Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei is the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran, in office since 1989.

Iran, Khamenei is God under the name of Supreme Leader

The Iranian Supreme Leader. AP

Sanctions, coupled with economic mismanagement, have led to a severe economic crisis in Iran over the past few years. However, the immunity and holiness that Khomeini attributed to his position that was followed by his student Khamenei, made crucial changes in the political system of Iran Impossible. 

Smoke rises during a protest after authorities raised gasoline prices, in the central city of Isfahan, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. AP
Smoke rises during a protest after authorities raised gasoline prices, in the central city of Isfahan, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. AP

The political Shi’i theory in Iran has been skewed since Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Khomeini issued a decree convening an Assembly for Revising the Constitution that he created in 1979. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic was amended on 28 July 1989, which has been called a “hybrid” of “theocratic and democratic elements”. While articles one and two vest sovereignty in God, article six “mandates popular elections for the presidency and the Majlis, or parliament.” However, main democratic procedures and rights are subordinate to the person who made himself a god of Iran under the name of Supreme Leader. 

The Wilayat al Faqih that was created by Khomeini as a religious government believes that it must have control over all the political, social, economic affairs of the society.

The institutions of such a religious government include a Mujtahid who is heading the regime, a Guardian Council, an Expediency Council and a Majlis, which are all religious institutions, acting according to religious teachings. 

After the death of Khomeini in 1989 Ali Khamenei was chosen by the Assembly of Experts as the leader of the revolution. Khamenei followed his teacher’s path, and has been Supreme Leader for 30 years now. He has issued decrees and made final decisions on the economy, environment, foreign policy, education and national plannings in the Iran.

Khamenei is an “unusual type of dictator”. Officials under Khamenei influence the country’s various powerful, and sometimes bickering, institutions, including; the parliament, the presidency, the judiciary, the Revolutionary Guards, the military, the intelligence services, the police agencies, the clerical elite, the Friday prayer leaders and much of the media”, as well as various non-governmental foundations, organizations, councils, seminaries and business groups.

In Iran, the word of Ali Khamenei is absolute. For more three decades he has been his country’s supreme leader. Khamenei who fought for freedom to a dictator, now he is more of a dictator than a shah. Following Xerxes’s dream, Khamenei is punishing the Iranians with his dream about the New Persian Empire. 

Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech under portraits of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on June 3, 2014. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech under portraits of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on June 3, 2014. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Ali Khamenei

The successor to Khomeini is calling the Iranians to follow him as a God, under the name of supreme leader. Khamenei kills any voice in Iran calling for freedom, democracy or even change. 

In theory Khamenei can be removed by the 86-man Assembly of Experts, which approved him as Supreme Leader in 1989. However, the system has never been tested. ——-

In the Islamic system, the office and the legitimacy of the Supreme Leader comes from God, the Prophet and the Shiite Imams. It is not the people who legitimize the Supreme Leader and have the ability to remove him when they want. With all this power, Khamenei made the lives of Iranian citizens a living hell. 

Without any help from the international social, and despite the fire, arrest and death, the Iranians have a long history of protesting against the role of the Supreme Leader. And here are the important spots of the Iranian struggle, against the dictator Ali Khamenei. 

Tehran’s 1999 Student Protests

The first wave of protests began on the eve of 9 July 1999, after a peaceful demonstration by a group of students of Tehran University against the closure of the reformist newspaper Salam.

However, paramilitaries, thought to be “Ansar-e-Hezbollah” and possibly Basij began attacking students, kicking down doors and smashing through halls, grabbing female students by their hair and setting fire to classrooms. Several students were thrown off of third story balconies, one student was left with paralyzed. According to students’ accounts, uniformed police stood by and did nothing. Witnesses reported that at least one student was killed, 300 were wounded, and thousands detained in the days that followed.

The scene at Tehran University on December 7
The scene at Tehran University on December 7

A day after a violent police raid on a Tehran University dormitory, more than 10,000 students demonstrated in the university, and in other cities, chanting slogans against Government hard-liners and clashing with the police. Many Tehran citizens joined them, but the police showed no restraint in crushing the demonstrations. 

The reformist government of then-President Mohammad Khatami faced a serious crisis. Some of his close associates sided with the students. The minister of science and higher education resigned in protest against the brutality of the police and their Comrades of Hezbollah allies.

Khatami eventually condemned the attack and urged students to use moderation and not offer any pretext to anti-reformist elements. Then, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic intervened. Ayatollah Khamenei publicly asked members of the Basij paramilitary force not to resort to violence or react harshly to the student protests, ending five days of demonstrations.

2009 Iranian presidential election protests

After the suspicions of election fraud in Iran election in 2009, Tehran and other cities have seen the largest street protests and rioting since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Iran’s official figures for the six weeks since the election include 2,500 arrests in Tehran alone, with as many as 150 still in jail and 30 dead.

The true figures are believed to be much higher – the death toll could be in the hundreds. Khamenei ordered an investigation into the claims of electoral fraud and irregularities. 

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES  Above: Defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi (C) raises his arms as he appears during a demonstration in the streets on June 15, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. Crowds of people gathered to protest the re-election of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who won a second four-year term in a landslide election victory on June 12.
Above: Defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi (C) raises his arms as
he appears during a demonstration in the streets on June 15, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. Crowds of people gathered to protest the re-election of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who won a second four-year term in a landslide election victory on June 12.
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

After the end of demonstrations, human rights groups and campaigners inside and outside Iran, news reports collected 80 dead, around 750 still detained, just under 100 released and 10 missing or not heard of since the mid-June protests.

