Iran: Lurching Bloodily Onward

A bomb wipes out 74 of Khomeini's men and chaos continues

When the night was young, the King contemplated plunder At dawn, his body, head and crown were all asunder. —Iranian poem describing the assassination of Nader Shah, an 18th century king.

The Ayatullah Mohammed Beheshti was not a king, but he was the emerging strongman of Iranian politics. He was the nation's Chief Justice, the secretary-general of the ruling Islamic Republican Party and the chief strategist of the Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini's theocratic state. At 52, he was the chief hope of...

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