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A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran

Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei

Born: 1939

Hometown: Mashhad

Position: Supreme Leader

“If street protests don’t stop, there will be other consequences ... They will be held accountable for all the violence and blood and rioting ... There will be a reaction.”




Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was born into a family of religious scholars in Mashhad, and attended seminary in that city under the direction of his father until the age of 18. He subsequently moved to Qom to continue his studies under ‘Allama Tabataba’i, Ayatollah Boroujerdi, and Ayatollah Khomeini. In 1962, he joined Khomeini’s movement, in which he played an active part.

Following the 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei joined the Islamic Revolutionary Council and the Islamic Republican party. He subsequently served as Minister of Defense and later President of Iran from 1982-1990. He was chosen to succeed Ayatollah Khomeini as Supreme Leader in 1990.

As Supreme Leader, Khamenei controls the military, including the Revolutionary Guards, and is responsible for resolving difficulties between the three branches of government. In his Friday sermon following the disputed June 12, 2009 elections, he stated that further demonstrations would not be tolerated. This was widely seen as a “green-light” to the military and paramilitary organizations, including the Basij militias, to violently crack-down on protesters.

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Reports, Right to Protest, Imprisonment