12. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State 1

882. Ayatollah Khomeini, at first imprisoned and later under house detention in connection 1963 Moharam riots and widely regarded as leading contender for position of Shia paramount leader, was released April 5 and returned to religious center of Qom. Press giving minimum play. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reports (1) millahs flocking to Qom from all over Iran to “kiss hands“, and (2) one tank battalion concentrated Qom outskirts as precautionary measure. No info whether Khomeini reached agreement with govt regarding any restriction on his future activities. Embassy [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] contacts with good connections in religious community view release as victory for Khomeini but also as wise policy decision by regime in preparation for Moharam, period of deep mourning starting May 13.

Request Baghdad and Karachi report any clerical reaction Khomeini’s release.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–9 IRAN. Confidential. Repeated to Baghdad and Karachi.