MANAMA, Bahrain — Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini made a rare appearance Tuesday to celebrate the birth in the year 571 of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed, saying, "He made war, so we should make war."
Khomeini, in broadcasts monitored outside the country, made no direct reference to the U.S. armada patrolling the Persian Gulf off Iran's coast but called on his countrymen to imitate the prophet who sent his new religion out from the Arabian Peninsula 13 centuries ago.
"He set up a government, so we should set up a government. He made war, so we should make war," Khomeini said of Mohammed, who led early legions of Muslim warriors from his home in Mecca. "He defended, so we should defend. Do not think the Holy Prophet used to sit at home and only pray and think."
Iran has threatened to strike at the U.S. naval force protecting U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf and to continue strikes against Kuwait, the target of Iranian Silkworm missile attacks. Kuwait, publicly neutral, is generally perceived as a supporter of Iraq in the seven-year-old Persian Gulf War.