IRAN: A Government Collapses

Aftermath of a conflict that looked like the start of civil war

Perhaps the biggest danger facing Iran, after the stern Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile, was a direct confrontation between army units loyal to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and civilian supporters of the Ayatullah. Last week it happened. Elite troops of the imperial guard, summoned to put down a rebellion by air force cadets, ran into a wall of armed civilians. Fighting continued, sporadically but bitterly, through the weekend, and Iran seemed to be staggering toward the brink of civil...

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