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this day in history 1979

Ayatollah returns to Iran

On February 1, 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Tehran, Iran, after 15 years of exile in Iraq and France and takes control of the Iranian Revolution. Khomeini, a leader of the Shiite branch of Islam, was expelled from Iran in 1964 after calling for the overthrow of the shah of Iran and the establishment of an Islamic state. He continued to incite his followers during his exile, and in February 1979 returned to Iran two weeks after Islamic revolutionaries forced the shah to flee. With religious fervor running high, he consolidated his authority and set out to transform Iran into a clerical state under his supreme authority. He died in 1989 after a decade of controversial rule.