Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has established what he called a Provisional Revolutionary Islamic Council to replace the present "illegal" government in Iran, it was announced here today.
Khomeini, the Iranian Islamic opposition leader living in exile here, made it clear that he is prepared for a showdown between his mass following and the government.
The people," said Khomeini in a declaration communicated by telephone to his followers in Iran, "should not give up its fight until the final victory. It should continue strikes and demonstrations, and, if attacked gy the corrupt, it can defend itself, even if that causes deaths."
The ayatollah also called on his followers in the civil service to disobey the civilian government of Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar and, if possible, to bar his Cabinet ministers from entering their ministries.
Members of Khomeini's entourage would not identify the members of the Revolutionary Council, but they indicated that they are all in Rian. Khomeini's aides said the council members would come out in public "at the righ moment." They were described by Khomeini as "competent individuals, Moslems, committed and worthy of trust."
The council's job was outlined by Khomeini as setting up a provisional government to oversee elections to a constituent assembly that would write a new constitution. Once the new Islamic republic has its constitution, Khomeini said, new elections would be held for a legislative assembly that would set up a regular government.
The steps Khomeini described are traditional for setting up a parliamentary democracy, eventhough he made no mention of a national referendum on the new constitution.
Khomeini claimed authority for taking today's step "on the basis of religious law" and the "vote of confidence of the absclute majority of the Iranian people." This was obviously a reference to the millions of people who have acclaimed the ayatollah's name in demonstrations against the shah.
Asked last night by interviewers for CBS' "Face the Nation," apparing, Sunday, whether he would take part in the new government, Khomeini gave the same negative answer he has always given. He added that he would be available to guide and correct the mistakes of the new government.
Khomeini conceded through an interpreter that this could be described as a "strongman" role, but it was not clear to him that Khomeini understood the connotations of that word in translation.
Meanwhile, Bakhtiar, in an interview broadcast here, invited Khomeini to come home. Bakhtiar called the religious leader "an eminent Iranian" and spoke of his own respect for the Moslem religion.
A Khomeini aide said that his leader would choose his own time to return to Iran and that it would not be in response to anyone's invitation.
In the "Face the Nation" interview, Khomeini said that he would not exclude from the new government members of Bakhtiar's Cabinet or members of the National Front, the main secular opposition party, if they wished to join. The ayatollah's entourage has stressed that their leader is interested in the technical competence of the members of a future government and that he does not think that Moslem religious leaders have the training and background for such jobs.
Khomeini's statement called on the army to resist any orders to stage a military coup and upon his own movement to distinguish between "a few traitors" in the military leadership and the majority of soldiers and officers.
"The people," he said, "should respect the officers."
He said it was "probable" that the "traitor king" would attempt a coup.
"It is his last weapon, but the courageous Iranian people know that in the army -- aside from a few bloodthirsty mem who are apparently installed in important posts and who are known to me -- the majority will not let itself be led into such a crime against their religion and their nationality."
Close aides of Khomeini have been expressing recognition of his movement's need for army support. They have been saying that the movement recognizes that Iran must have a strong army because it has long borders with potentially hostile neighbors.
These aides insist that the legal system and the structure of the government will be essentially unchanged.
"The biggest fight will be the elimination of the corrupt," said one aide, adding that they will be placed on trial. But he took issue with those who maintain that those convicted of corruption would be sentenced under Koranic law, which calls for such punishments as cutting off the hands of thieves.
There are quotations from Khomeini's writings and sermons advocating such punishment. His Western-educated aides say he has "refined" his thinking since issuing such pronouncements almost 10 years ago.
The way he works with his aides may offer some clues as to how he would "guide" a future government. He is understood to have established a group of 10 highly trusted advisers who meet with him twice a week in sessions lasting two to five hours.
While it is obvious from the descriptions of the sessions that he dominates the deliberations, he apparently also seeks detailed advice, especially on such complex issues as oil production policy.
Of the 10 men, seven are said to be Western-educated. Each has a special area on which he advises Khomeini, including press relations, international affairs, economics, social policy, legal and institutional matters and organizational issues of the opposition movement. But each man may speak out at the group sessions on any subject, informants indicated.
The declarations Khoemini has made on oil policy, the informants say, carefully followed the advice he was given by a special committee of exports that he had appointed.
The men in the group of 10 are also said to have met the tests of years of personal loyalty and collaboration with the ayatollah, of being devoted Moslems and of never having worked for the shah. In Khomeini's entourage great stock is placed on the lack of hierarchy, and his aides maintain that everyone has an equal voice in the inner councils of the movement.
Khomeini is said to receive almost daily reports on the situation inside Iran from followers who travel back and forth to his headquarters located in two simple unheated summer houses outside Paris.
His aides said that his decision to announce the creation of a Revolutionary Council, which was apparently already in place, was made late last night after he led his entourage in their evening prayers.