Because he hasn’t been seen in three weeks, rumors are growing that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seriously ill, but Israeli intelligence avers that he has been out of sight due to his efforts to draft an agreement with the U.S. and Russia dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
The UK newspaper The Times reported on Thursday that “Ayatollah Khamenei collapsed recently during a private meeting and since then has been convalescing or receiving treatment.” He normally sends farewells to Iranian pilgrims traveling for hajj, but did not do so two weeks ago. He also missed delivering a speech during Eid al-Ghadeer. DEBKAfile, an Israeli intelligence website, said the agreement between the U.S., Iran and Russia is done but it has not been publicly acknowledged because it might cause regional “shock.”
Khamenei, the supreme ruler of Iran, has not indicated who his heir would be, giving concern to religious hard-liners who fear his absence could lead the way for former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjan, a moderate, to institute reforms.