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Khomeini, Ruhallah Ayatullah (1902–1989)

The charismatic leader of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran, Sayyid Ruhallah began his political career as a revolutionary leader quite late in his life, when he had already attained the highest Shi'ite clerical rank of marja'-e taqlid (Source of Emulation) and bore the title of Grand Ayatullah (lit. “Sign of God”). His political campaign culminated in the overthrow of the monarchy on February 11, 1979. He was called Imam Khomeini by his followers during the revolution and was designated the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran in its 1979 constitution.

Ruhallah was born into a clerical family that traced its descent to the seventh Imam of the Twelver Shi'a, Musa al-Kazim, in the arid town of Khomein in central Iran, a few years ...

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