It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Is Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran dead? This is the story being put out this morning by Realite EU, a news service “supported by individuals concerned with the growing threat of Iran and extremism in Europe and the Middle East”. It is unconfirmed and turns out to be based on questionable sources:
According to numerous rumors, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly died on October 14, 2009, of natural causes. The formal announcement is expected by some to be made tomorrow morning, October 15, 2009. Three years ago there were similar rumors which turned out to be false. He is currently 70 years old.
According to some Iran analysts, Khamenei has maneuvered to position his son, Mojtaba Khamenei, as his successor. Khamenei has increasingly been described as the “Ali of our times” in the official media – a reference to Ali, the Shia imam who passed on the position to his son Hassan.
The source cited is the highly partial website AntiMullah, which is now hedging its bets:
Some reports coming out of Iran deny the Supreme Leader has died or IS EVEN ILL!
Over the past month, rumors circulated that he was in a coma and his ruthless son Mojtaba was ruling (with Ahmadi-Nejad’s help) in his father’s name … Denial of Khamenei Senior’s death has to overcome some visible changes:
1. Government buildings are being draped in black cloth. (Reports on this come from multiple Twitters).
2. All Islamic Iranian TV announcers have suddenly turned to wearing all black clothing.
3. Bassiji Suppression forces have poured into the streets to enforce crowd control and prevent gatherings, which have not yet taken place.
4. The constant grumbling of clerics about the Supreme Ruler and efforts to replace him with a Ruling Committee have abruptly ceased.
Having him dead instead of the disruptive campaign to unseat him has solved their complaints and now they can go ahead with the “succession” process.
It took nearly two months from the time Ayatollah Khomeini went to hospital and fell into a coma till he was OFFICIALLY pronounced dead.
We shall see. Certainly this rumour is gathering pace as I write, but that doesn’t make it true.
sources reporting the death of Ayatollah Khamenei include the Jerusalem Post and Pravda. Several U.S. news outlets have also picked up the story about his slipping into coma.
The Iranian Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, has reported to the Armenian government that Khamenei is not dead. Yet other observers report that the situation in the Iranian capital of Tehran is tense, with troops in the streets.
Should the rumors prove true, Khamenei's death will set off a power struggle in the Iranian government as the clerics who make up the Supreme Revolutionary Council jockey for position and power. Some bloggers have speculated that with the country still in turmoil over last fall's disputed parliamentary election, the Islamic Republic itself could fall.
Such an outcome is unlikely given the power that remains in the Revolutionary Guard. However, Khamenei's coma or death could shift the balance of power away from hard-liners and towards reformers.
UPDATE (Wednesday Oct 14th): According to a bulletin from the Greens (Moussavi/Karroubi et al), there are widespread rumors in the Tehran Bazaar that Khamenei has died. The Greens say they cannot confirm it, but that there is an “abnormal atmosphere” in the streets, which almost certainly means there are more security people than usual.
The bazaar will apparently be closed tomorrow, and perhaps Friday as well, pending developments.
An Iranian website denied rumors that have been spreading over the past few days regarding the health condition of Iran's supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
According to the government-affiliated website an American's report according to which Khamenei is in a coma is a "bold lie." The website claims that the report is part of the West's plan to confuse the Iranian public in order to compromise internal stability.
Iran is reportedly denying rumors that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei fell into a coma and died this week.
Iran's embassy blasted back at reports of Khamenei's illness or demise as a "slander," an Armenian news site reported — possibly the first official response to rumors that have been swirling around the Internet and are may be fraying nerves in Tehran.
Iran watcher Michael Ledeen reported on his blog Tuesday that an "excellent source" assured him the 70-year-old Khamenei "collapsed and was taken to a special clinic" Monday afternoon, his health run down by the strains of a massive popular resistance to the contested June 12 national elections.
Ledeen, a scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, added Wednesday that a bulletin from the reformist opposition to Khamenei's regime reported "widespread rumors in the Tehran Bazaar that Khamenei has died," and described an "abnormal atmosphere" in the streets of Iran's capital, possibly implying an increased security presence.
