Wife of founder of Iran's Islamic republic dies at 93
TEHRAN, Iran - The wife of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, has died after a long illness, state media reported Sunday. She was 93.
Khadijeh Saqafi, who was known as the "mother of the Islamic revolution," died Saturday in Tehran, state TV said. Thousands of people, including Iran's president and supreme leader, attended her funeral at Tehran University on Sunday.
"After a lifetime of patience and perseverance, and months of sick health, the dear and respected wife of Imam Khomeini has finally passed way, leaving friends of the late imam in grief," her grandson Hasan Khomeini said in a statement posted on the Web site of Iran's English-language state television station, Press TV.
Saqafi, who married Khomeini in 1931, stayed out of the public eye during much of her life. Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani described her as the "closest and most patient" supporter of her husband and his struggle against the U.S.-backed shah's government, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
Khomeini, who died in 1989, became the founder of the Islamic Republic after returning to Tehran on Feb. 1, 1979 after living 14 years in exile. Ten days later, the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi collapsed and the Islamic revolution was proclaimed. Khomeini later became Iran's first supreme leader.
After Sunday's funeral, Saqafi's body was carried Khomeini's mausoleum for burial, IRNA reported. The gold-domed shrine is located 16 kilometres south of Tehran.
Saqafi is survived by three daughters. One of her son's, Ahmad, died in 1995 at the age of 50 after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. Another son, Mostafa, was killed in 1977 in Iraq.