The Amazing Adventures of Iran's Cardboard Cutout Ayatollah

Iran's oversized Khomeini reproduction weaponizes photoshop.

On Wednesday, Iran reenacted Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini's historic 1979 return from exile to Iran, which began the country's transition from revolution to an Islamic Republic, with a very odd little ceremony. With the real Khomeini long deceased and so unable to participate in the reenactment, the Army of the Islamic Republic instead constructed a giant cardboard cutout replica of the Supreme Leader. Two stone-faced, white-gloved soldiers marched the oversized ayatollah around the tarmac of Tehran airport for a military "inspection" and a brief ceremony with marching band.

Since then, bemused Iranian social media users have begun passing around photoshopped images of the cardboard Khomeini, inserted into choice locations. A handful of the great ones circulating social media can be found here. Now that the grimacing imam and his two sunglassed patrons seem to be traveling the globe and beyond, we thought we'd contribute. Above are a sampling of his scowling journeys. Suggest more or link to your own in the comments here, or on Twitter with the hashtag #CardboardKhomeini, and we'll include some of the best.

Below, see the photos from the bizarre ceremony that began it all.

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Max Fisher is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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