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Iran’s Supreme Leader Canceled public appearance after falling ill

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, canceled all meetings and public appearances last week after falling seriously ill and is now resting in bed under the supervision of a team of doctors. , according to four people familiar with his health situation.

Khamenei, 83, had surgery for some time last week for a bowel obstruction after suffering from stomach pain and high fever, a resident said. Four people, including two in Iran, including one with close ties to the country’s Revolutionary Guards, asked to remain anonymous to discuss a sensitive issue such as the health of the country’s Revolutionary Guards. Mr. Khamenei.

Mr Khamenei underwent the surgery at a clinic set up at his home and office complex and is now being monitored around the clock by a team of doctors, a person familiar with the surgery said. . Ayatollah’s condition was considered critical last week, but has improved and he is currently resting, the person said. Doctors are monitoring him around the clock and are still concerned that he is still too weak to sit up in bed.

As supreme leader, Khamenei, holds enormous power in Iran and will be the final arbiter on issues such as the nuclear deal currently being negotiated with the United States. Former president of Iran and patron of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the revolution that led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, Khamenei has assumed the position of religious authority, political and military leadership of the country in 1989.

The Tasnim news agency, part of the Revolutionary Guards, published a short on Friday saying Mr Khamenei would attend a religious ceremony with university students on Saturday. But it’s not clear if it will, given the state of his health.

Khamenei went to the religious city of Mashhad about two weeks ago to perform a ritual known as dust cleaning at the Imam Reza temple in Mashhad. He goes into a deserted area of ​​the temple, cleans it, and places his head on the headstone to signify prayer and submission. A photo of him at the temple was published by Iranian media.

Khamenei told those traveling with him that he felt this might be his last visit to the temple, given his age, according to one of four people who knew the details of his trip. The person said he fell ill shortly after returning to Tehran, and his condition worsened over the past week.

His office canceled all meetings last week, and also an important annual meeting with the Council of Experts – the body that will decide who to replace him after his death – on September 6 because he was too ill to sit up, according to four people familiar with the matter. his health status.

A member of the Expert Council, Hashem Hashemzadeh Harissi, told an Iranian newspaper that “in this round, unlike previous rounds, the members of the Expert Council did not meet the supreme leadership” because of it. “will be a burden on him.”

While Khamenei’s situation in recent days has led some in Iran and opposition groups outside the country to speculate that he has passed away, the country’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, has traveled to Uzbekistan to attend. a regional security meeting and analysts suggested he may have canceled his meeting. trip if ayatollah’s life is in danger. Mr Raisi is also scheduled to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where he will speak on Wednesday.

Iran usually does not comment publicly on Khamenei’s health. But in 2014, he underwent prostate surgery and his recovery was widely covered in the official media.

Iran’s UN mission in New York said it could not immediately comment without Tehran’s approval.

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