Some enterprising Americans have found a way to turn the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's sayings into money.

They have published a Central Intelligence Agency translation of Khomeini's theories and put them into a slick paperback entitled: "Ayatollah Khomeini's Mein Kampf: Islamic Government."

The asking price is $2.50.

The act of publication by Manor House Books in New York City is legal.

Anyone could do it.

It's done fairly frequently," said Kathy Pherson. CIA public affairs officer, "It's no fancy deal."

It works like this. The CIA, using the services of its Joint Publications Research Service in Arlington, frequently translates foreign language documents for agency analysts.

Just as frequently, especially if they are adjudged to be of "public interest," the typewritten translations are turned over to the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) in the Department of Commerce.

The NTIS documents are unclassified and can be had by anyone -- for a price, but not for profit, since the government is not a profit-making organization.

However, private entrepreneurs can reprint the documents for a profit.

Ironically, in the case of the Khomeini book, the sayings of the ayatollah apparently are cheaper from the private publisher than from the federal government.

Pherson's "unofficial" cost estimate of the NTIS copy of Khomeini's words was $6.25, compared to the $2.50 asked by Manor Books.

Translations of other Khomeini speeches and position statements also are at NTIS, Pherson said. She said the document published by Manor originally was published by the CIA's Joint Publications Research Service on Jan. 19. There is no copyright on U.S. govenment publications. s

Manor officials were unavailable for comment last night. However, the first page of the paperback carries this statement:

"Understanding the intentions and tactics of an enemy is the first defense against him. In that spirit we offer this volume. -- The Publishers."