Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was born in 1900. He studied Islamic theology and law, and moved to Iran's holy city of Qom in the 1920's. He earned the title "ayatollah" in the late 1950's.
In the 1960's Khomeini became an outspoken opponent of the rule of the Shah. He was exiled from Iran, and lived most of the time in France. From France he was influencial in bringing about the fall of the Shah and in 1979 he returned to Iran and received a tumultous welcome. From the time of his return until his death Khomeini controlled Iran, turning it into an anti-Western Islamic State.