The Cardboard Ayatollah Returns

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Feb. 5 2014 11:59 AM

The Cardboard Ayatollah Returns

The cardboard Ayatollah during his last appearance in 2012.

Photo by Ruhollah Yazdani/AFP/Getty Images

In 2012 the world was entranced by the sight of a cardboard cutout of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini exiting an inflatable Air France jet to celebrate the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Amid widespread mockery, the cardboard supreme leader was nowhere to be seen last year. But this week, BBC News, citing Iranian news agencies, reports that he has returned, touching down in several cities in honor of the revolution's 35th anniversary. 

The BBC writes: “The festivities went ahead despite warnings from one news agency that the annual event would lead to mockery abroad."


The event is a re-enactment of Khomeini’s famous return from exile in France following the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Like last time around, the opportunities for parody were not lost on bemused Iranians:

For more, see the “Amazing Adventures of Cardboard Ayatollah!” below:

Other state-sponsored activities this year include panels about the “cultural invasion launched by Western countries against the Iranian nation” and “nationwide rallies” next Tuesday. But it’s safe to assume that cardboard Ayatollah will steal the show.

Anna Newby is a Slate intern.


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