Khamenei has had health problems in the past, and was erroneously reported by Ledeen to have died in January 2007 in a posting on his Web site. Ledeen wrote this week that his current source "is in a position to know" about Khamenei's health.
Word that Iran's supreme leader had collapsed was soon amplified, embellished and picked up by news organisations.
Only last week Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei was complaining of the spread of rumours in the wake of Iran's violently disputed presidential elections. But that was the last that has officially been heard from him.
Since then Khamenei himself has become the main subject of the Iranian rumour mill.
It seems to have all been started – or at least given credence – by the leading American neocon Michael Ledeen.
Quoting an "excellent" but anonymous source, on Monday he wrote: "Yesterday afternoon at 2.15pm local time Khamenei collapsed and was taken to his special clinic. Nobody – except his son and the doctors – has since been allowed to get near him. His official, but secret, status is 'in the hands of the gods'."
Yesterday Ledeen repeated rumours that have been going around the Tehran Bazaar that Khamenei had died.
But Ledeen has a track record in spreading misinformation, according to the US magazine Vanity Fair, which claimed he was linked in the false reports that Saddam Hussein tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger – one of the main pretexts for the invasion of Iraq.
And in January 2007 he falsely reported Khamenei's death.
Nevertheless, his latest rumour about Khamenei's possible death has been picked up by a number of respected bloggers and media organisations including ABC's George Stephanopoulos, the Jerusalem Post, and Pravda.
As there are so many restrictions on foreign reporting in Iran the truth is difficult to verify. But the interest and speculation about Iran has been intense, particularly on Twitter.
These are the perfect conditions for rumours to spread. On almost every day of the opposition protests there were false reports that the leading opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi had been arrested.
Long before the current Twitter interest in Iran there were rumours about Khamenei's health, but the microblogging site seems to have amplified and embellished them.
As the Guardian's former Tehran correspondent Robert Tait says: "Discussions about Khamenei's health problems are legion. He has prostate cancer; he has lung cancer; he is an opium addict; he has lymphatic cancer; he has a mouth full of false teeth since a bomb attack 28 years ago that also cost him the use of an arm; doctors have given him at most two years to live. I don't how much, if any, of this is true.
The fact that it's going around at all is a measure of the hysteria surrounding the Iranian political scene." Of course there is an easy way for the clerical regime in Tehran to put a stop to the current hysteria. But the ayatollah has yet to appear to declare that the reports of his death are exaggerated. Until he does, the chances are the rumours will spread.
AntiMullah.com reports that Ayatollah Khamenei has died. It’s long been believed that at 70 years old, he was in constant pain and in very poor health, and was using opium regularly to alleviate his suffering. These are just rumors right now, and cannot be confirmed. Such reports have surfaced in the past.
Here’s Anti-Mullah’s blog:
Khamenei has died. The formal announcement is expected to be made tomorrow morning (Tehran time) .
Relative to this, all regime organizations including the official regime news agency “Seda va Sima” are being draped in black.
This comes on the heels of a report from Michael Ledeen, which cites only a single source but he says “is a person in a position to know things.”
Over the past month, rumors circulated that he was in a coma and his ruthless son Mojtaba was ruling (with Ahmadi-Nejad's help) in his father's name.
This son visits prisons just to watch and participate in torture sessions of arrested demonstrators and take pleasure in raping some of them himself!
Hot Air's Allahpundit suggests that the hardliners could rally around Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the "spiritual advisor" to Achmadinejad and someone who makes no secret of his desire that Iran have nuclear weapons. Yazdi would be bad news for Israel and the West and would make military action to deny Iran nuclear weapons more likely. Another possible candidate is Khamenei's son, Mojtaba Khamenei.
Iran is a country where the vast majority of the people oppose the current government and order is kept only by the application of naked force. If Khamenei is dead or dying and if the succession struggle is prolonged, then instability within Iran will only increase. The betting is that this will not mean a loosening of the power of the mullahs, but rather a further tightening down of government oppression in Iran.
