The life of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
This is how Ayatollah Ali Khamenei became the single most powerful person in Iran.
Who is really Ali Khamenei, the supreme guide of Iran?
He is one of the most powerful religious leaders in the world, but his private life remains very secret. This is the story of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is one of the most feared religious leaders in the world. At 80, the supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran keeps his private life secret. Here is what is known about one of the oldest serving religious leaders in the world.
Very young, they follow religious studies
Ali Khamenei was born in 1939 in Mashhad, the holiest city in Iran. He is the second child in a family of eight and grew up in a poor family. At 11, he followed in his father's footsteps and became a religious scholar. He then went to Qom, a holy Shiite city, to study Sharia law. At the time, Iran was a secular monarchy ruled by shah. He was only about 20 years old when he came under the tutelage of Ruhollah Khomeyni, a charismatic clerk who preaches religious conservatism and opposes shah. Ruhollah Khomeyni and his disciples criticize the head of state for his pro-American policy aimed at imposing Islamic law.
Opposition claimed to shah
In 1963, the shah exiled Ruhollah Khomeyni, and Ali Khamenei continued to spread his teachings. Ali Khamenei is repeatedly arrested, tortured and placed in solitary confinement. During the 1960s and 1970s, the opposition movement grew, leading to a popular uprising that overthrew the shah. In 1979, Ruhollah Khomeyni returned and became Supreme Guide to a new Islamic republic. Ruhollah Khomeyni invites Ali Khamenei to integrate his new government and names him imam of the big Friday prayer in Tehran. At 42, he gives a speech in a mosque when a bomb explodes next to him, paralyzing his right hand for the rest of his life.
President, then Supreme Guide
In 1981, he became president of Iran, a position which gave him little real power. In 1989, when Ruhollah Khomeyni died, Ali Khamenei was considered to be his successor. At 49, he was therefore elected Supreme Leader, which gave him direct control over the army, the justice system and the public media. It also has partial control over parliament, elections and public enterprises. He spreads his influence by strengthening the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, whose scarf he wears. It also develops the country's nuclear program by encouraging distrust of Western countries. He describes in particular the United States of Britain as evil, as a cursed regime and as cancer represented by the Zionist regime.
But in 2009, reformist politician Mir Hossein Moussavi, who claimed victory in the presidential election, called on his supporters to take to the streets. This uprising is known as the “green movement”. However, the authorities refused Moussavi's victory, and the police brutally ended the protests. Today, at more than 80 years old, he partially controls the country's politics. His detractors call him a dictator, unlike the shah he overthrew. Despite his fame, to this day, American officials continue to confuse him with his predecessor.
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