"What of Khomeini's legitimacy? Three years ago some astonishing documents came into my possession regarding that point. ...

"The envelope contained two documents: a Xeroxed book review from the long-defunct Illustrated London News dated Nov. 10, 1951, and titled "Arabian Adventurer. The Story of Haji Williamson;" and a May 3, 2006 Xerox of an article entitled "Who Was The Ayatollah Khomeini?" from a publication called Persian Journal.

The book review related the adventure-strewn life of a Victorian Englishman born in 1872, William Richard Williamson.

In the 1890s, Williamson fetched up in Arabia and settled there. 

Let us leave the Haji there for now and turn to the Persian Journal article entitled "Who Was Ayatollah Khomeini?" by one Alan Peters. I have found a shorter version of it on the Web, and in both versions the material seems highly detailed, deeply probed, well ordered and not at all loony in tone. 

The gist? That Khomeini was one of Haji Williamson's offspring. 

Williamson lived in Iran on and off between the World Wars and eventually got ejected by Reza Shah for working too closely with British oil interests... 

 Khomeini returned to Iran after the Shah was unseated... 

Upon his return, Khomeini pointedly moved to kill off leading figures with knowledge of his past... Documents pertaining to Khomeini's antecedents, according to the article, quickly disappeared or got changed during this time--something I had heard mentioned over the years by other sources.

The article brings up other flimsier--but cumulatively suggestive--details such as Khomeini's dodgy Farsi accent and the testimony of a veteran British Petroleum operative (many such officials were also British intelligence agents) who had known Williamson well and refused to comment on Khomeini's parentage.