Unconfirmed reports from Iran say the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, returned his soul to his maker. According to the same reports, an official announcement will be made only after the transfer of powers to his son, Mojtaba Khamenei, are completed (Health Deteriorating, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei Transfers Power to Son).
Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, 81, was the supreme leader of Iran since 1989. He previously served as the president of Iran from 1981 to 1989. Khamenei is the longest serving head of state in the Middle East, as well as the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Reports on Saturday suggested that doctors from the Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran were rushed to the supreme leader’s home, and that some of his powers were being transferred to his son.
Mojtaba Khamenei played a leading role in orchestrating Ahmadinejad’s electoral victory, and that he was a key figure in orchestrating the crackdown against anti-government protesters in June 2009. He is reputed to be in charge of the paramilitary, clandestine Basij. In 2009, Mehdi Karroubi, former chairman of the Iranian parliament and a reformist candidate in the 2009 presidential vote, explicitly accused Mojtaba Khamenei of participating in a conspiracy to rig the election.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s health has been poor, to the point where in January 2007 rumors of his illness or death spread throughout the country. Khamenei issued a statement declaring that “enemies of the Islamic system fabricated various rumors about death and health to demoralize the Iranian nation,” but according to Iranian-American journalist Hooman Majd, he appeared to be “visibly weak” in the photos that were released with the statement.
On September 9, 2014, Khamenei underwent prostate surgery in what his doctors described in state news media as a “routine operation.” According to a report by Le Figaro, Western intelligence sources said Khamenei had prostate cancer.