A question I get asked frequently: who is going to replace the current Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?
Do you know the answer? because I don’t. No one knows. The regime has not mentioned any names. So far, all that we have to go on are guesses and assumptions.
The same applied to the 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini was about to pass away and people were wondering who will replace him. Although back then it was relatively easier to list the name of those who could succeed him, as it was (relatively) soon after the revolution and there were more notable candidates.
But even then respectable publications such as the New York Times got it wrong. See the below quote from the May 22 1989 article from the NYT:
In the power struggle that consumes Iran’s ruling clergy, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s son, Ahmad, has emerged as a prime contender to inherit his father’s authority.
The NYT got it wrong, with good reason. The process of choosing the next supreme leader was relatively opaque and secretive during Khomeini’s time, now days under Ayatollah Khamenei its far more opaque and secretive.
The quoted NYT article is a must read. It also provides a fascinating insight into a previously unknown 110 page letter published by Ahmad Khomeini against Ayatollah Montazeri, after the latter was dismissed from his role as Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor. Why? because he lambasted Khomeini for executing thousands of MEK prisoners without a proper trial and on dubious grounds. Among other things (the late) Ayatollah Montazeri tells Khomeini:
”the crimes of your Ministry of Intelligence and those committed in your prisons are far worse than those of the Shah and Savak, and I speak of detailed knowledge.”
Read the entire article here.