Rise of Iran’s warrior class: Succession in the air with reports of Khamenei’s decline

There are new reports of a sharp deterioration in the health of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei [denied as propaganda by the regime].

On March 4, he was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition and has undergone emergency surgery according to sources.

Significantly, the Iranian sources did not mention the success of the operation.

French medical experts were called to Tehran. They reported that Khamenei’s prostate cancer had spread beyond control. On the basis of medical reports, French Intelligence now estimates that the time remaining for Khamenei ranged between imminent death to no more than two years’ life expectancy.

This is not the first time that Khamenei’s health deteriorated and his death was anticipated. He is 76 years old and was never known to be in good health.

On Sept. 8, 2014, he underwent prostate surgery which reportedly succeeded. Khamenei’s hospitalization was covered by the Iranian media with emphasis that the issue of succession was not on the table. This time, however, Ayatollah Khamenei was rushed to hospital in great secrecy. Moreover, Iranian leaders and aspirant leaders were exploiting the crisis in order to seriously consider succession.

Moreover, the succession crisis was taking place at a crucial time when geostrategic and geo-economic developments in the greater Middle East, Central and South Asia have provided Iran with great opportunities as well as major threats. Furthermore, the markedly intensifying initiative by U.S. President Barack Obama to reach a “grand rapprochement” with the U.S. have provided Tehran with a unique opportunity to consolidate its posture as regional power to the point that other regional powers — mainly Israel — would find it difficult to reverse Iran’s ascent even after Obama left office in early 2017.

Irrespective of when it would be completed, Iran’s unfolding succession process is uniquely important.

Full article: Rise of Iran’s warrior class: Succession in the air with reports of Khamenei’s decline (World Tribune)

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