Ayatollah Ruhollah Khoumeini, the 78-year-old Shi###ite leader who is believed to be emerging as Iran’s new ruler, said today that Jews will “enjoy all rights and full religious freedom” in an Iranian Islamic republic Khoumeini, who was addressing his followers at his villa at Neauphle-le-Chateau 25 miles from Paris, said that an Islamic republic “would mean for the Jews a return to the days of the emirs, when all then were equal and justice reigned.” (See Related Story.)
The Ayatollah, who was speaking in Persian, continued by saying “In those days, a Persian Jew lodged a complaint with the kadi (Moslem judge) against the emir himself. The kadi called on both men, the Jewish tradesman and the ruler, to appear before him. After questioning them he ruled in favor of the Jew and ordered the emir to pay him damages and a fine.”
Khoumeini, who according to close aides has been shocked to hear that he is being charged with anti-Semitism, concluded “shortly the Islamic republic of Iran will become a reality and all its citizens, Jews, Christians and Moslems will enjoy equal rights.” The Ayatollah added: “Those who say that Jews will be discriminated against under our rule are enemies of the Iranian people–foreigners who support the Shah.”
His aides later confirmed that Jews will enjoy equal rights but added that as far as Israel is concerned “not a single drop of oil will be shipped” as long as peace with the Arab states is not signed and the Palestinian refugees allowed to return to their homes.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.