Meanwhile Iran quietly but relentlessly continues to develop nuclear weapons. So far Iran's enablers Russia and China are blocking serious economic sanctions and the Obama administration has no stomach for military force, either a blockade or an air bombardment campaign, with or without Israel. Israel, on the other hand, grows increasingly concerned at the prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of a regime dedicated to her destruction.
The possibility of continued instability or even full scale war in the Persian Gulf will persist for some time to come.
Tbilisi, October 16, Interfax - The Iranian ambassador to Georgia, Mojtaba Damirchiloo, has described as misinformation reports about the death of Iran's leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
"Reports about the death of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are absurd. As far as I know, his condition is stable," the Iranian ambassador told the media in Tbilisi.
Numerous reports claiming that the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has died have emerged on the Internet, The Daily Telegraphsaid on its website on Thursday.
Some reports claim that Khamenei died on Wednesday and that the Iranian authorities were preparing to announce this news.
Israel's Jerusalem Post quoted U.S. foreign policy expert Michael Ledeen as saying that Khamenei could have fallen into a coma. According to Ledeen's sources, Khamenei felt unwell on Monday and was moved to a clinic.
Both The Daily Telegraph and Jerusalem Post made it a point that the reports are only believed to be rumors.
The Iranian regime is trying very hard to deny the many stories about the condition of Supreme Leader Khamenei. The FARS news agency is pretty much typical:
Iran’s diplomatic sources strongly reacted to rumors spread by the western media outlets over the past few days regarding the health condition of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, describing such reports as slander.
The baseless report released by an American journalist alleging that Ayatollah Khamenei is in a coma is a “bold lie” and is part of the West’s plan to confuse the Iranian public in order to endanger the country’s internal stability, diplomatic sources said.
Apparently they felt that a bit more evidence was required, and so Fars and the ISNA Agency produced photographs purporting to show Khamenei and Ahmadinejad meeting the President of Senegal. Except that they seem photoshopped, since the President of Senegal has changed his clothes between the two photos, while the supreme leader and the president are in virtually the same position–Khamenei’s left hand is slightly lower on the arm rest in the Fars picture, I think–and haven’t changed their clothes at all.
Have a look:
He didn’t appear at Friday prayers, which certainly would have proved their claim.
I’m standing by my story. These “diplomatic sources” and “photos” seem to me to provide added confirmation.
UPDATE: In the story announcing President Wade’s trip on Press TV, we are told that he flew into Tehran this morning, and was scheduled to meet with his counterpart, President Ahmadinejad. Nothing about Khamenei. He was scheduled to fly to Paris this evening.
UPDATE II: Sunday morning 18th Oct. I think my suspicions about photoshopped pics were wrong. The pictures are old file photos. So my conclusions are:
–There was no meeting Saturday involving Khamenei and Wade. The Senegalese met Ahmadinejad, as per the publicly announced schedule, and then went on to Paris;
–The failure of the Iranian news agencies to coordinate the photos was the result of the regime’s feeling that it was urgent to “prove” that Khamenei is in good health. So the various agencies rushed to produce that “proof,” and instead only managed to increase suspicion;
I stand by my story that Khamenei was in a coma. I believe he was moved (Saturday) from the special clinic where he had been treated, to his palace in Tehran. And I also believe that on Saturday Rafsanjani twice tried to visit, and was twice sent away, the second time by Khamenei’s son. More soon, in a separate post.
The bombing was a very big deal. It was indeed a suicide bombing, the man’s name was Abdul Rahed Mohammadi Sarabani, who was associated with the military wing of Jundullah, headed by Abdulmalik Khan Rigi. The IRGC had killed two of his brothers, and this was an act of vengeance, carried out to inflict maximum damage on the RGs. The target was a large theater, which holds up to two thousand people. It is part of a large military complex, one of the most important in the country.
