February 1, 1979 – significant news, this first day of a new month in 1979. The streets of Tehran were awash with crowds, cheering the arrival of the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini back home after almost fifteen years, to take charge of a government in turmoil and on the brink of collapse. Nowhere to be found was the Shah, but Prime Minister Bakhtiar, a Shah appointee still was. Khomeini wanted Bakhtiar to resign and had planned to set up an Islamic republic of his own.
In an emotional speech at the airport, Khomeini denounced foreign and colonial influences and headed to the center of Tehran. The Khomeini motorcade drove past the University of Tehran, the scene of so many bloody clashes between Khomeini supporters and the Iranian military, where scores of demonstrators were killed in the previous week alone. There was no sign of the Iranian military, save for a lone helicopter, flying over the motorcade. The crowds, up to this point had held themselves back. But as Khomeini drove past, thousands broke through the barricades and rushed the entourage. Later, at a speech given at the largest cemetery in Tehran, Khomeini said “I beg to god to cut the hands off all those foreign advisers and helpers in Iran. The time of the Monarchy is over.” A tape recording, broadcast the previous night by CBS news purported to contain the voice of The Shah before he left Iran, exhorting his military commanders to shoot freely at civilians and foment civil war in his absence as a means of bringing about his return. Although several experts authenticated the voice on the tape as that of The Shah, several others disputed the claim, including an Associated Press reporter who had known the Shah and said emphatically that it wasn’t him. But in the meantime, the streets erupted and a feeling of elation swept over the city. While in some circles, apprehension over an uncertain future.
Meanwhile, the other big story was the release from Federal Prison of kidnapped heiress and SLA fugitive Patricia Hearst, pardoned by President Carter, commuting her seven year sentence to time-already-served. Greeting her upon release was her fiancé, 30 year old Bernard Shaw, a San Francisco Policeman, but not greeting her, as they always had been in the past, were her parents William Randolph and Catherine Hearst, who had split up after a 40 year marriage – the cause; the ordeal took its toll on them.
And that’s just a small chunk of news for this February 1, 1979 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.