Iranian sources confirmed Saturday that “the duties and powers of the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been transferred to his son Mojtaba Khamenei, who oversees several security and intelligence departments in Iran,” according to a report posted on Twitter by Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze.
The sources, wrote Ahwaze, “talk about the deterioration of the health of the Iranian leader, Khamenei, since last night and confirm that those close to Khamenei are very afraid for Khamenei’s health condition this time.”
الآن : مصادر إيرانية تتحدث تدهور صحة المرشد الإيراني خامنئي منذ ليلة البارحة ، وتؤكد بأن المقربين من خامنئي خائفون جداً على وضع خامنئي الصحي هذه المرة . pic.twitter.com/aiMDuEigDM
— M.Majed محمد مجيد (@MohamadAhwaze) December 5, 2020
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was scheduled to meet with Khamenei on Friday, according to Ahwaze, but the meeting was canceled due to the deterioration of Khamenei’s health.
According to the report, it is not clear whether the reason for the deterioration in his health is due to “his illness with prostate cancer or another disease, but since yesterday Khamenei’s health is deteriorating, which led to the summoning of senior doctors from Masih Danchori Hospital in Tehran,” Ahwaze wrote.
The 81-year-old Supreme Leader had prostate surgery six years ago, according to a report by the BBC in 2014.
The 82-member Assembly of Experts, which chooses the Supreme Leader, is comprised of a council of elected clerics who are charged with electing, supervising and if or when necessary, possibly even disqualifying the Supreme Leader. At present, the conservatives dominate the Assembly but there is also a group of moderates within the body as well.
According to the 2014 report, the conservatives believe the Supreme Leader is the representative of God on Earth and must be obeyed. The moderates believe in the divine role of the Supreme Leader, but hold he derives his power from the people, to whom he should be responsible.
There is no way to independently confirm the above information, but if true, it signals a brewing storm ahead in the Iranian government, barely a week after the Islamic Republic was rocked by the assassination of its top nuclear scientist.