The people there were attending an urgent strategy session. Due to the recent attacks by the Pakistani armed forces in Waziristan, many al Qaeda and Taliban leaders and fighters had fled to the Iranian side of the Baluchistan border (Sarbaz is less than an hour’s drive from the Pakistani side). Here is a map from Google.
The purpose of the strategy session was to assist the terrorists, to help them reorganize, to rearm them, to arrange to get them back into Pakistan and, for at least some of them, thence to Afghanistan. For that reason, attendance counted many very important people.
The gathering in Sarbaz included not only top RG officials (including the commander in chief, General Mohammed Ali Jaafari, whose fate is unknown as of now), but also top civilian intelligence officers from the State of Sistan and Balouchistan (the second largest state in Iran), and members of an elite RG brigade named after the Imam Ali, along with the military governor of the city of Sarbaz, and the terrorists who had run away from Pakistan. The bomber, Sarabani, was dressed in an officer’s uniform, and he knew exactly where to go. The blast brought down the roof of the structure.
The real casualty figures are impossible to obtain, but they are considerably higher than the ones officially announced. At a minimum, 108 were killed, including 57 members of the Revolutionary Guards. Some of the names have already been announced, but so far Jaafari’s name has not been mentioned.
I cannot evaluate the impact on the AfPak theater, but it may be significant. It has already had a major impact on the border area. All flights in and out of Sarbaz and nearby cities were canceled Sunday and Monday, and the roads are blocked. Many local hospitals are counting the dead and treating the wounded. One hospital, in Iranshahr, reported more than fifty fatalities.
Meanwhile, there are other explosions. The most famous tea factory in the country, the Golestan Tea Factory, has been burned to the ground. There were reports of an explosion near the Oil Ministry in downtown Tehran on Sunday night (blamed on a faulty air tank), and there have been three major fires in the Tehran Bazaar since mid-June. Airplane incidents are so common they are rarely noted. A train from Tehran to Kerman derailed on Sunday evening, and it’s a train that typically carries many military personnel. And, as several reports have noted, in addition to the bombing in Blouchistan, there was also an ambush of a Revolutionary Guard convoy.
An explosive situation. And a big opposition demonstration is scheduled for November 4th.
Originally posted by clay2 baraka
I am starting to wonder. .
Khamenei goes into a coma. Military leaders get assassinated.
Who is maneuvering to fill the power vacuum left by the supreme leader?
Perhaps it will help put things in context by looking at the supreme leader’s recent movements. On October 5th he went from Tehran to Now Shar, where he visited a naval base and academy. Later that day he went to the city of Chaloos, preached a sermon, delivered a speech and returned to Now Shar. On the 6th he traveled by automobile to Ramsar, a very beautiful resort city, and which is graced by a palace of the late shah. Khamenei was supposed to spend three days there, but he wasn’t feeling well, and complained of difficulty in breathing. He was therefore flown from Ramsar airport to Tehran.
He was treated at home by various specialists for several days. He received oxygen to help him breathe. The collapse came on Monday the 12th, and he was taken to a special clinic–originally built for Imam Khomeini–in Tehran. Foreign specialists began to arrive on Wednesday the 14th, when he was examined by foreign doctors. They included two famous Russian professors who had been in Iran previously, by three men described as “orientals” (could be Chinese or North Koreans; I don’t know), and two other doctors who identified themselves as swiss. Throughout, the Iranian doctors kept saying “give him more oxygen.” Medicine was delivered from abroad, coming straight from the airport to the clinic.
I am told he was still in a coma late Friday afternoon, Tehran time. And he is still very sick.
He has had only one important visitor outside his immediate family and advisers: Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanese Hezbollah. Nasrallah flew in, I believe on Thursday night, went to the clinic, saw Khomenei for two-three minutes, and came out of the room “in tears.”
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council (and the effective leader with Khamenei incapacitated), inadvertently confirmed Nasrallah’s presence in his Friday sermon when he referred to a conversation between the two. The Nasrallah trip had not been announced in any of the Iranian media.
