Irdc.ir: with the arrival of February, the news of the imam's return to the country became stronger. This news caused many actions, from closing the airport to threatening to blow the plane up and military coup to delay his trip.
In the first reaction to this news, Bakhtiar, in response to Keyhan reporters who asked him about the arrival of the imam in Tehran and the formation of the government by him, replied: "As you said, I am the prime minister and I will have no duty but to continue as prime minister". At the same time, Huyser sent a report to Washington stating that the return of Imam Khomeini is a serious threat to the complete overthrow of the Pahlavi regime and Bakhtiar government, and this is what Qarabaghi said at the meeting of the council of army commanders on January 23, 1979.
At that meeting, he emphasized the danger of the imam's return and clearly stated: ((ayatollah Khomeini's arrival in Iran is not expedient at all)). He further added that the prime minister also believes that efforts should be made to dissuade him from coming.
Qarabaghi writes in his memoirs about Bakhtiar's remarks about the referendum and regime change and the issue of the imam's arrival in Iran, which was raised in those days by local newspapers and opposition groups, and also Bakhtiar's reaction to it: ((I raised the issue of the lack of security and peace and the intensification of strikes and riots in the country after his majesty's journey (which Mr. Bakhtiar claimed it will be ended) and according to the news of that day, I explained the topic of Mr.Khomeini's arrival in Iran and the problems of the government and the army if he comes, then I mentioned the issue of "referendum" and "regime change" which was emphasized in newspapers and in Mr. Bakhtiar's interviews and their impact on the morale of the Armed Forces personnel. Finally, after some discussion, Mr. Bakhtiar stated that: Mr. Khomeini will be prevented from coming to Iran)).
At the same time, Bakhtiar stated in an interview with Ettelaat newspaper:
((if imam Khomeini returns and declares his Islamic republic, I have two options: either I must stay and consider myself a legitimate government in which case there will be bloodshed, or I will resign and tell the army that there is no place for me. And you are free from your commitment to my government)).
On the one hand, Bakhtiar was trying to keep the army on his side to prevent the possibility of a military coup, and on the other hand, he was trying to take the initiative by approaching the opposition forces if the situation worsened, and to be succeeded by gaining their approval to remain in power as a prime minister. Sullivan rises up some considerable points in his memoirs about his meeting on Bakhtiar's first day of work as the prime minister and his thoughts on the plan "to snatch the revolution" from ayatollah Khomeini:
((He was thinking that with the departure of the shah from Iran, he could take over the leadership of Iranian nation. Bakhtiar had underestimated ayatollah Khomeini's influence and told me at one of the meetings that he intended to go to Paris to meet the ayatollah and offer him to content himself to having a religious authority outside the realm of state power and leave the work of politics and government affairs to him)).
With this view, it was clear that Bakhtiar was looking for a solution to maintain the monarchy and to restore stability under any circumstances. That is why he was stating that he must personally go to Paris and negotiate with the imam. In defense of this action, Bakhtiar explains: ((I myself wrote a letter to the (ayatollah) Khomeini, which is in my bag, in [my book] thirty-seven days, and this [letter] there is attempting of a patriotic man who was trying to prevent these events from happening, that tomorrow or another fifty years, when these children are reading these documents_ as I wrote_ do not say that well, this Dr. Bakhtiar said that the chicken has one leg. Why didn't he come to sit with Mr. Khomeini and talk about things? I myself decided to come here [to Paris] and talk to him [ayatollah Khomeini] about this)).
Qarabaqi has a different view in his analysis of Bakhtiar's approach and believes that after the United States, Britain and Bakhtiar became completely disappointed with the restoration of order and peace and the re-establishment of the monarchy, they decided to take the initiative and power in the future system of the country by infiltrating the future leadership of the country and to end the revolution in their favor at the right time, by creating influence and discord in the movement. Therefore one of the Bakhtiar's plans was travelling to Paris to meet with the imam himself. From the very beginning, Imam Khomeini with a very clear Strategy, announced Bakhtiar's acceptance conditional on his resignation from the post of prime minister.
Imam in a statement which is addressed to the people says: ((what has been said that I accept Shapur as prime minister is a lie. I will not accept him until he resigns, because I don't consider him legal. Gentlemen, inform and notify the people of Iran and announce that a conspiracy is underway and do not be deceived by these current affairs. I have not reached any agreement with Bakhtiar)).
Another action taken by the Bakhtiar government to show that it has supporters in the country was a deceptive demonstration in support of the constitution, which was held in front of the national assembly on the 25thjanuary. However, Qarabaghi believes that there were facts behind the scenes that prevented the protests from taking place. Such actions were a sign of the helplessness of the remnants of the regime, who were trying to maintain the regime by resorting to such childish tricks, which their nature was clear to the people.
What is clear is that Bakhtiar's government and its foreign supporters had no choice but the demagoguery in those critical days, Therefore, the best option for his government was that if he succeeds in gaining the opinion of the factions and opposition groups, and specifically the Imam, he will achieve a significant victory, and if he does not achieve this, he will remain in his post and wait for the next events. Therefore, preventing the imam from entering Iran and agreeing on the future sovereignty of the country was at the forefront Bakhtiar's actions and he explicitly stated that he will prevent the imam from entering the country. So that later in his memoirs in front of the question of who ordered the closure of the airport and its opening? He replies: "I [gave] both myself".
- a metaphor for being stubborn.( translator)