Gholamhossein Mohammadi Golpayegani, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran

Khamenei’s Chief Of Staff Denies Rumors Of Ill Health

Tuesday, 07/11/2023

Ali Khamenei's Chief of Staff says Iran’s Supreme Leader is in perfect health despite being in his 80s.

Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani said Tuesday that “every now and then it is said that the leader is sick", playing down rumors of his deteriorating health - speculation which is causing questions of who would step into his shoes in his absence.

It is unclear who his successor would be at this stage and it is a taboo to discuss such matters though there have been several names mentioned speculating who would take over in his wake.

Most prominent is Khamenei’s son, Mojtaba, believed to be being groomed for the role. He runs the beit-e rahbari (House of Leadership), as a cleric with “ayatollah” status — a prerequisite for the supreme leadership, though experts say this appointment would cause chaos in the regime, where powerful figures such as President Raisi are also vying for the title.

Last year, the New York Times claimed Iran’s Supreme Leader's health situation was grave, the 84-year-old having had emergency surgery at a clinic set up at his home and office complex for bowel obstruction.

He had been suffering extreme stomach pains and high fever, one of the people told the New York Times, explaining that he was on bed rest under observation by a team of doctors.

It was claimed that all his meetings were cancelled amid numerous rumors about his death on social media, before he reappeared shortly after in two televised speeches and attended a religious event in a bid to quash the rumors.

Khamenei has been Iran's supreme leader since 1989, and has been battling ill health for almost a decade. In 2014, he underwent a successful prostate cancer operation which also triggered fears for what would come next.

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