Reasons behind Imam Khomeini’s migration to Paris

Reasons behind Imam Khomeini’s migration to Paris

The Iraqi army surrounded Imam Khomeini's house in the first day of Mehr 1357 (1978) in the holy city of Najaf. The Muslims in Iran, Iraq and other countries reacted angrily to this news. Iraq's manager of security organization said in a meeting to Imam Khomeini that if he wants to stay in Iraq, he should let go off the combat and politics.

This came after in the late periods of Pahlavi government, while Imam Khomeini lived in Iraq in exile, there was held a meeting between Iran and Iraq's foreign ministers in New York in which they decided to dismiss Imam Khomeini from Iraq.  

In response, Imam Khomeini firmly stated he would never accept any compromise and getting silent in front of the responsibility he had toward the Islamic nations.

After consulting with his children (Seyed Ahmad Khomeini), he decided to migrate to Paris. He arrived to Paris in the 14th of Mehr, and two days later, he went to stay in one of the Iranian's house in Nofel Loshato (suburbs of Paris).

Imam Khomeini spent four months in Nofel Loshato which had become the most important news center of the world. 

At a meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran and Iraq in New York, a decision was made to deport Imam Khomeini from Iraq. On 2 Mehr 1357/24 September 1978, Iraqi troops laid siege to Imam Khomeini's house in Najaf. The news of the siege angered the Muslims in Iran, Iraq and in other countries.

In his visit to Imam Khomeini, Iraqi security chief, had indicated that if Imam wished to stay in Iraq he must give up his challenge and politics, and the Imam had strongly replied that, due to the responsibility he felt for the Muslim ummat, he was not willing to remain quiet nor was he willing to make a compromise.

On 12 Mehr, Imam Khomeini left Najaf for the border of Kuwait. The government of Kuwait did not let the Imam in on a hint by the Iranian regime. Previously, there was talk of Imam’s departure for Lebanon or Syria. However, after consulting his son (Hojjatol-Eslam Hajj Sayyed Ahmad Khomeini), the Imam decided to migrate to France and on 14 Mehr, he entered Paris and two days later, he was stationed in the house of an Iranian, in Neauphle-le Chateau (a suburb of Paris).

Officials of the Palace de l'Elyse apprised the Imam of the views of the French President that the Imam must not indulge in politics. The Imam's sharp reaction and answer was that such limitation contradicts the France's claim to democracy, and that he would rather, commute between airports, from one country to another than give up his objective.

Giscard d'Estaing, the then French President, has expressed in his memoirs that he had issued order that the Imam be expelled from France, but at the last moment the diplomatic delegates of the Shah, who were despondent in those days, advised Giscard d'Estaing of the danger of a vehement and uncontrollable reaction by the people, and had declared themselves exempt from the repercussions of such reaction, in Europe and in Iran. During the four-month stay of Imam Khomeini in Paris, Neauphle-le Chateau was the most important news center in the world.

Imam Khomeini's various interviews and his visits revealed to the world, his views of Islamic government, and the future aims of his movement.

Thus a larger number of people of the world became familiar with the Imam's thought and his uprising, and it was from this stage and station that he guided the most critical period of the movement in Iran.

The Sharif-Emami's government lasted no more than two months. The Shah bestowed chairmanship of the cabinet to Az-hari's military government.

Killings were accelerated, though they did not effect the people's uprising. The desperate Shah asked the American and British embassies for a solution but none of their former plans had been useful. Multi-million-man demonstrations, which were termed "people's informal referendum against the Shah's monarchy", were held on the days of Tasooa and Ashura (9th & 10th of Moharram), in Tehran and other cities.

Shapoor Bakhtiar, a National Front top man was the U.S.'s last dice to be introduced to the Shah as the Prime Minister. Leaders of the four industrial nations at Guadalupe had expressed their joint views in support of Bakhtiar.

Following this, General Huyser, Deputy Commander of NATO, made a trip to Iran on a secret mission for two months.

He later revealed in his confessions that his mission was to secure the support of the military forces for Bakhtiar, to organize his government, break up the strikes and prepare a coup d'etat for returning the Shah to power--similar to what had happened on 28 Mordad 1332.

But, Imam Khomeini's messages about the necessity to continue the fights, made all Huyser's plans fall through.

In Day 1357/December 1978, Imam Khomeini established the Revolutionary Council. The Shah fled the country on 26 Day, two days after calling to meeting the Council of Monarchy and obtaining vote of confidence for Bakhtiar’s cabinet.

News of the Shah's departure delighted the people in Tehran, and then all over the country people poured out in the streets, singing and dancing. Huyser's regular meetings with U.S. military advisors and generals of the Shah's army could not help Bakhtiar to suppress the strikes and end the people's uprising.

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