A Khomeini Breaks With His Lineage to Back U.S.: "The grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the strident Iranian cleric who built his Islamic revolution on a platform of attacking all things American, said today that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would allow long-awaited freedoms to flourish throughout the region, and if they did not, United States intervention would be welcomed by most Iranians.
The grandson, Sayyid Hussein Khomeini, also suggested that any Iraqi Shiites calling for an Islamic theocracy here were misguided, probably financed by Iran and lacked the experience or understanding to know how badly the Iranian revolution had failed. ..
The young Mr. Khomeini apparently holds none of his grandfather's animosity toward the United States, correcting a reporter forming a question about the American occupation of Iraq to note that it should be called a "liberation." ..
Mr. Khomeini indicated that he could be the vanguard of a considerable number of senior Shiite clerics who are opposed to the way the clergy ruling Iran have used religion as a form of oppression and who will move to Iraq's shrine cities once the violence ebbs. But at present he is little known. ..
"Naturally if the Hawza is located in a free country," he said, using the common word for the entire Shiite seminary movement, "that will give space for debate, for free discussions and so of course there will be an exodus from Qum." The holy city of Qum is Iran's leading religious center. "If Qum remains under the same kind of oppressive atmosphere, everyone will come to Najaf," he added, referring to the Iraqi holy city. ..
He noted the incongruities separating the seminary cities on opposite sides of the border. In Qum, he said, most religious scholars oppose mixing politics and religion but toe the line in public because that is what the supreme leader demands. The senior ayatollahs of Najaf, on the other hand, oppose mixing politics and religion but have been making some political remarks — demanding elections over who will write the constitution, for example — because that is what the Iraqi public expects of them.
Rather than religious rule, he suggested that Shiites should overcome their historical persecution complex by pushing for a democratic government that respects their rights.
He grinned at the idea that he was following in the footsteps of other famous revolutionary offspring, like the daughters of Stalin and later Castro, who split with their families and sought refuge with the United States.
Mr. Khomeini said he broke with his grandfather in the early days of the revolution over the killing of people with even minor links to the shah's regime, which he did not believe religious law sanctioned. ..
Mr. Khomeini said that some Muslims in Iraq were quick to label the Americans as infidels, and that would probably be the case no matter how much the United States acted for the good of Iraq. "All the countries in the region fear Iraq becoming a free, liberal, democratic state," he said. " 12:19:20 AM