Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Mostafavi Moosavi Khomeini (Persian: روحاللّه مصطفوی موسوی خمینی, Persian pronunciation: , 22 September 1902 – 3 June 1989) was an Iranian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. Following the revolution and a national referendum, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader—a position created in the constitution as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation—until his death.
Khomeini was a marja ("source of emulation", also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi'a Islam, but is most famous for his political role. In his writings and preachings he expanded the Shi'a Usuli theory of velayat-e faqih, the "guardianship of the jurisconsult (clerical authority)" to include theocratic political rule by the Islamic jurists.
In the Muslim world abroad he was described as the "virtual face in Western popular culture of Islam," known for his support of the hostage takers during the Iranian hostage crisis and his fatwa calling for the death of British citizen Salman Rushdie. Khomeini has been referred to as a "charismatic leader of immense popularity," considered a "champion of Islamic revival" by Shia scholars.