Foreigners at Mehrabad Airport in Tehran waiting for flights to
leave Iran. The well-named "waiting lounge" was much more 'wait' than
'lounge,' and with the ever increasing flood of foreigners who were
trying to leave the country, combined with the disruption the Revolution
caused to scheduled air travel, many were forced to wait days. The
upside, for a photographer, was that you had a near-captive audience,
ready to board a plane for Paris or London or other points west, who
could carry your film out. "Shipping" as such no longer existed, and we
were obliged, much as Blanche DuBois was in "A Streetcar Named Desire,"
to rely on "the kindness of strangers." Tehran, Jan. 2, 1979.
For the last time in his three-decade rule, The Shah of Iran was
presented to his cabinet by the new prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar. It
was an attempt to show how he was responding to the pressure from the
street, but it was too little, too late. Tehran, Jan. 6, 1979.
At the height of the building of the Revolution, the giant crowds
reflected the broadening base of popular interest. Here, the crowd at
Tehran University listens to a speech by the Ayatollah Mahmoud
Taleghani. Jan. 13, 1979.
Marchers hold aloft posters of the Ayatollah Khomeini after the
Shah's departure. Cries of "Marg bar Shah" ("Death to the Shah") could
be heard from one end of the city to the other in Tehran. Jan. 16, 1979.
Ayatollah Khomeini is served tea in his room at the Refah School by
Sadegh Khalkhali, who later became known as "the hanging judge." Outside
the window, in the playground of the school, thousands of supporters,
many of whom had waited hours to gain admission, walk past the window of
the small classroom, hoping to catch a glimpse of Khomeini himself.
Tehran, Feb. 5, 1979.
Every death was treated as a political event, and speakers at this
funeral railed for nearly an hour against the Shah, the U.S.A., and all
those who supported him. Seen here, mourners in Behesht e Zahra,
Tehran's main cemetery, during the funerals for those killed in 24 of
Esfand Square the day before. Dec. 28, 1978.
In what was the last public appearance in Tehran of the Shah and
Empress Farah Diba, a small contingent of foreign press was invited on
the grounds of Niavaran Palace. The Shah stated that he was thinking of a
small vacation, and that news (that he might leave the country
temporarily) was seen as a sign that he might depart after all. Tehran,
Jan. 1, 1979.
Supporters strain to catch a glimpse of the Ayatollah Khomeini at
the Refah School in Tehran. For photographers unschooled in the "look"
of the new Iran, the chador continued to provide a powerful visual
element. Feb. 3, 1979.
In what was a precursor to the taking of hostages in November 1979
at the U.S. Embassy in Iran, a group of militants assaulted the embassy
compound and briefly took over the grounds, arresting several guards.
Intervention by Ebrahim Yazdi, one of the guiding forces of the new
regime, led to a quick return of the compound. However, the stage was
set, and despite pleas by embassy staff over the ensuing months, little
was done to upgrade embassy security. Tehran, Feb. 14, 1979.
The day before Khomeini's return from exile, a sunny Wednesday
afternoon, the streets were full of people anticipating his return. A
show of force by the Palace Guard - loyal to the Shah - ended with
name-calling, and shots fired into a crowd. As one of the victims fell,
wounded, his colleagues dipped their hands in his blood to show another
"martyr" had fallen. Tehran, Jan. 31, 1979.