U.N.’s Richard Falk justifies his 1979 “Trusting Khomeini” NYT op-ed

As the IAEA and the international community increasingly focus on the Iranian government’s menacing race for a nuclear bomb, a new article on the 1979 revolution by Richard Falk, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s permanent investigator of “Israel’s violations of the bases and principles of international law,” reminds us once again how he was a key U.S. promoter of the fundamentalist regime’s establishment. And how he today remains completely unrepentant.

Days after Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in 1979, Falk reassured the world, in a New York Times op-ed titled “Trusting Khomeini,” that “the depiction of him as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false.”

Khomeini’s entourage, wrote Falk, had “a notable record of concern for human rights.” Indeed, the ayatollah’s “new model of popular revolution” offered the world “a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country.”

Falk’s long-winded pondering about his actions leading up to the revolution reaches the happy conclusion that he was completely justified all along:

I continue to believe that despite the dangers of visionary politics, it is the only hope we have as a species of creating a sustainable and just future for humanity.

Falk wants us to believe that his endorsement of Khomeini made complete sense because it was “authentic” and based on his “best understanding” at the time:

I am inclined to think that my response to what took place in Iran was authentic at its various phases, reflecting my best understanding of the unfolding circumstances, adjusting my evaluations phase by phase. I prefer such a view, even in retrospect, to indifference to the Shah’s oppressive regime, while realizing that drastic change, especially in a country endowed with abundant oil reserves, is almost certain to be a rocky road. Should I have been immediately more suspicious of Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic dimensions of the revolution? Probably, but it was not clear at the time…

Not clear at the time? Not to Falk, perhaps. But to others, it was very clear. Shortly after Falk’s “Trusting Khomeini” op-ed, the Times’ own Anthony Lewis wrote a column entitled “Trusting Illusions.”

Falk’s assurances, said Lewis, were “outstandingly silly.” His analysis was “distorted,” he added. “No one should have expected Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini to to  be comfortable liberal — or stable.”

Folly carries a price, and legions of Iranian men and women—brutalized, tortured and raped by the Islamic Republic—continue to pay the price for what Richard Falk and others helped install.

As is his wont, Falk finds a way at the end of his 1979 memoir to insert a contemporary attack against Israel and the U.S., while completely ignoring Iran’s race for the nuclear bomb and — despite his being a U.N. expert — all of the UN Security Council resolutions and damning IAEA reports about Iran’s furtive, illegal and alarming activities, which now threaten the peace of the world.

For more on Richard Falk, click here.

1 Response to “U.N.’s Richard Falk justifies his 1979 “Trusting Khomeini” NYT op-ed”


  • The Iran – Iraq war happened during the rule of Ayatollah Khomeini from September 1980 to August 1988.The crime of war and war crimes (gross violations of Geneva conventions inspite of knowing fully well
    what they are) were all done when he was the ruler. Mr Ayatollah Khomeini knowingly did the crime of war and the war crimes. He had the power prevent the war and the crimes in it, which he did not.
    Mr Richard Falk seems to be driving his car only in the reverse gear.

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