IRAN’S supreme leader has scrapped all public appearances as he is “gravely ill”, regime insiders claim.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, is reported to be bedridden after undergoing bowel surgery last week.
Khamenei, who has been in office since 1989, is understood to have suffered “extreme stomach pains and high fever” before the op, the New York Times reports.
A makeshift clinic was set up at his home for the surgery, a source close to the leader told the outlet.
They claimed he has cancelled all meetings as he remains on bed rest and under round-the-clock doctor observation
Khamenei’s condition was considered critical last week, but has since improved, according to insiders.
It is claimed Khamenei – who is Iran’s highest authority and has the final say on all state matters – is too weak to sit up in bed amid ongoing concern from his medics.
At the end of August, he visited the religious city of Mashhad to perform a “dust cleaning” ritual at the Imam Reza shrine.
Pictures of him shared by Iranian media show him wearing a face mask as he went to a secluded area of the shrine to clean it and place his head on a tombstone.
An insider claims he told people travelling the 560 mile journey with him it might be his last visit given his age, NYT reported.
It is reported he fell ill after arriving back in Tehran.
Sources close to the leader told the paper his condition has deteriorated in the last week, forcing him to cancel all meetings.
Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi visited Uzbekistan for a regional security meeting on Friday – which analysts told the paper he would likely have cancelled if Khamenei’s life was in danger.
Question marks have hung over the supreme leader’s health for several years.
In 2020, it was claimed he would hand power to his son as his health worsened.
His right-hand remains partially paralysed following an assassination attempt in 1981 when a bomb exploded in front of him.
Rumours have long swirled that Khamenei has suffered from prostate cancer.
It was reported the supreme leader underwent successful prostate surgery in 2014.
Since then, his health issues have remained a mystery.
When Khamenei dies, a new supreme leader will be selected by the Assembly of Experts, made up of 88 clerics, according to the Islamic Republic constitution.
Once chosen and having received at least two-thirds of the votes from the assembly, his successor could keep the position for life.
The constitution states following the death or removal of a supreme leader, a new one must be appointed as soon as possible.
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