Seyyed Ali Khamenei Biography & Facts
Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei (Persian: سید علی حسینی خامنهای, pronounced [ʔæˈliː hosejˈniː xɒːmeneˈʔiː] (listen); born 19 April 1939) is a Twelver Shia marja' and the second and current supreme leader of Iran, in office since 1989. He was previously the third president of Iran from 1981 to 1989. Khamenei is the longest serving head of state in the Middle East, as well as the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.According to his official website, Khamenei was arrested six times before being sent into exile for three years during Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's reign. After the Iranian revolution overthrowing the shah, he was the target of an attempted assassination in June 1981 that paralysed his right arm. Khamenei was one of Iran's leaders during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s, and developed close ties with the now powerful Revolutionary Guards which he controls, and whose commanders are elected and dismissed by him. The Revolutionary Guards have been deployed to suppress opposition to him. Khamenei served as the third President of Iran from 1981 to 1989, while becoming a close ally of the first Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini. Shortly before his death, Khomeini had a disagreement with the heir he had chosen — Hussein Ali Montazeri — so there was no agreed on successor when Khomeini died. The Assembly of Experts elected Khamenei as the next Supreme Leader on 4 June 1989, at age 50. According to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khamenei was the man Khomeini had chosen as his successor before dying. Khamenei has been head of the servants of Astan Quds Razavi since 14 April 1979.As Supreme Leader, Khamenei is the most powerful political authority in the Islamic Republic. He is the head of state of Iran, the commander-in-chief of its armed forces, and can issue decrees and make the final decisions on the main policies of the government in many fields such as economy, the environment, foreign policy, and national planning in Iran. As Supreme Leader, Khamenei has either direct or indirect control over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, as well as the military and media, according to Karim Sadjadpour. All candidates for the Assembly of Experts, the Presidency and the Majlis (Parliament) are vetted by the Guardian Council, whose members are selected directly or indirectly by the Supreme Leader of Iran. There have also been instances when the Guardian Council reversed its ban on particular people after being ordered to do so by Khamenei.There have been major protests during Khamenei's reign, including the 1994 Qazvin Protests, the 1999 Iranian student protests, the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, the 2011–2012 Iranian protests, the 2017–2018 Iranian protests, the 2018–2019 Iranian general strikes and protests, the 2019–2020 Iranian protests, the 2021–2022 Iranian protests, and the Mahsa Amini protests. Journalists, bloggers and other individuals have been put on trial in Iran for the charge of insulting Supreme Leader Khamenei, often in conjunction with blasphemy charges. Their sentences have included lashing and jail time; some of them have died in custody. Regarding the nuclear program of Iran, Khamenei issued a fatwa in 2003 forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction.
Early life and education
Born to Seyyed Javad Khamenei, an Alim and Mujtahid born in Najaf, and Khadijeh Mirdamadi (daughter of Hashem Mirdamadi) in Mashhad, Khamenei is the second of eight children. Two of his brothers are also clerics; his younger brother, Hadi Khamenei, is a newspaper editor and cleric. His elder sister Fatemeh Hosseini Khamenei died in 2015, aged 89. His father was an ethnic Azerbaijani from Khamaneh, while his mother was an ethnic Persian from Yazd. Some of his ancestors are from Tafresh in today's Markazi Province and migrated from their original home in Tafresh to Khamaneh near the Tabriz. Khamenei's great ancestor was Sayyid Hossein Tafreshi, a descendant of the Aftasi Sayyids, whose lineage supposedly reached to Sultan ul-Ulama Ahmad, known as Sultan Sayyid, a grandchild of Shia fourth Imam, Ali ibn Husayn.
Khamenei's education began at the age of four, by learning Quran at Maktab; he spent his basic and advanced levels of seminary studies at the hawza of Mashhad, under mentors such as Sheikh Hashem Qazvini and Ayatollah Milani. Then, he went to Najaf in 1957, but soon returned to Mashhad due to his father's unwillingness to let him stay there. In 1958, he settled in Qom where he attended the classes of Seyyed Hossein Borujerdi and Ruhollah Khomeini. Like many other politically active clerics at the time, Khamenei was far more involved with politics than religious scholarship.
On 24 June 2019, the United States imposed sanctions on Khamenei with the signing of Executive Order 13876.
Khamenei is married to Mansoureh Khojasteh Bagherzadeh, with whom he has six children; four sons (Mostafa, Mojtaba, Masoud, and Meysam) and two daughters (Boshra and Hoda). One of his sons, Mojtaba, married a daughter of Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel. His eldest son, Mostafa, is married to a daughter of Azizollah Khoshvaght. Another son, Masoud, is married to the daughter of Mohsen Kharazi. He has two brothers, Mohammad Khamenei and Hadi Khamenei.
As Supreme Leader, Khamenei moved to a house in Central Tehran on Palestine Street. A compound grew around it that now contains around fifty buildings. Around 500 people are employed at this "Beit Rahbari compound" according to The Telegraph, "many recruited from the military and security services".
According to Mehdi Khalaji, an Iran expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Khamenei has a decent life "without it being luxurious". Robert Tait of The Daily Telegraph commented that Khamenei is "renowned for a spartan lifestyle." Dexter Filkins describes Khamenei as presenting himself "as an ascetic, dressing and eating simply". In an interview with a women's magazine, his wife declared that "we do not have decorations, in the usual sense. Years ago, we freed ourselves from these things."
On the other hand, Mother Nature Network claims Khamenei has been seen riding around in a BMW car and published a picture of him exiting one. In a 2011 report in The Daily Telegraph, defectors from Iran claimed Khamenei has a considerable appetite of caviar and trout, a stable of 100 horses, collects items such as pipes and (reputedly) 170 antique walking sticks, and has a private court stretching over six palaces. Intelligence sources have also said his family has extensive international business interests.
Khamenei's health has been called into question. In January 2007, after he had not been seen in public for some weeks, and had not appeared as he traditionally does at celebrations for Eid al-Adha, rumours spread of h.... Discover the Seyyed Ali Khamenei popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Seyyed Ali Khamenei books.