Blog Post - Iran Matters

Iran Edition: Commemorating Khomeini’s return

| Feb. 06, 2015

Iranian newspapers on Sunday triumphantly marked the anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return from exile thirty-six years ago. 

The events of February 1, 1979 — known to Iranians by the Persian date, 12 of Bahman — are iconic: Khomeini ambling down the steps of a chartered Air France jet at the airport in Tehran; his motorcade mobbed as it drove from the airport to the city’s largest cemetery; Khomeini’s speech at the cemetery and his declaration that “I shall slap this government in the mouth.” In Iran, February 1 begins the ten-day celebration known as Dahe Fajr, which culminates in the February 11 anniversary of the formal fall of the Shah’s government.

 Iranian newspapers this week took creative approaches to commemorating Khomeini’s return.

Hamshahri, published by the Tehran municipality, announced that it was portraying “the story on the day that…IMAM HAS ARRIVED.” The paper even changed its fonts to reflect the style of Persian script in newspapers at the time.

Khomeini Iran revolution

Hamshahri was mirroring the February 1, 1979 edition of Ettalaat, Iran’s oldest newspaper, which famously proclaimed “IMAM HAS ARRIVED.” This front page is among the most famous in Iran’s history.

Khomeini Iran revolution

Kayhan, the hardline newspaper closely linked to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, published the image of Khomeini’s short drive from Mehrabad Airport in Tehran to Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. Khomeini is sitting in the passenger’s seat of the station wagon as it is swarmed by supporters.

Khomeini Iran revolution

Hardline newspaper Vatan-e Emrooz devoted its front page to a lengthy and triumphalist essay by a conservative commentator that intermixed comments by Khomeini with the nation’s recent accomplishments. Quoting Khomeini’s famous comment that “America cannot do a damn thing,” the author notes that, this year, “our friends and enemies will hear from us the slogan ‘Death to America’ heavier — much heavier!”

Khomeini Iran revolution

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Rome, Henry.Iran Edition: Commemorating Khomeini’s return.” Iran Matters, February 6, 2015, https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/iran-edition-commemorating-khomeinis-return.

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