The ayatollah was determined to return to Iran after 15 years in exile and make the Shah's "vacation" permanent. So he made a personal appeal. In a first-person message, Khomeini told the White House not to panic at the prospect of losing a strategic ally of 37 years and assured them that he, too, would be a friend.ADDED: What Ebrahim Yazdi ("Iranian-American physician living in Houston, Texas, who became a spokesman and advisor to Khomeini") wrote to Warren Zimmerman ("a political counsellor with the US embassy in France, used as a messenger for the US to Khomeini"): "The Russian government is atheistic and anti-religion. We will definitely find it more difficult to have a deep understanding with the Russians. You are Christians and believe in God and they don't. We feel it easier to be closer to you than to Russians."
"You will see we are not in any particular animosity with the Americans," said Khomeini, pledging his Islamic Republic will be "a humanitarian one, which will benefit the cause of peace and tranquillity for all mankind"....
In the official Iranian narrative of the revolution, Khomeini bravely defied the United States and defeated "the Great Satan" in its desperate efforts to keep the Shah in power. But the documents reveal that Khomeini was far more engaged with the US than either government has ever admitted. Far from defying America, the ayatollah courted the Carter administration, sending quiet signals that he wanted a dialogue and then portraying a potential Islamic Republic as amenable to US interests.
June 3, 2016
Revealed at last, newly declassified: