June 3, 1989 was a sad day not only for the people of Iran but for all committed Muslims worldwide.
It was on this day 32 years ago that Imam Khomeini, a giant figure in Islamic history, left this temporary abode to join heavenly company.
He is the only leader in contemporary Islamic history to have brought about a genuine Islamic revolution in society.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the fruit of that glorious revolution that not only overthrew the tyrannical regime of the Shah but also defeated his foreign backers and masters: the US, Zionist Israel, Britain and a host of other predatory powers.
The Imam’s achievement was all the more remarkable because for 15 years he had lived in exile, expelled by the tyrannical ruler, the Shah.
Yet so profound was his influence and impact that he directed the revolution using the simple cassette tape, sending messages to the people of Iran.
Imam Khomeini did not have an army of armed men at his disposal.
His followers—primarily the youth of Iran—were armed with only Imaan (faith-commitment to Allah) and the courage of conviction.
He inspired them to make sacrifices for their cause which was based on truth and justice.
The Imam not only showed them the directional course but also guided them to victory without resorting to arms.
This is not to suggest that there was no bloodshed.
The Shah’s army resorted to indiscriminate firing against unarmed civilians including mothers carrying babies in their arms.
From January 1978 to February 1979, the Shah’s army slaughtered an estimated 80,000 people.
Every bloodbath brought out more people into the streets heightening their commitment to the struggle and their hatred of the puppet Shah.
After a year-long struggle that was entirely peaceful and offered more than 80,000 martyrs, the Shah fled Iran.
His regime collapsed, and on February 11, 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran came into existence.
It was the first time in contemporary history that a genuine Islamic State free from the coercive demands of predatory powers emerged on the world stage.
Lessons from the Seerah of the noble Messenger (pbuh) show that the enemies of Allah will not allow such a state to survive and develop in peace.
It would be attacked as was the case with the first Islamic State in history that was established in Madinah.
The imperialists and Zionists’ first attack occurred through internal sabotage.
They had thousands of paid agents inside the Islamic Republic. Some had even penetrated the inner ruling circle.
People like Bani Sadr and Sadeq Qutbzadeh who rose to positions of president and foreign minister respectively in the Islamic Republic attempted to undermine the governing system from within.
Bani Sadr fled the country, disguised as a woman!
Qutbzadeh was arrested and after an open trial, executed for treason.
These treasonous acts were preceded by a campaign of sabotage and assassinations.
Hundreds of leading figures of the revolution were gunned down or blown up in terrorist acts.
While the campaign of internal sabotage was underway and the enemies of the Islamic Republic thought they had weakened it internally, an invasion from Iraq was launched in September 1980.
Outwardly led by the regime of Saddam Husain, it had the backing of all the western powers including then Soviet Union, as well as the Arabian regimes.
For eight years, the people of Iran led by the Imam withstood this onslaught all alone.
Not one country came to its help. No weapons were sold to it.
The Iraqi regime of Saddam Husain was not only provided lethal weapons and intelligence information, but also chemical and biological weapons to use against Islamic Iran.
Tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers and revolutionary guards were poisoned with chemical and biological weapons.
Despite the use of such weapons being expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, the UN Security Council refused to name the culprit.
How could it when it was and is dominated by the same predatory powers that were backing, arming and financing Saddam’s regime.
Despite these challenges, the Islamic Republic survived, thanks to the Imam’s leadership and his complete faith in Allah’s power and help.
One of the first acts of the Imam after the victory of the Islamic revolution was to expel Zionist Israel’s ambassador from Iran and hand over the keys of the embassy to the Palestinians.
The Imam declared the Zionist regime in Occupied Palestine illegal and urged Muslims and people of conscience everywhere to rise up against this usurper regime.
The Palestinian people’s resolve and resilience in the face of Zionist barbarism today is the direct result of the Imam’s call to the Muslim Ummah to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
The Imam declared the last Friday of Ramadan as Quds Day to draw attention to Israel’s illegal occupation of the noble sanctuary and the holy city.
It was the towering personality of Imam Khomeini steeped in taqwa that inspired not only Muslims but all the oppressed people worldwide.
He led a simple and humble life without any personal, parochial or class interests.
It is Islamic Iran’s determination to remain independent and pursue the Islamic paradigm as inspired by the Imam that has led millions of people everywhere to rise up for their independence and a life of dignity.
Today, US imperialism and Zionist racism are on the defensive.
Islamic strugglers everywhere are showing great resolve in pursuit of their legitimate rights.
That day is drawing near when the holy land of Palestine will be liberated from the clutches of Zionism.
Similarly, US imperialism will be banished from all Muslim lands.
While the Imam has joined his Creator—as all human beings would do—his legacy lives on in the Islamic Republic.
Imam Seyyed Khamenei has proved a worthy successor who represents Islamic leadership at its best. Allahu Akbar!