Accessibility links

Breaking News

February 1979: Ayatollah Khomeini Returns To Iran From Exile

The return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran on February 1, 1979, marked a turning point in Iranian history. Millions of followers turned out in Tehran to greet Khomeini as he arrived from Paris, where he had spent 14 years in exile as an outlawed cleric.

Iran's ruler at the time, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, had fled the country two weeks before Khomeini came back. In March, Khomeini led the drafting of a constitution for the renamed Islamic Republic of Iran.

He was officially installed as supreme leader after a referendum in November 1979.