The following selection consists of excerpts from the writings of Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shi’ite Muslim who was often called imam (“leader” or “model”) and ayatollah (major religious leader). Khomeini was born in Iran at the beginning of the twentieth century—some sources say in 1900, others 1902—and by the early 1960s he was acclaimed the “grand ayatollah.” His opposition to the pro-Western government of the Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, led to Khomeini’s forcible exile in 1964. Khomeini settled in neighboring Iraq, where he continued to denounce the Shah’s regime as ruthless, corrupt, and contrary to the true teachings of Islam. In 1978 the new leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, forced Khomeini into exile again. This time he settled in a suburb of Paris. From this location Khomeini continued his campaign against the Shah’s government until massive street demonstrations in Iran’s capital forced the Shah to flee to the United States. Khomeini returned to Iran in triumph in February 1979. That December a referendum declared Iran to be an Islamic republic with Khomeini as its political and religious leader for life—a position he held until his death in 1989. The following selection, written before the revolution that brought Khomeini to power, gives a clear indication both of his objection to “corrupt” regimes, such as that of the Shah, and of what he thought an Islamic government should do. The explanatory notes were written by the translator, Hamid Algar.