He attended the seminary classes at the rudimentary ("sath") and advanced ("kharej") levels in the hawza of Mashhad, under his mentors such as Haj Sheikh Hashem Qazvini, and Ayatollah Milani, and then went to Najaf in 1957. After a short stay he left Najaf to Mashhad, and in 1958 he settled in Qom. Khamenei attended the classes of Ayatollahs Husain Borujerdi and Ruhollah Khomeini. Later, he was involved in the Islamic activities of 1963 which led to his arrest in the city of Birjand, in Southern Khorasan Province. Shortly thereafter, he was released and resumed teaching in Mashhad's religious schools and mosques, teaching the Nahj al-Balagheh.
In Persian, he likes poetry. In his analysis of the Persian poetry of Allameh Muhammad Iqbal, he states that "Iqbal was not acquainted with Persian idiom, as he spoke Urdu at home and talked to his friends in Urdu or English. He did not know the rules of Persian prose writing. Nevertheless, he admires Iqbal. Like many other politically active clerics at the time, Khamenei was far more involved with politics than religious scholarship.
Khomeini appointed Khamenei to the post of Tehran's Friday Prayer Leader in the autumn of 1979, after the resignation of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri from the post. He served briefly as the Deputy Minister for Defence and as a supervisor of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Also he went to battlefield as a representative of defense commission of the parliament. In June 1981, Khamenei narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when a bomb, concealed in a tape recorder at a press conference, exploded beside him. He was permanently injured, losing the use of his right arm,.
|Ali Akbar Parvaresh||342,600||2.03%|
|Blank or invalid votes||356,266||2.12%|
In his presidential inaugural address Khamenei vowed to eliminate `deviation, liberalism, and American-influenced leftists.` Vigorous opposition to the regime, including nonviolent and violent protest, assassinations, guerrilla activity and insurrections, was answered by state repression and terror in the early 1980s, both before and during Khamenei's presidency. Thousands of rank-and-file members of insurgent groups were executed, often by revolutionary courts. By 1982, the government announced that the courts would be reined in, although various political groups were repressed by the government in the first half of the decade.
Khamenei helped lead the country during the long, bloody Iraq-Iran War in the 1980s, and developed close ties with the now-powerful Revolutionary Guards. As president, he had a reputation as a policy wonk deeply interested in military matters, budgets and administrative details.
He was re-elected to a second term in 1985, capturing 85.66% of total votes.
Seyyed Ali Khamene'i was preceded by Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of Islamic Revolution in Iran. When Khomeini died, Khamenei was elected as the new Supreme Leader by the Assembly of Experts on June 4, 1989. Initially, a council of three members, "Ali Meshkini, Mousavi Ardabili and Khamenei", was proposed for Leadership. After rejection of a Leadership Council by the assembly, and lack of votes for Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Golpaygani, Khamenei became the Supreme Leader by two third of the votes.
The concept of an Islamic ruler superior to all national political figures or governmental organs is called Velayat e Faqih (guardianship of the jurist). It was first developed by Ayatollah Muhammad Naraqi and expanded and revised by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In this kind of theocratic leadership, no political decision is lawful until it is approved by the supreme leader (Vali e Faqih, ولی فقیه in Persian). Even the taking of office by the democratically elected president is subject to the approval of the Supreme Leader.
Khamenei transformed the position of supreme leader, bringing many of the powers of the presidency with him into the office, turning it into an "omnipotent overseer of Iran's political scene", according to Vali Nasr, a scholar of Shiism. Officials under Khamenei influence the country's various powerful 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 nongovernmental foundations, organizations, councils, seminaries and business groups.
His status as marja is controversial. In 1994, after the death of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Araki, the Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom declared Khamenei a new marja. However, four of Iran's dissident grand ayatollahs declined to recognize Khamenei as a marja. Nevertheless, according to narjes.org a cleric only needs acceptance of a few grand ayatollahs to be recognized as marja. Khamenei refused the offer of marja'iyat for Iran, as he explained, due to other heavy responsibilities, but agreed to be the marja for the Shi'as outside of Iran. His acceptance of marja'iyat for Shi'as outside Iran does not have traditional precedence in Shi'ism. Marja'iyat can be, and in modern times it increasingly is, transitional.
Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Shirazi, who was under house-arrest at the time for his opposition to Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, did not accept Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a marja. According to "Human Rights in Iran" (2001) by Pace University's Reza Afshari, Shirazi was "indignant" over recognition of Khamenei as the Supreme Leader and a marja. Shirazi (who died in late 2001) apparently favored a committee of Grand Ayatollahs to lead the country. Other marjas who questioned the legitimacy of Khamenei's marja'yat were dissident clerics: Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Grand Ayatollah Hassan Tabatabai-Qomi and Grand Ayatollah Yasubedin Rastegari.
(1) A vast network of commissars stationed in stratgic posts throughout government bureacracies, dedicated to enforcing his authority; (2) the weak, conservative-dominated parliament, headed by Khamenei loyalist Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel (whose daughter is married to the Leader's son); (3) the rapidly rising political and economic influence of the Islamic Revoutionary Guards, whose top leaders are directly appointed by Khamenei and have always been publicly deferential to him; (4) the political disengagement of Iran's young population ....; and (5) most significant[ly], the 2005 presidential election, which saw hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad trounce Khamenei's chief rival Hashemi Rafsanjani ...
Ali Khamenei has been supportive of scientific progress in Iran. He was among the first Islamic clerics to allow stem cell research and therapeutic cloning. In 2004, Khamenei said that the country's progress is dependent on investment in the field of science and technology. He also said that attaching a high status to scholars and scientists in society would help talents to flourish and science and technology to become domesticated, thus ensuring the country's progress and development.
In 2007, Khamenei requested that government officials speed up Iran's move towards economic privatization. Its last move towards such a goal was in 2004, when Article 44 of the constitution was overturned. Article 44 had decreed that Iran's core infrastructure should remain state-run. Khamenei also suggested that ownership rights should be protected in courts set up by the Justice Ministry; the hope was that this new protection would give a measure of security to and encourage private investment.
Additionally, Khamenei has stated that he believes in the importance of nuclear technology for civilian purposes because "oil and gas reserves cannot last forever.
In April 30 2008, Ali Khamenei backed President Ahmadinejad’s economic policy and said the West was struggling with more economic difficulties than Iran, with a "crisis" spreading from the United States to Europe, and inflation was a widespread problem. Iranian leader said that the ongoing economic crisis which has crippled the world has been unprecedented in the past 60 years. “This crisis has forced the UN to declare state of emergency for food shortages around the globe but foreign radios have focused on Iran to imply that the current price hikes and inflation in the country are the results of carelessness on the part of Iranian officials which of course is not true”, he said. Khamenei emphasized that no one has the right to blame Iranian government for Iran’s economic problems. He also advised people and the government to be content and avoid waste in order to solve economic problems. “I advise you to keep in your mind that this great nation is never afraid of economic sanctions”, he added.
In 2000, Ali Khamenei sent a letter to the Iranian parliament forbidding the legislature from debating a revision of the Iranian press law. He wrote: "The present press law has succeeded to a point in preventing this big plague. The draft bill is not legitimate and in the interests of the system and the revolution. His use of "extra-legislative power" has been criticized widely by reformists and opposition groups. In reaction to the letter, some Parliament members voiced outrage and threatened to resign. Kayhan and Jomhuri-ye Eslami are two newspapers published under the management of Khamenei.
In late 1996, following a fatwa by Khamenei stating that music education corrupts the minds of young children, many music schools were closed and music instruction to children under the age of 16 was banned by public establishments (although private instruction continued). Khamenei stated: "The promotion of music [both traditional and Western] in schools is contrary to the goals and teachings of Islam, regardless of age and level of study".
In July 2007, Khamenei criticized Iranian women's rights activists and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): "In our country ... some activist women, and some men, have been trying to play with Islamic rules in order to match international conventions related to women," Khamenei said. "This is wrong. However, he is positive on reinterpreting Islamic law in a way that it is more favorable to women - but not by following Western conventions. Khamenei made these comments two days after Iranian women's rights activist Delaram Ali was sentenced to 34 months of jail and 10 lashes by Iran's judiciary. Iran's judiciary works under the auspices of the supreme leader and is independent from the government.
With regard to women's dress, Khamenei believes in the need for compulsory hijab.
