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Does Iran have a plan for a successor to Khamenei?

Recent rumors regarding a decline in Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s health have led to renewed speculation about who will succeed him.
Iranians hold their national flag and posters bearing portraits of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and the founder of Iran's Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (L) during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 36th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11, 2015. Iranians gathered in cities and villages all over the country to mark the 36th anniversary of the revolution which transformed the country from a US-backed monarchy into a cleric-ruled republi

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is 81 years old. For years now, a report every few months raises concern about his health. He has been described as “ailing” in many media reports, though there is no proof that the man who has been ruling Iran since 1989 is really in bad health. On Dec. 15, he made an appearance in front of cameras while receiving the family of late Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and a committee organizing commemorations for the first anniversary of the general’s assassination Jan. 3 in Baghdad by US drones.

A video showing Khamenei walking in what appears to be good health and several photos showing his face released by his office were probably aimed at refuting a rumor claiming he was ill and had passed his powers to his son, Mujtaba. The rumor made headlines during the first week of December based on one source on Twitter without fact-checking the source who broke the news about Khamenei’s deteriorating health on four previous occasions between 2013 and 2020.

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