On Saturday morning or late Friday night, Khamenei was transferred from the special clinic to his own residence [palace] and many pieces of medical equipment were also transferred.
At noon, Saturday, Rafsanjani attempted to visit Khamenei but entry was refused and he was told to report back at 1600. When Rafsanjani reported back at 1600 he was told by Khamenei’s son that he could not see Khamenei, so Rafsanjani left again.
As for the alleged photos of the alleged meeting between Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and Senegalese President Wade, I am confident that there was no such meeting. Wade only met with Ahmadinejad. The purpose of the short meeting was for Wade to deliver a formal complaint on behalf of various poor African countries. Iran, which this year chairs the Islamic Conference, had promised considerable aid to them, but as yet has failed to pay. So Wade asked Ahmadinejad to keep his promise.
I earlier speculated that the photos were falsified, but, as it turns out, the pics (and film broadcast on Iranian TV) were from the files. Wade had been four times to Tehran. The photo of Wade in a Western suit was taken at the meeting of the Islamic Conference in Tehran four months ago. The regime was in such a hurry to put paid to the stories about Khamenei’s illness that the news agencies failed to coordinate the pictures.
Finally, the most impressive evidence of the real condition of the Supreme Leader is that he did not appear in public after the terrible bombing today (Sunday). It would have been normal for him to go on television and address the Iranian people.
But Khamenei did indeed meet with Erdogan, at the very last minute. The Turkish convoy diverted to the Supreme Leader’s residence en route to the airport, and there was a meeting there, down the hall from the doctors, involving the top members of the Turkish delegation, and both Foreign Minister Mottaki and Ali Larijani from the National Security Council of Iran, in addition to the two principals. The meeting lasted 47 minutes, and Khamenei took the occasion to denounce America as the cause of all the region’s problems. Interestingly, he also talked about the future of Iraq, calling on the Turks to join with Iran and Syria to drive Iraq toward an Islamic Republic. There are photographs and films of the meeting, all genuine so far as I can tell.
So Khamenei is well enough to hold at least one important meeting, and presumably to make decisions. This is the second time in the past three years that he has recovered from a coma. He certainly has great recuperative powers. There is no confirmed evidence of any public or private activity by the supreme leader from October 6th to today; the meeting with Erdogan is the first such event so far as I can tell.
There are reliable reports that Chinese and Russian doctors were flown to Tehran to attend to Khamenei, who I believe–and reported–went into a coma around the 12th of this month.
So I’m sticking to my story: I think the supreme leader is gravely ill, and I believe that eventually we will see direct evidence of his bad health. It is not unusual for such information to be suppressed in Iran. The death of the first supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, was not announced for several days after the event. The regime likes to sort things out before permitting the world to know what has happened. Khamenei is certainly a very sick man, and there is a considerable amount of internal fighting going on over the succession.
Meanwhile, we are a week away from the pending demonstrations of November 4th, the annual excuse for bashing America (it’s the anniversary of the storming of the American Embassy in Tehran thirty years ago). This year, the opposition is calling for a monster demonstration against the regime, and the regime is plainly concerned, perhaps even frightened. This is demonstrated by a leaked Top Secret letter from Alireza Malekian, the Deputy Minister for Press and Dissemination of Information Affairs to the media, warning that there must be no reporting on anything that might “lead to tension…or breach public order.”
I am told that there are Russian experts in Iran, working with the locals to jam outside transmissions in the runup to the 4th, and block the social networks (Twitter, Facebook, and cell phones) that have been such an important tool for the opposition to organize previous demonstrations. But it is significant, I think, that despite various calls for the regime to move against the Green leaders–Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami–nothing of the sort has happened. I think this is because the regime tyrants know that any such move would precipitate open conflict, and I don’t think they are very confident that their security forces will be willing to wage war on their own people, especially if there is reason to wonder if the supreme leader is capable of making the many key decisions that will come up in the near future.
We shall see in the next week.
UPDATE: The head of the Revolutionary Guards this evening issued yet another warning to the Iranian people, telling them not to challenge the regime on November 4th.