Iran Senior Cleric Denies Naming Candidates to Replace Khamenei

Source: Ashargh AlAwsat


Member of the Iranian Assembly of Experts Ahmed Khatami. (Reuters)

Member of the Iranian Assembly of Experts Ahmed Khatami confirmed that no candidate has been named to succeed current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Khatami, speaking at the celebrations marking 40 years since the 1979 cleric-led Iran Revolution, debunked rumors suggesting that Khamenei is ill and that the Assembly of Experts is racing against time find his successor.

The body is tasked with monitoring the performance of the Supreme Leader, as well as finding his replacement in the in the event of failure or death. 

In addition, Khatami played down the importance of reports on the formation of a special committee to discuss the likely candidate to succeed Khamenei.

Speculation has been widespread in Iran concerning Khamenei’s successor before the May 2017 presidential election.

Among the candidates rumored to possibly replace him were his son Mojtaba Khamenei, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who passed away last month, head of the Judiciary Sadeq Larijani and President Hassan Rouhani.

Many of those interested in Khamenei’s succession believe that the Revolutionary Guards Coprs, as well as the Leadership Experts Council, will be critical in determining the identity of the next leader.

Khamenei was appointed by the Assembly of Experts in 1989 as successor to Khomeini. A major controversy was sparked in Iran after a video recording surfaced during the 2017–18 protests, in which Khamenei is seen before the assembly saying he was not religiously qualified to be Supreme leader.

“We must weep for a society where the prospect of leadership and leadership like me is raised,” Khamenei was seen as telling council members at the time.