Khomeini’s Secret Letter to the Kennedy Administration


Unsurprisingly, BBC news revealed a secret report, released by the United States government that refers to the cooperation of Iranian rebels at that time, led by Khomeini – the founder of Iran’s Islamic Republic with the US government in order to overthrow the former Iranian Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The report was released at the threshold of Tehran’s 27th commemoration of Khomeini’s death. BBC news wrote that one of Qum’s – Shiite scientific city – scholars, who was under house arrest, was in contact with the US government during the presidency of the Democrat John Kennedy behind the scenes, away from the eyes of SAVAK organization. In a leaked document published by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Khomeini, after months of being released in November 1963, was not considered one of the Iranian prominent references. He was strongly focused on the Shah’s white revolution, which was a social and economic reform program that brought considerable controversy inside Iran because it gave the Iranian women the right to vote, and granted territories of some feudal lords to people. In Nowruz 1962 public condolence was declared in Iran because of the amendments of the tyrannical regime that gave equal rights to women same as men. A year later, he was arrested after his decisive speech in which he wondered about the faith and religion of Shah. Khomeini described Shah as an agent of Israel, but never mentioned his own main sponsor, the United States.
In a CIA document, titled, “Islam in Iran,” Khomeini sent a secret letter to the Kennedy administration after several months of his release from jail in Qaitaria-Tehran, November 1963. Khomeini explained “his verbal attack should not be misinterpreted since he stands up for the American interests in Iran. The US embassy report, which includes the full letter of Khomeini, is currently classified in United States national archive. Nevertheless, the summary of this letter was released in the document of “Islam in Iran”. In fact, this letter is a research report of 81 pages, dated March 1980. It contains past activities of Khoie, Shariatmadari, and Khomeini as well. The CIA reviewed this letter in 2005 after being declassified, but omitted several critical parts of it, including the one related to Khomeini’s letter. The Library of former US President Jimmy Carter published another edition of the document including a paragraph of Khomeini’s letter on its website in December 2008. According to the letter, Khomeini explained that he was not against the US interests in Iran, but on the contrary, he believed that its presence in Iran is a need in order to make balance against the Soviet Union and the anticipated British influence. According to the document, it was sent to the US embassy in Tehran ten days ahead of the former Soviet Union president visit Leonid Brezhnev through an un-politicized religious scholar called Mirza Khalili Jamrahi.
The letter also included Khomeini’s beliefs about the intimate collaboration of Islam with other religions of the world, especially Christianity. The leaking of this letter coincided with the 27th commemoration of Khomeini’s death, which turned into a platform of defending him and his principles, especially; his claims of attacking the United States and describing it as the” Great Satan”. The first defender was Ibrahim Yazdi, the first minister of foreign affairs of Iran after the revolution in 1979, and the constant escort of Khomeini in his exile in Novel de Chateau-France. Yazdi considered what was revealed in the BBC report as an incomplete summary of the fifth and last letter to be exchanged. The letter stated: “we do not have any special enmity with the American people”, denying that Khomeini had sent any personal letters to Jimmy Carter, President of the United States at that time. He added that Carter sent a letter responding to Khomeini and Gary Sick released this letter for the first time, who is a member of the US National Security Council in Carter’s administration. Yazdi stressed that the leaders of the Revolution few weeks before victory negotiated with officials in the United States via three channels but not two as stated in the BBC report. The first one is from the Council of Revolution side, Engineer Mehdi Bazrjan, Dr. yadollah Sahabi, and Mousavi Ardebili, who were in contact with the US embassy employee, Sullivan Wastambel. The second channel was through Dr. Mohammad Beheshti directly with Sullivan in Tehran; and finally through Zimmerman in Paris with Khomeini.
Yazdi also denied any contact with the US Department of State during the pre-revolutionary era, opposing what was revealed in the BBC report. The only contact with US Department of State officials after the revolution was through his duties and protocol procedures as a minister of foreign affairs in the acting government of engineer Bazrjan. On the contrary of the report, during the events of the occupation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the triumph of the revolution at the sunset of February 10th, 1979, “Baheshti” did not participate in the delegation that was sent by Khomeini to secure the senior military leaders and advisers of the US military, including General Philippe Justi. Actually, Movahedi Kermani who was mistakenly thought to be Doctor Bahishia accompanied them. In addition, “Shahriar Rouhani” was not a delegate and spokesperson for Khomeini. He was employed by the Iranian embassy in Washington after the discharge of Ardeshir Zahedi, Ambassador of Shah. He contacted Khomeini’s delegation in Paris, asking for directives about his duties. Khomeini also commissioned a prominent Iranian physician in the United States to help the embassy delegation. This committee handed over its responsibilities to the newly-appointed ambassador after the inauguration of Dr. Sahabi secretary of state. The strange matter is that Gary Sick denied the Khomeini sending letters to the two presidents of the US, considering that broadcasting such a report is only a storm in a teacup, denying his knowledge of any personal letter to President Kennedy in 1963, and claiming that it had never happened.
During the commemoration of Khomeini’s death, with the presence of his grandchildren, senior officials of the state, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the latter attacked the United States and accused it of counterfeiting this document. Khamenei explained its leaking as an indication of the American and British hostility, saying, “in this occasion of Khomeini’s commemoration, the propaganda organs of the British government published a document against the Imam”, and wondered about the source of this document? He added: “Do Americans who targeted a civilian airplane have any deterrent to counterfeiting facts, since they are, side by side with the British government, in hostility toward Iran?.
Assistant chief of organizing and publishing the Khomeini activities enterprise, Hamid Ansari, considered that the latest report of exchanging letters between Khomeini and Kennedy in 1963 lacks any legal status and does not come from any reliable sources.
This document is one clear example of Iran’s alliance with what Iranians call the” Great Satan”. The Iranian goal is to preserve their interests and ambitions in the region, especially after negotiating their nuclear program. Consequently, they can maintain their presence and domination of the region. Moreover, they can interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring countries, especially Arab neighbors, and create more bodies that go beyond the boundaries of state power, and finally, bestow their loyalty to Iran rather than to their homeland.


Editorial Team