April 1st is a historical day in the Iranian calendar. The 12th day of the Iranian month Farvardin is the anniversary of one of the most important political events in Iran after the victory of the Islamic Revolution on February 11, 1979. Exactly 49 days after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, on the order of the Father of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) a nationwide referendum was held for determining the ideal political system following the overthrow of 2500 years of monarchic rule. This was indeed a dynamic move by the Sage of the Age, since such a crucial measure, and that too in such a short time, had not occurred in any country in the wake of any revolution in history. The Imam emphasized on the participation of the Iranian people in determining their own fate. Thus, a political system, based on the votes of the Iranian people, and in accordance with God’s commands in the holy Qur’an was established in Iran for the first time.
The politico-social deputy interior minister of that time, Dr. Sadeq Tabatabaei who assumed the task of holding the 1979’s referendum, in his diary in response to the Imam’s stresses on holding referendum has written: “I told the Imam now that the world has recognized you and your leadership and the revolution, so what is the need for a referendum? I am sure that if you declare the Islamic Republic as the country’s political system, both our people and the world will accept it.”
In response, Imam Khomeini told Sadeq Tabatabei: “Now you do not understand but 50 years later some will say that they imposed their desired system on people by abusing their emotions.”
Tabatabei has written that the Imam said referendum should be held and the number of pros and cons should be determined. In his diary, Dr. Tabatabei as the spokesman of the interim government, regarding Imam Khomeini’s emphasis on holding referendum further says: the Imam said do not think of the present time. What survives in history is the historical reality. Try to make the government hold it as soon as possible.
Imam Khomeini was indeed a far-sighted sage, who took the future as well into account, in determining the system of government for Iran. In this referendum, 98.2% of Iranian people voted in favour of establishment of the Islamic Republic system. Thus, the establishment of the Islamic system in Iran, in addition to guiding the Iranian people toward independence and liberties, had deep impacts on the region and the global scene, especially in the West Asia-North Africa region. It inspired a wave of Islamic awakening that swept the entire region. The Iranian nation’s referendum at that sensitive juncture proved that the Iranian people maintain a high political understanding for determination of their own fate based on elevated Islamic and revolutionary values. Today, the Islamic system has turned into a role model of a people’s power, more broad than the democracies of the West because of committed to Islamic values.
With the declaration of results of the referendum, Imam Khomeini in a message to the people said:
“I hereby congratulate the great nation of Iran which had been belittled by the oppression exerted upon it during the course of monarchial history and tolerated whatever was done to it. Almighty God has bestowed a favour upon us and put an end to the dictatorial regime with His power which is the power of the deprived. Almighty God made our great nation the leader and pioneer of the deprived peoples and by the establishment of the Islamic Republic, bestowed upon them their legitimate rights. On this auspicious day, I hereby declare the day of the leadership of the Ummah (Muslim community); the day of the victory and triumph of the nation which is the Islamic Republic of Iran. I hereby announce to the world that such a referendum has been unprecedented in the history of Iran whereby people from all walks of life and from every part of the country rush to the ballot boxes with so much enthusiasm and live to cast their votes for the Islamic Republic and in this way bury the dictatorial regime in the dust bin of history forever.”
Elsewhere in his message, the Imam said: “I hereby praise the solidarity and unification of all the people who all gave positive response to the divine call of “Hold onto the rope of God and unite” and cast their vote positive votes overwhelmingly for the Islamic Republic.
On the other hand, Imam Khomeini’s message on April 1, 1979 and the official declaration of the set up of the Islamic Republic of Iran is actually the declaration of both independence and freedom.
Imam Khomeini used the term of the leadership of Ummah, which indicates the Imam’s belief in the role of people in the government. In addition to the unique role of people in the declaration, the other important point of the message is pointing to justice which is also regarded by people in the religious government.
The Islamic Republic of Iran presented a new model of progress and development with trust in God and reliance on the ability of its youth, to a world that was deceived by either communism or the equally decadent capitalism of the west. The Islamic Revolution of Iran has proved the efficiency and practicability of Islamic laws in governing the nation, on the basis of justice and spiritual values. Unlike the secular system, the Imam didn’t consider religion just for individual worship. He believed that Islam presents a full programme for administering the society. Imam Khomeini’s progressive theory of “Velayat- e- Faqih” or the governance of the supreme jurisprudent has ably demonstrated over the past 36 years the durability of the Islamic Republic system of government. Thus, the First of April is a red letter day in Iran. Today, it is the dynamism of the Islamic Republic system that inspires all those seeking truth and justice in the region, and makes them determined to defeat the plots of the Takfiri terrorists and their backers.