The former home of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who in 1979 led an uprising that ousted the Shah of Iran, is bustling with tourists on the 40th anniversary of the birth of the Islamic Republic.
Escaping for a moment Najaf’s crowded Shi’ite Muslim shrine nearby, they tour the humble home which is now a museum and gallery showcasing Khomeini’s political and personal life.
Khomeini’s Najaf abode, where he lived for 13 years before being expelled from Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1978, has little furniture.
Photos on the walls show Khomeini with his children and grandchildren, although most are iconic pictures of the uprising, including the takeover of Iran’s embassy in Paris by protesters and Khomeini’s arrival by plane in Tehran after the fall of the Shah.
Elahi, a logistics manager from Tehran, said he saw Khomeini’s legacy as an Iran that stands firm in the face of U.S. sanctions.
Khomeini’s Islamic republic, and the leadership that has followed it under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have been criticized internationally for crackdowns on political opponents, including during protests over alleged election fraud in 2009 and last year over wages and complaints of corruption.
Those visiting Khomeini’s Najaf home, all religious tourists, said they support Iran’s clerical establishment.
Khomeini mostly kept a low profile in Najaf, studying and lecturing, but also developed his ideas for a system of Islamic governance.
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