Supporters marked the 22nd anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death last weekend, and Iran's state-run PressTV made sure to cover a gathering held in Washington, D.C.
"He made the mighty, great United States seem like the paper tiger," said Shakurah Mateen, an American Muslim who attended a ceremony at the Iranian Interest Section.
PressTV reporter Marjan Asi said Khomeini left behind "a legacy of Muslim unity and active resistance to oppression. A legacy which continues to resonate with Muslims today."
Afeef Khan, an area activist, called Khomeini "a breath of fresh air who came completely from an Islamic background, was not tainted by any Western ideological orientations or Western forms of governance."
The public display of support for Khomeini and the Iranian regime is not new. There are religious leaders with a long record of support for them and law enforcement officials have described one group – the Muslim Students Association, Persian Speaking Group (MSA-PSG) as an arm of the Iranian government for "low-level intelligence and technical expertise."
One FBI report, obtained by the Investigative Project pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that participants at a 1987 MSA-PSG conference in Dallas pledged allegiance to the Iranian government and handed out literature written by Khomeini.
While there is no indication of any such pledge last weekend, the PressTV account shows that Khomeini maintains a following among some Muslims, even those too young to remember him alive. "Imam Khomeini has taught me as, like, a younger Muslim, how to stand up for what I believe in," said Zahra Mehrabi. "Not only did he start the Islamic revolution in Iran, but it was more importantly it was an Islamic revolution. And it basically showed all Muslims now mourn his death and celebrate his birthday and celebrate the revolution of Iran just because it was more of an Islamic uprising."