Khatami Renews Allegiance to Imam Khomeini's Ideals

January 31, 2001 - 0:0
TEHRAN The Iranian people were making preparations to stage the greatest historical welcome for the arrival of the Grand Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini on Feb. 1, 1979, or Bahman 12, 1357 in the Iranian calendar.

On that day, the people were chanting the slogan "Today Righteousness Is Restored and Evil Is Annihilated."

On the dawn of Thursday, January 31, at the last minutes of the military rule, millions of men, women and children from different Iranian cities went toward the Mehrabad International Airport to welcome the late Imam, who was returning home after some 15 years of living in exile.

The streets leading to the airport were washed and decked with flowers and banners welcoming the Leader.

When the plane carrying Imam Khomeini home landed at Mehrabad Airport, the elder brother of the Imam, Ayatollah Pasandideh, Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari and Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleqani boarded the plane to welcome the Imam.

At 9:27 a.m., the late Imam got off the plane and stepped on the soil of his homeland after years of living in exile.

Addressing the people present at the airport, Imam Khomeini said, "I thank the people from all walks of life for their kindness. I praise their sacrifices that led to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Of course the final victory will be achieved when the hands of foreigners exploiting our country are cut off."

Then the Imam went to the Tehran cemetery, where a large number of people martyred by the former regime had been buried. The streets leading to the cemetery were lined with people, whose number the foreign reporters estimated at around five to six million.

In his historical address to the people who had gathered at the cemetery, the Imam said, "We made great sacrifices for the victory of revolution. When I see the parents of those martyred for the sake of revolution, I feel a heavy burden on my shoulders that I cannot bear."

He added, "The fate of any nation is in its own hands. The monarchial regime of Mohammadreza (Pahlavi) has destroyed our country and can no longer rule the people. Enjoying the support of the people, I will assign a new government."

The welcome extended to Imam Khomeini by the Iranian people was unprecedented in the world. The illegal government of the then prime minister Shahpour Bakhtiar was shocked by the welcome. Bakhtiar had ordered the TV and radio not to cover the people's welcome and Imam's speech. But the speech was recorded and later distributed among the people. Meanwhile on Tuesday, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and his cabinet minsters paid tribute to the late Imam at his mausoleum to mark the historical date.

In an interview with the reporters, President Mohammad Khatami here on Tuesday stressed that the presence of the Iranian nation in the scene was the secret to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Khatami, welcomed by the Imam's grandson Hojjatoleslam Hassan Khomeini, also renewed allegiance to the aspirations of the late Imam.

President Khatami further referred to Bahman 12, Feb. 1, the day Imam Khomeini returned to the country after 15 years of exile, as a day which reminds everyone of the most important incident in the history of the Islamic Revolution.

The late Imam's commitment to religion and Islam was another reason for the triumph of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he added.

Independence, struggle against foreign hegemonies, freedom and people's sovereignty over their fate as well as establishment of a republic system were among objectives of the Islamic Revolution, the president noted.

The president further stressed that continuation of the Imam's line is indebted to the revolution's spirituality, the values for which the Iranian people sacrificed their lives, strengthening of the pillars of the Islamic Republic, the basic rights provided for the nation and strengthening of economic, scientific and social potentials of the country.

"We, as the officials of the system, are duty-bound to help strengthen the Islamic Republic in different economic, cultural, scientific and social areas," President Khatami reiterated.

The Islamic Iran, which enjoys an outstanding status throughout the globe, can be introduced to the world as a model of developed country in which the rights of people are provided and divine values are secured, he said.