Khamenei claims that "Today, homosexuality is a major problem in the western world. They [western nations] however ignore it. But the reality is that homosexuality has become a serious challenge, pain and unsolvable problem for the intellectuals in the west. Khamenei did not name these western intellectuals.
In 2007, Iranian police which acts under the control of Supreme leader, launched a "Public Security Plan": The police arrested dozens of "thugs" to increase public security. The arrested "thugs" are sometimes beaten on camera in front of neighborhood inhabitants, or forced to wear hanging watering cans used for lavatory ablutions around their necks. During the first three months of the campaign against women not adhering fully to the strict Islamic dress code, in Tehran alone 62,785 women were stopped by police, and of these 1,837 were arrested. In the first three months, police arrested in the capital more than 8,000 young "criminals" who have offended public morals.
The Islamic Republic has not yet allowed a single Sunni mosque to be built in Tehran; although President Mohammad Khatami promised during election time to build a Sunni mosque in Tehran. After he won the elections, he was reminded of his promise but he said that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had not agreed to the proposal.
During the 2005 presidential election, Khamenei's comments about importance of fighting corruption, being faithful to the ideals of the Islamic revolution, as well as on the superior intelligence and dynamism of those who studied engineering, were interpreted by some as a subtle endorsement of Mamoud Ahmadinejad (who had a Ph.D. in traffic engineering). After the election and until recently Khamenei was outspoken in his support for Ahmadinejad, and "defended him publicly in ways which he never" had reformist president Khatami.
Khamenei has called human rights a fundamental principle underlying Islamic teachings, that precedes western concern for human rights by many centuries. Human Rights in Islam include the rights to live, to be free, to benefit from justice and to welfare. He has attacked Western powers who have criticized the rights record of the Islamic Republic for hypocrisy by economically oppressing people in Third World countries and supporting despots and dictators.
However under Khamenei's interpretation this does not extend to religious rights for Bahá'í. Khamenei supported persecution of Bahá'ís and signed documents recommending several organized methods of oppression and ways of decreasing the influence of Bahá'ís in Iran and abroad. According to a letter from the Chairman of the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces in Iran addressed to the Ministry of Information, the Revolutionary Guard and the Police Force, Khamenei has also ordered the Command Headquarters to identify people who adhere to the Bahá'í Faith and to monitor their activities and gather any and all information about the members of the Bahá'í Faith.
In response to Western complaints of human rights abuses in Iran he has stated that the American administration has committed many crimes and is therefore not fit to judge the Islamic Republic.
In a visit with hardline cleric Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, Khamenei praised Mesbah’s books and thoughts as being original, very useful, solid and correct. He also stated that the Islamic world needs these ideas today more than any time in the past. Mesbah Yazdi advocates a return to the values of the 1979 Iranian revolution and is a prominent opponent of the Reformist movement in Iran.
On June 4, 2006, Khamenei said that Iran would disrupt energy shipments from the Persian Gulf region (about 20% of the world's daily supply of oil passes from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz very close to Iran's coast) should the country come under attack from the US, insisting that Tehran will not give up its right to produce nuclear fuel.
On September 14, 2007, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (on 1st Friday prayer of Ramadan) predicted that George Bush and American officials will one day be tried in an international criminal court to be held "accountable" for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He has also blamed the United States for "blind terrorism" after its invasion of Iraq. He asserts that the United States is the main cause of insecurity in Iraq.
In 2005 Khamenei responded to President Ahmadinejad's alleged remark that Israel should be "wiped off the map" by saying that "the Islamic Republic has never threatened and will never threaten any country. Moreover Khamenei's main advisor in foreign policy, Ali Akbar Velayati, refused to take part in a Holocaust conference. In contrast to Ahmadinejad's remarks, Velayati said that the Holocaust was a genocide and a historical reality.
In a sermon for Friday prayers in Tehran on 19 September 2008, Khamenei stated that "it is incorrect, irrational, pointless and nonsense to say that we are friends of Israeli people," and that he had raised the issue "to spell an end to any debates". The remarks were made in reference to earlier comments by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a vice president in charge of tourism, and president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had both insisted that Iran was the enemy of the Zionist state but not of the Israeli people.
Since the founding of the Islamic Republic, Khamenei has held many government posts