Rumors Circulate of Ayatollah Khamenei’s Impending Demise
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hasn’t been seen in public in three weeks, raising speculation that the recurrence of an old health issue could lead to his prolonged absence, or death, The Times of London reported Thursday.
According to the paper, “Iranian sources claim that Ayatollah Khamenei collapsed recently during a private meeting and since then has been convalescing or receiving treatment.”
His official English-language website shows that his last public appearance covered by the media was on October 5th.
Concerns grew two weeks ago when the Ayatollah did not send his customary goodwill message to Iranians departing for the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. He also failed to give his annual address marking the festival of Eid al-Ghadir, the most important date in the Shia Muslim calendar, which took place last week.
“It seems the illness is worse than we thought. People are scared that this could be the end,” The Times quoted a supporter as saying.
The Times reported that on Facebook, Hossein Rostami, a Khamenei loyalist who runs the hardline website Amariyoun, wrote: “It is not good news coming our way from our master … Pray deeply for him.”
However, news of Khamenei’s demise is nothing new, with one Western intelligence official telling The Times, “I’ve learnt not to get too excited about claims that Khamenei is about to die.”
Khamenei became Supreme Leader of Iran in 1989, succeeding the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and has no appointed heir.