Movement of 15 Khordad

Movement of 15 Khordad

Movement of 15 Khordad ( _fa. نهضت پانزده خرداد) which took place on June 5 in protest against the arrest of Ayatollah Khomeini. On June 3 Khomeini made a historical speech against the dependence of the Shah’s regime on foreign powers, and its support of Israel. He was immediately arrested, but his imprisonment inspired major public demonstrations of support, that were eventually crushed by government troops in tanks. [ [ The Biography Channel - Ayatollah Khomeini Biography ] ] This uprising marked a turning point in Pahlavi dynasty which finally result in Islamic revolution of Iran 15 years later.


In January 1963, the Shah announced the "White Revolution", a six-point program of reform calling for land reform, nationalization of the forests, the sale of state-owned enterprises to private interests, electoral changes to enfranchise women, profit sharing in industry, and an anti-illiteracy campaign in the nation's schools. All of these initiatives were regarded as dangerous, Westernizing trends by traditionalists, especially by the powerful and privileged Shiite ulama (religious scholars) who felt highly threatened. [ [] ]

Ayatollah Khomeini summoned a meeting of his colleagues (other Ayatollahs) in Qom and persuaded the other senior marjas of Qom to decree a boycott of the referendum on the White Revolution. On January 22, 1963 Khomeini issued a strongly worded declaration denouncing the Shah and his plans. Two days later Shah took armored column to Qom, and he delivered a speech harshly attacking the ulama as a class.

Khomeini continued his denunciation of the Shah's programs, issuing a manifesto that also bore the signatures of eight other senior religious scholars. In it he listed the various ways in which the Shah allegedly had violated the constitution, condemned the spread of moral corruption in the country, and accused the Shah of submission to America and Israel. He also decreed that the Norooz celebrations for the Iranian year 1342 (which fell on March 21, 1963) be canceled as a sign of protest against government policies.

Ayatollah Khomeini's sermon

On the afternoon of 'Ashoura (June 3, 1963), Ayatollah Khomeini delivered a speech at the Feyziyeh madreseh in which he drew parallels between the Umayyad caliph Yazid I and the Mohammad Reza Shah and warned the Shah that if he did not change his ways the day would come when the people would offer up thanks for his departure from the country. [ History of Iran: Ayatollah Khomeini ] ]

Arrest of Ayatollah Khomeini and revolt

The immediate effect of the Imam's speech was, however, his arrest two days later at 3 o'clock in the morning by a group of commandos who hastily transferred him to the Qasr prison in Tehran. As dawn broke on June 5, the news of his arrest spread first through Qom and then to other cities. In Qom, Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad and Varamin, masses of angry demonstrators were confronted by tanks and paratroopers. It was not until six days later that order was fully restored.

As Fateme Pakravan wife of Pakravan, chief of Savak says in her memoirs that her husband saved Ayatollah Khomeini’s life in 1963. Pakravan felt that his execution would anger the common people of Iran. He presented his argument to the shah. Once he had convinced the shah to allow him to find a way out, he called on Ayatollah Mohammad-Kazem Shariatmadari, one of the senior religious leaders of Iran, and asked for his help. Ayatollah Shariatmadari suggested that Khomeini be declared an Marja. So, other Marjas made a religious decree which was taken by Pakravan and Seyyed Jalal Tehrani to the Shah. [ [ Memoirs of Fatemeh Pakravan] ]

After nineteen days in the Qasr prison, Ayatollah Khomeini was moved first to the 'Eshratabad' military base and then to a house in the 'Davoudiyeh' section of Tehran where he was kept under surveillance. He was released on April 7, 1964, and returned to Qom.

ocio-political effects of Movement of 15 Khordad


ee also

* Ruhollah Khomeini
* White Revolution
* Iranian revolution

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