Khomeini: Marx to Mohammed

Iranian patriarch Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has told Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev in a letter that communism is dead and he should study Islam. Tehran Radio said the letter marked Khomeini’s first message to a foreign leader since the 1979 revolution in which he overthrew the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The letter was delivered personally to Gorbachev in Moscow by Khomeini’s envoy, Ayatollah Abdullah Javadi Amoli, according to the Soviet news agency Tass. Tehran Radio quoted Khomeini’s son and chief aide, Ahmad, as saying the message praised Gorbachev’s boldness in instituting political and economic reforms, generally known as perestroika. “It is clear to everyone that communism should henceforth be sought in world museums of political history,” Ahmad quoted the message as saying. “Then the Honorable Imam (Khomeini) asked Mr. Gorbachev to seriously study and research Islam.” About 40 million Muslims live in the Soviet Union, many of them in areas close to the Iranian border and open to influence by Iran’s Islamic radicalism. Relations between the two countries improved last year when a cease-fire halted the war between Iran and Iraq, to whom Moscow supplied arms.

--Dan Moody has been invited to the party of his life, but back surgery is forcing him to be a no-show. Moody, 71, of Albany, Calif., who helped rescue George Bush from the Pacific Ocean more than 44 years ago, will have to skip the President-elect’s inauguration Jan. 20 because he can’t even ride in a car until Jan. 30. “It’s a $32-million party and I can’t go,” a clearly disappointed Moody said. The retired electronics technician said he hasn’t seen Bush since Sept. 2, 1944, off the Bonin Islands south of Japan when Moody was a torpedoman aboard the submarine Finback. The sub rescued crew members of a number of downed U.S. planes that day, and among them was Bush. “He survived, but two of his crewmen didn’t,” Moody recalled. “We brought him aboard, dried him out and gave him hot coffee.” Moody said he believed that all living crew members from the sub were invited to the inauguration.

--Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s honors list, Part 2. The British Consulate reports that among this year’s honorees are two Southern Californians: KABC radio talk-show host Michael Jackson, and Thomas J. D. Shepherd, chairman of the British American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Southwest. Jackson was named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and Shepherd an Officer of the Order. The awards carry lots of cachet, but no cash.