Khomeini Reappears and Warns Iraq Against Raids
Iran’s leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, made a rare public appearance Thursday and warned Iraq against resuming air and missile strikes on his country. Iran is “not tired of war,” he said.
Khomeini, 85, appeared in good health and spoke in a forceful voice in a heavily fortified mosque in the Jamran area of north Tehran, where he lives.
His brief speech was interrupted by the crowd chanting the familiar “Death to America, Death to the Soviet Union, Death to Israel!” and also “Oh God, allow Khomeini to live until the arrival of the Mahdi (the Muslim messiah).”
Among his audience were several hundred government and military officials, foreign diplomats and members of revolutionary organizations.
Reviling his archenemy, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, as “stupid,” Khomeini said “he should not repeat these bombings because the people are now stronger.”
“We hope this mischief will be stopped. We are capable of meeting the challenge of these mischiefs and of retaliating.”
Although Iraq has dropped “thousands of bombs on our border towns and big cities,” Khomeini said, “The people are not tired of the war.”
The crowd replied by shouting, “War, war until victory!”
‘Unprecedented in History’
Khomeini said Islam has made the Iranian people godly “to the extent that they are now dressing their children in burial shrouds and saying we want to send them to be martyred. . . . This is unprecedented in the history of man.”
Demonstrations were conducted Thursday by Iranian exile opponents of Khomeini in Washington, Paris, New Delhi and other world cities. In the Washington protest, a crowd estimated at 3,200 saw a demonstrator dressed as the Iranian ruler, carrying a sickle and wearing bloody rubber gloves, march across a stage in Washington’s Lafayette Square. Actors dressed in striped prison clothes chanted through the bars of a cardboard jail.
They praised leaders of the Iranian resistance movement.
An actor was dragged out of the simulated jail by people dressed as Khomeini soldiers, carrying toy rifles. They pretended to kill a man with an electrified wire, to the sound of a wailing woman.
Accompanied by tape-recorded rifle fire, an 8-year-old boy, dressed in an oversized uniform, sobbed on the stage before the crowd. “I just cry for them, I’m not scared,” the boy, Jamar Rasouli, said.
Iran and Iraq went to war in September, 1980, in a dispute over the Shatt al Arab waterway that separates their countries and amid a power struggle for dominance in the Shia Muslim world. As the bitter fighting has dragged on, Iraq has repeatedly called for peace negotiations, but Khomeini has refused to end the fighting until Hussein is overthrown.
Last month, the Iraqis launched a series of bombing raids on Iranian cities and towns, including Tehran.