Democracy in Iran fruit of Imam Khomeini Thoughts

3 June 2021

During Islamic Republic, Sharia (Islamic law) was introduced. Shortly after the return of Imam Khomeini from exile in 1979, he issued a fatwa ordering that Jews and other minorities be treated well. By law, several seats in the Parliament are reserved for minority religions. Imam Khomeini also called for unity between Sunni and Shia Muslims (Sunni Muslims are the largest religious minority in Iran).

And ten days later by the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini declared a provisional government. On March 30, 1979, and March 31, 1979, Iranian vote in a referendum on the question of accepting an Islamic Republic as the new system of the country. Through the ballot box, over 98% voted in favor of replacing the monarchy with an Islamic Republic. The constitution requires that a president be elected every four years. This democratic process has continued and now the 13th presidential election in Iran is scheduled to be held on June 18. In addition to that, 10 parliamentary elections and dozens of elections for city and village councils and the Assembly of Experts have been held so far.

Death and funeral

After eleven days in a hospital for an operation to stop internal bleeding, Imam Khomeini died of cancer on Saturday, June 3, 1989, at the age of 89. Many Iranians mourned Imam Khomeini's death and poured out into the cities and streets. More than 10 million people from across the country attended Imam Khomeini’s funeral to form one of the largest ever funerals in the world.

Following Imam Khomeini’s demise, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei came to be selected on June 4, 1989 by the Assembly of Experts to be his successor, in accordance with the Constitution.

More than 10 million people from across the country attended Imam Khomeini’s funeral to form one of the largest ever funerals in the world

Political thought and legacy

Imam Khomeini expressed support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; in Sahifeh Nour (Vol. 2, page 242), he states: "We would like to act according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We would like to be free. We would like independence."

Apartheid Regime of South Africa

Iran's relations with the apartheid regime were severed after the revolution, and this was one of the Imam's strategic decisions made even before the victory of the revolution.

Imam had already said "if the revolution wins, we will sever ties with the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

This happened in the early days after the victory of the revolution, and the revolutionary government of Iran expelled the Consul General of South Africa at that time, cut off all political, economic and military ties with the apartheid regime and fully supported their rightful struggles.

The history of relations between the two great nations of Iran and South Africa has been marked by the collapse of apartheid and the rise of a non-racial and democratic government over the past 25 years.

This is one of the honors of the revolution and the system of the Islamic Republic, Nelson Mandela always emphasized and hailed it as good decision. Despite pressure from major powers, the Iranian people have resolutely and courageously continued to support relations between the two countries.

After being released from prison and while busy with his political and social activities, Nelson Mandela acknowledged many times that Imam Khomeini had been an inspiration for him on his path. He considered Imam Khomeini to be an awakening force for all his contemporary monotheists. He described Imam Khomeini as being not only the leader of the Islamic Revolution but also the leader of all freedom-seeking movements throughout the entire world.

Supporting Palestine

Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran was a regional ally for Israel and it was the main destination of Israeli-made goods, and at the same time, Iran’s oil shipped to Israel. But Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini the leader and founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran recognized the Palestinian issue as one of the Islamic principles and opposed the alliance with Israel.

Imam Khomeini referred to the Shah’s cooperation with Israel as one of the reasons that he was overthrown. “At the time of the war between Israel and Islamic countries, the Shah of Iran continued to ship Muslim’s oil to Israel,” Imam Khomeini said.

With the victory of the Islamic Revolution, a new balance of power was created in the region, as Israel lose an important ally and at the same time the Islamic Republic of Iran became a strict opponent to Israel.

Imam Khomeini repeatedly stressed that Israel is a “cancerous tumor that must be eliminated”, and on the other hand put the Palestinian resistance as a religious duty for all Muslims.

He also forbade any peace with the Palestine occupiers, saying that the liberation of Palestine is the topmost Islamic priority and it should not be the subject of any negligence.

He suggested to the Palestinian people that it is the resistance that can realize the liberation of Palestine.

Imam Khomeini in his next major decision designated the last Friday of Ramadan as the International Quds Day to remove regional and Islamic borders from the Palestinian issue and made it an international matter. The International Quds Day keeps the Palestinian issue fresh and makes the Islamic nations contemplate the occupation of Palestine.

Furthermore, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini described Palestine as the key solution to the world’s problems. There is no doubt that Imam Khomeini revived the Palestinian nation to rise for their liberations. He created clusters of Palestinian supporters around the world to bring the fight against Israel outside Palestinian groups.

The new wave of resistance against Israel after the Islamic Revolution totally transformed the Palestinian resistance and it led to widespread rises across the occupied territories of Palestine, which are known as “Intifada” and caused Israeli troops to withdraw from the besieged Gaza Strip. Now, the Gaza Strip, with Iran’s support, has created a new deterring power against the Zionist enemy. The powerful Zionist army has now become fearful of the Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza.

This Friday, 4 June 2021, marks the 32nd anniversary of the demise of Imam Khomeini, Founder of Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Embassy of Iran in South Africa