Imam Khomeini's historic interview in Paris before return to homeland

Imam Khomeini's historic interview in Paris before return to homeland

January 29, 1979 [Bahman 9, 1357 AHS / Safar 30, 1399 AH]

Place: Neauphle-le-Château, Paris

Subject: Behind-the-scene conspiracies; Bakhtiyār’s illegitimate government; necessity of resisting and continuing the struggle; reports from the world’s media and the radio-television networks

Interviewers: World’s media, radio and television broadcasting networks’ reporters


Question: [Will you grant audience to Bakhtiyār prior to his resignation?]

Answer: I have repeatedly said that, in principle, the former Shāh was illegitimate; the parliaments were illegal and Bakhtiyār was illegitimate, too. Hence, I will never meet with anyone who is illegally installed. I advise the Iranian nation to be very vigilant at this sensitive time; it should be aware that a conspiracy is at work. I have observed that those who were supporting the Shāh are now endorsing Bakhtiyār. Both the British and the American governments are supporting him. If this person is a true nationalist, as he claims he is, then why are they supporting him? If he is a nationalist, why has he occupied the post of a prime minister against the will of the nation and without legal consent? If he honors the votes of the people, then why would he not step aside?

The Iranian nation must know that I will stay by their side up until the end to uphold and protect the laws of Islam and will continue my struggle for the well-being of the country. It is incumbent upon the entire nation to remain steadfast in this affair and to refrain from any kind of lethargy and lassitude in this regard. Rest assured that we will emerge victorious, and our struggle is a struggle for the truth and the truth will prevail over the falsehood.


Q: [What will you do if a coup d’état is staged and if Bakhtiyār resigns or in case he does not?]

A: We are not afraid of a military coup d’état. The Iranian nation has become accustomed to military coup d’états. We have had coup d’états for the last fifty years: Ridā Khān’s[1] coup d’état[2] and Muhammad Ridā’s coup d’état.[3] We have become used to the coercive measures they employ. We fear no coup d’états. I am surprised that while we wish to rescue the armed forces from the evil of colonialism, some high-ranking officers want to remain as its servants. In principle, the armed forces are with us. In brief, we are not afraid of any coup d’états because the Iranian nation will continue the uprising and the movement until the end. The Iranian nation will not desist from carrying on the movement until the ultimate victory is achieved.


Q: [Why did you delay your decision to return to Iran?]

A: My decision (to return) has not changed, but in its desire to preserve the interest of the foreign powers, the illegitimate government has prevented my return to Iran. However, I will go back to Iran at the first chance I get and will retrieve the rights of the Iranian nation. Those who are committing treacheries against the Iranian nation should step aside. In addition, I have remained determined in my decision, and the Iranian nation, should be the same, too. It is not right for any individual among the nation to sit idle and quiet at this crucial juncture where everything is a matter of life and death.

O nation of Iran! Persist in continuing the movement, as power is yours. Do no fear the powers. You can set your country free through your national power and hold your destiny in your own hands. Heed not the hue and cry being raised. Be wary of the behind-the-scene conspiracies being hatched. May God, the Exalted, protect you.


[1] Ridā Khān, the father of the former Iranian monarch, Muhammad Ridā, came to power in Iran in the aftermath of a British sponsored coup d’état in 1920 and crowned himself as king in 1925. On September 11, 1941, when Iran was occupied by the Allied Forces during the height of World War II, Ridā Khān was deposed by the British and sent into exile to Mauritius Island, east of Africa. He finally died in July 1944 in exile.

[2] The British coup d’état of February 22, 1921 [Esfand 3, 1299 AHS].

[3] The American coup d’état of August 19, 1953 [Mordād 28, 1332 AHS].

Sahifeh,ye-Imam, Vol.6, pages 3-4

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