In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks to a group of residents of the city of Qom, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Ayatollah Khamenei said “we slapped them (Americans) on the face last night” with a missile strike “but military action is not enough.” He spoke hours after the strike at military bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces. The strike was in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top military commander in Baghdad. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
People are out in the streets in many cities in Iran now, not only protesting the government shooting down of Ukrainian Flight 752, but protesting against the government’s lies and how the incident was handled.
Some speculate that this might finally be the tipping point for people to throw out the regime.
That’s perhaps ironic.
Because it was another tragedy, one of the biggest terrorist attacks ever, with a lot of lies behind it that helped bring the Ayatollah Khomeini and his minions to power. Many Americans are not even aware of it.
On the night of Aug. 18, 1978, a fire broke out at a cinema in Abadan, close to the border with Iraq. The conflagration claimed anywhere from 420-470 lives, and it was quickly clear that the fire was no accident. The government of the Shah, already feeling the effects of widespread popular discontent, blamed Marxist terrorists.
The opposition, led by the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, blamed the Shah’s much-feared intelligence agency. The movie being screened, “The Deer,” was a thinly-veiled critique of the economic distress felt by most Iranians, and the widespread corruption of the Shah’s government. Years would pass before the truth of the burning of Cinema Rex came to light: The arsonists had been Khomeini loyalists, inspired by the cleric’s contempt for cinema as an instrument of Western decadence. It is now acknowledged as one of the deadliest acts of terrorism ever.
But in the immediate aftermath of the fire, Iranians widely blamed the Shah’s regime, and Cinema Rex became a rallying cry for nationwide protests. In the months that followed, these grew in size and frequency, leading eventually to the unrest that forced the Shah to flee — and ushered in the Islamic Republic.
The Khomeini terrorists barred the exits so people couldn’t get out and set the building ablaze, so many burned alive or suffocated. Many were women and children, infuriating the public.
While the number of lives taken was tremendous, the action of burning a theater was a practice of the Khomeini terrorists.
Since the inception of the Islamic Revolution in January 1978, when a few seminary students had protested against an article that derided Khomeini’s Indian origins and his reactionary views, Islamists had unabashedly burned down more than two dozens cinemas across Iran. Yet when cinema Rex was set on fire, the Shah’s opposition -the Islamists, the Communists and the liberal National Front- blamed the state secret police, SAVAK for the tragedy.
Western mainstream media “instantly and foolishly” fell for it all and blamed the Shah for the fire, according to the Times of Israel. Carter administration officials were completely taken in. The U.S. ambassador to Iran, William Sullivan, referred to Khomeini as a “Gandhi-like figure” and the U.S. Ambassador to the UN at the time, Andrew Young, said, “Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint”! Seeing any corollaries there?
The fire greatly sparked the protests because the people were so outraged and it is considered the seminal event leading to the Shah’s overthrow.
Many didn’t find out the truth until many years later when brave journalists at the Iranian newspaper Sobhe Emrooz reported the truth.
In 1978, when 420 people died in an arson at #CinemaRex #Iranians demanded the ouster of the Shah. Yrs later, we learned the fire had been Khomeini's scheme. Now #ukraineplanecrash has become their Rex. Which's to say the arc of history always bends toward justice. #iranprotest
— Roya Hakakian (@RoyaTheWriter) January 11, 2020