Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's vision of the new political order he desires for Iran and the dangers facing it are spelled out in his book, "Islamic Government," a collection of lectures given in Arabic in Iraq in 1970. Here are some excerpts :

Today, at a time when imperialism and its agents among the traitorous rulers together with Zionism and atheistic MATERIALISM ARE JOINING FORCES TO PERVER AND MUTILATE Islam, our responsibility is greater than at any time in the past. Before us we see the Jews making a mockery of the Koran, and distorting its text in the new editions printed in the occupied lands and elsewhere. It is our duty to reveal this teachery and to shout at the top of our voices until people understand that the Jews and their foreign masters are plotting against Islam and are preparing the way for the Jews to rule over the entire planet. I greatly fear that, by their own special methods, they will indeed realize their desired aims. It is because of our own weakness that we may wake up one morning and find a Jewish ruler dominating our country -- God forbid!... In Tehran, Christian, Zionist and Bahai missionary centers issue their publications in order to mislead people and to alienate them from the teachings and principles of religion. Is it not our duty to demolish these centers?

In our day... the government, authority and management over the people, as well as the collection and expenditure of revenues, has been entrusted to the religious experts. Verily, God will punish and call to account anyone who takes issue with their authority.

Government in Islam is not absolutist. It is, in fact, constitutional; not, however, in the commonly understood sense of constitutionalism as represented in a parliamentary system, or in a system of popular assemblies. It is, rather, constitutional in the sense that those in power are bound by a group of conditions and principles made clear in the Korean and by the example of the Prophet Muhammad.... Thus, Islamic government is a government of divine law. The difference between Islamic government and constitutional government -- whether monarchical or republican -- lies in the fact that, in the latter system, it is the representatives of the people or those of the knig who legislate and make laws. Whereas, the actual authority to legislate belongs exclusively to God. No others, no matter who they may be, have the right to legislate, nor has any person the right to govern on any basis other than the authority that has been conferred by God.

Since Islamic government is a government of law, it is the religious expert (faqih ) and no one else who should occupy himself with the affairs of government. Is is he who should function in all those areas in which the Prophet [Muhammad himself] functioned -- neither adding nor diminishing from these in the slightest degree. He should implement the canonical punishments, just as the Prophet did, and he should rule according to God's revelation.

They [i.e., the Islamic reformers] cry, 'Woe to Islam,' when it decrees 80 lashes as a punishment for the wine-drinker, or 100 lashes for the fornicator of ill repute, or when Islam requires the stoning to death of a male or female fornicator of previously chaste reputation. Oh, how there [reformers] scream: 'These are harsh and crude rules derived from the crudeness of the Arabs.' While, in fact, the rules for criminal punishments in Islam came inyo being to prevent obscenity and undesirable, immoral behavior among a great and farflung people.

... There is no room for opinions or feelings in the system of Islamic government; rather, the Prophet and the Imams [Muslim leaders] and the people all follow the wish of God and his laws.

Compliance with the qualifications of the canonical ruler [i.e., in accordance with Islamic law] is still required if he is to be deemed worthy to rule. These qualifications -- consisting of knowledge of the law and rectitude -- exist in the majority of our religious experts in this age. If they were to make common cause, they could easily devise and create an incomparably just government by means of religion.

We want a ruler who whould cut off the had of his own son if he steals, and would flog and stone his near relative if he fornicates.