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In the immediate aftermath of the Shah’s departure, the impending return of Khomeini was a looming challenge for Prime Minister Bakhtiar, who combined a defiant public attitude with discreet efforts to establish direct dialogue with Khomeini. He was prepared to abolish the monarchy as long as remolding the constitution could be done through democratic means. This posture was unpopular among the military leaders whom Bakhtiar hoped to use as a tool vis-à-vis the opposition. In this, the prime minister was systematically undercut by Sullivan, who enjoyed the benign complicity of Huyser. General Gharabaghi was ambivalent, even in his loyalty to what remained of the dying regime. Bakhtiar failed to meet Khomeini and to prevent him from returning to Tehran, which set the stage for the final curtain as of February 1, 1979.