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Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader,

The Real Power behind Iran's Sham Democracy

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Ayatollah Khamenei

"Supreme Leader" Ali Khamenei

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is Iran’s self-styled “Supreme Leader,” only the second such in the history of the Iranian Revolution, after Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, who ruled until 1989. He’s neither head of state nor head of the government. Yet Khamenei is essentially a dictatorial theocrat. He is the ultimate spiritual and political authority on all matters foreign and domestic, making the Iranian presidency—and indeed the entire Iranian political and judicial process—subordinate to his will. In 2007, The Economist summed up Khamenei in two words: “Supremely paranoid.”

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