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Sean Foley, Ph.D.*
* Sean Foley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Middle Tennessee State University.
"They have reduced the Iranian people to a level lower than that of an American dog. If someone runs over a dog belonging to an American, he will be prosecuted. Even if the Shah himself were to run over a dog belonging to an American, he would be prosecuted."
- The Ayatollah Khomeini, Tehran, Iran, 1964
"The Status of Forces Agreement between Iraq and the United States should not violate Iraq's sovereignty for even an iota."
- Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Baghdad, Iraq, 2008
On October 26, 1964, the Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini delivered one of the most significant political statements in modern Iranian history. Khomeini chastised Iran's pro-U.S. monarch, Muhammad Reza Shah for approving a status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) that provided U.S. military personnel and their dependents with diplomatic immunity for any crime committed in Iran. The agreement, much like other SOFAs that the U.S. government had signed with other nations after World War II, established the legal status for U.S. troops deployed in a foreign country and "how the domestic laws of the foreign jurisdiction shall be applied toward U.S. personnel while in that country."