|Throughout 1978, demonstrations increased against the rule of the Shah. These demonstrations were fueled by religious leaders who opposed the Shah's Western outlook. The exiled Ayatollah Khomeini was especially effective in stirring opposition to the Shah. In August, a movie theater was set on fire by extremists in Abadan. On September 8th the army opened fire on demonstrators, killing hundreds.
The Shah declared martial law. However, he seemed to lack the will to crack down on demonstrators as he had done in the past. On January 16th, the Shah left Iran for exile. One week later, Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile and formed an Islamic Revolutionary Government.