Carter viewed Khomeini as more of a religious holy man in a grassroots revolution than a founding father of modern terrorism. Carter’s ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, said “Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint.“ Carter’s Iranian ambassador, William Sullivan, said, “Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure.” Carter adviser James Bill proclaimed in a Newsweek interview on February 12, 1979 that Khomeini was not amad mujahid [ranking cleric], but a man of “impeccable integrity and honesty. “
In February 1979 Khomeini boarded an Air France flight to return to Teheran with the blessing of Jimmy Carter. The moment he arrived, he proclaimed: “I will kick his teeth in” – referring to then prime minister Shapour Bakhtiar, who was left in power with a US pledge to support. He was assassinated in Paris by Iranian agents in 1991.