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The 15 Khordad Uprising

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June, 5, 1963 A.D.:
The 15 Khordad Uprising

By: Mir M.Hosseini

Almost ten years after the CIA backed coup in 1953, the 15 Khordad uprising on June, 5, 1963 was the incident which actually ignited the Islamic Revolution in 1979. From the early hours of the day, people took their anger to the streets of Qom to protest Imam Khomeini's arrest. He was taken arrested after he made a speech against the regime on the day of Ashura despite strict orders which asked the clerics not to criticize Shah, not to talk against Israel, and not to mention that Islam was in danger.
On the same day, other demonstrations took place simultaneously in Shiraz, Mashhad, Tehran and Varamin. Protestors chanted anti-Shah slogans in support of Imam Khomeini.
Armed forces opened fire on unarmed civilians. Thousands of people were killed but demonstrations continued for a few days. One of the most dramatic incidents was the massacre of farmers of Varamin who were marching towards Tehran. They became martyr at the Bagherabad Bridge.
After the protestors were silenced, Shah accused them with having ties to foreign countries specifically Jamal Abdolnaser, the revolutionary Egyptian leader at the time. Prime Minister Alam threatened supporters with military tribunals and execution.
Imam Khomeini was freed from prison after two months and Alam was dismissed from duty on March, 7, 1964. Alam became the scapegoat to put all the blame on. Khomeini returned to Qom on April, 7 but he was quick in clearing the propaganda that made people believe he had made a compromise for his liberty. In his speech he made 3 days later on April, 10; he said that he was not the kind of Mullah to sit in silence or lead ceremonies on Sundays like Pope. He made it clear that he aimed to continue his fight against the Shah's regime. Under his leadership, Iran transformed from monarchy to Islamic Republic.

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