Ahmadinejad called the election “completely free” the outcome a “great victory” for Khamenei’s Iran, dismissing the protests as akin to little more than “passions after a soccer match” the outcome a “great victory” for Iran, dismissing the protests as akin to little more than “passions after a soccer match”.

2011–2012 Iranian protests

Iranians have been debating about how establish change, and how it has failed in the demonstrations of 2009. Following the arab spring Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the third millennium is witnessing “the powerful [presence] of Islam under Iran’s leadership.” But Iran people had another impact.

On 14 February 2011, thousands of protesters began to gather in a solidarity rally with Egypt and Tunisia. There was a large number of police on the streets to keep an eye on the protesters. 

 An anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran. Photograph: AP
An anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran. Photograph: AP

However, the solidarity protests turned into an anti-government demonstration. And Iran Khamenei faced again a year of demonstrations, but Khamenei had a new tactic this time. The Guardian newspaper reported that after the 1 March 2012, children from ages 12–16 were used by the Basij against the protesters. According to information released by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, these children were “armed with batons, clubs and air guns and ordered to attack demonstrators who have tried to gather in Tehran.”

They had been bussed in by the government from rural provinces far from the capital. After a year of protesting many Iranians were killed and arrested by the police, Khamenei’s children’s and 1500 Hezbollah fighters. Eventually the dominstrations ended in Iran.

2017–18 Iranian protests

As of 2015, Iran’s nuclear program has cost $100 billion in lost oil revenues and lost foreign direct investment because of international sanctions $500 billion.

Analysts suggest the protests of 2017-2018 are a result of unfavorable economic policies adopted by the administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, others say that dissatisfaction with the theocratic regime and the Supreme Leader are the actual causes of the unrest.

An Iranian woman raises her fist amid the smoke of tear gas at the University of Tehran during a protest driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017. Students protested in a third day of demonstrations sparked by anger over Iran’s economic problems, videos on social media showed, but were outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

On 28 December 2017, Iranians went into a ten days of series public protests occurring in various cities throughout Iran. The religious authoritarianism was the most salient target of the protests since protesters had come to believe that the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist was determined to preserve the status-quo and not susceptible to reform.

The scope of Iranians expanded for the first time to include political opposition to the theocratic regime of Iran and its longtime Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, calling for “Death to the dictator!”.

Khamenei posted asserting the current protests were brought on by the country’s “enemies”. The government in a backlash against the protests prepared thousands of supporters staged pro-government rallies in more than a dozen cities across Iran.

According to Iranian authorities, protests turned violent in some parts of the country, and Iranian state television reported that the protesters attacked police stations and military personnel and installations, and started fires. The internet access was shut down in Iran. 25 killed, 4,972 people arrested in ten days of demonstrations in before The Iranian Revolutionary Guard said that Iran’s people and security forces, including the Basij, police, and Intelligence Ministry, had defeated the unrest. The IRGC said the United States, Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, People’s Mujahedin of Iran, and monarchists were responsible for the unrest. 

2019 Iranian fuel protests

 A funeral ceremony in Tehran last week for two security officers killed during protests against fuel price hikes. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu
A funeral ceremony in Tehran last week for two security officers killed during protests against fuel price hikes. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu

After many strikes and protests during 2018 and the 2019, the government announced the price increase in the early hours of 15 November, Iranians in various cities took to the streets to protest. Demonstrators gathered in over 50 cities and many major cities such as Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan, and Shiraz to protest the sudden price hike.

Khamenei accused Iranian security forces of ‘excessive and lethal force’ to crush protests, killing at least 106 until now. Internet access across the country was reported to be shutdown, with online activity estimated to be 7% of ordinary levels. State news agencies reported that over 1000 people had been arrested so far, and protests had spread to over 100 cities in Iran.

Iran’s economy has been hit hard since US sanctions came into effect in mid 2018, and as a result nearly half of its imports and exports have halted with an estimate of 600,000 barrels of oil being slashed.

A unique feature of Iran’s economy is the presence of large religious foundations called Bonyad, whose combined budgets represent more than 30 percent of central government spending. Iran is facing a sort of economic crisis, there is a sense of uncertainty and pessimism has become pervasive among Iranians.

The enthusiasm that accompanied the swearing in six years ago of President Rouhani, a moderate elected thanks to his promise to return a degree of openness to Iranian society and implement a diplomacy of dialogue with the world, seems very distant. 

Iran is rising again, more than a thousand arrested and at least 106 deaths in the clashes. The discontent indicates shows how widespread economic and political grievances are linked to diverse social classes in peripheries and major cities of the country.  

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a ceremony in a military academy, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, June 30, 2018.
The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a ceremony in a military academy, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, June 30, 2018.

Khamenei is blaming the protests on “all of the centres of villainy around the world that oppose us.” because It’s difficult for him to believe, that the very young, the modern Iranian population is going to be willing to be ruled by a supreme leader who purports to be God’s representative on Earth. The supreme leader wants to fight to pass on the system he inherited. He has been a cleric for 60 years, and the guardian of a religious revolution for more than 20. In the end, it is to God alone that the supreme leader feels he must answer.

The Iranian stopped looking for decisions from God, they are making their decisions, their long way to freedom must be end. The supreme leader must leave. They are going to take off one of the old dictator in world and last dictator in their history.

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