sent to exile in Iraq, Turkey and then France. His opposition continued and accelerated in 1978. Public mass demonstrations, strikes, and riots accompanied by a strong foreign media coverage and support from all leftist and rightist dissident groups mounted in 1979, thus forcing Shah and his family flee to Egypt on Jan, 16, 1979.
Mohammad Reza Shah assigned Bakhtiar, one of dissident figures of Freedom Movement jailed after the CIA-backed coup in 1953 in hopes of gaining back public support. But it was too late and the wheels of revolution crushed the bones of monarchy and the Islamic Revolution toppled the Pahlavi Regime in ten days.
Fifty days later, in a referendum, Iranians voted for Islamic Republic as their new form of government. Imam Khomeini died in 1989 at the age of 89.
Every year, Iranians mark Khomeini's arrival as the start of Daheh Fajr ceremonies; commemorating last ten days of monarchy with various cultural and social activities.