khomeini, ayatollah ruhollah

Cultural Dictionary
Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah [(eye-uh-toh-luh rooh-hoh-luh khoh-may-nee, koh-may-nee)]

An Iranian religious and political leader of the twentieth century. Imposing rule by Islamic law (see Islam) and determined to rid Iran of foreign, and especially American, influences, he became virtual dictator of Iran in 1979. With his blessing, Iranian militants held American diplomats as hostages from 1979 to 1981. He died in 1989.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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