• Short Summary

    In Paris, former Iranian Prime Minister Shapur Bakhtiar has predicted that unofficial Iranian head of state Ayatollah Khomeini will be toppled within six months.

  • Description

    GV & SV Europe One building and sign

    SV & CU Bakhtiar speaking to press and press listening (9 SHOTS)

    Initials CLM/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Paris, former Iranian Prime Minister Shapur Bakhtiar has predicted that unofficial Iranian head of state Ayatollah Khomeini will be toppled within six months. In an interview on French radio, Dr. Bakhtiar said he saw clear signs of imminent economic and social failure in Iran.

    SYNOPSIS: Dr. Bakhtiar who now lives in Paris was speaking at the headquarters of Europe One radio station. He told interviewers he believed Ayatollah Khomeini would be deposed within six months. He compared the Ayatollah's regime to an "over-ripe fruit" that would eventually fall. The reason, he said, was that it was not a true government of the people, but one which had been imposed upon them.

    Some people, he said, had believed the Ayatollah's arrival from French exile would solve all the country's problems. Their ideas had been drastically altered. Even the clergy were not fully behind him, said Dr. Bakhtiar. Asked about the Ayatollah's Islamic policies, Dr. Bakhtiar accused him of having a peculiarly independent interpretation of the faith, which did not in any way agree with the interpretations of other Islamic leaders such as King Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Anwar Sadat. He attributed this to the fact that the Ayatollah is a Shia Moslem.

    But the interview's main revelation was that Dr. Bakhtiar plans to return to Iran during the Ayatollah's reign. He could not be drawn on the question of an exact date, but suggested it might be in six or seven months. His most urgent priority, he said, was to use democratic means to convince the many thousands who had mistakenly thought of Khomeini as a social saviour. Many of these people, said Dr. Bakhtiar, now saw the error of their ways, but were unable to do anything, since the Ayatollah and his colleagues did not allow any opposition either in the political arena or in the Press. Some undercover resistance groups had already sprung up, said Dr, Bakhtiar, while may other people had been "polarised" by the Ayatollah's extreme policies, into joining radical leftist groups. When questioned about the possibility of the Shah returning, Dr. Bakhtiar said he was convinced the Shah had gone for good. He himself had been imprisoned many times by the Shah, whereas the Ayatollah had only been jailed for a few months. Dr. Bakhtiar also claimed to have freed many of the Shah's political prisoners before being forced to flee for his life upon Khomeini's arrival in Iran.

    He then went on to criticise the Ayatollah for his "insecurity", especially with regard to technological advancement, claiming the reason he opposed this, as many things, was that it threatened his own position. This however, was not the case with Iran's present Prime Minister Mr. Mehdi Bazargan, whom Dr. Bakhtiar described as "impotent". In conclusion, Dr. Bakhtiar said the "Khomeini phenomenon" could not be classified as a genuine popular revolution. The Ayatollah had no genuine doctrine to offer, he said, but had merely imposed his views upon the Iranian people. If those people really wanted a genuine revolution, they would have to achieve it by other means.

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