Iran’s Khamenei appears in public to curb rumors of near death


(JTA) — Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared in public following reports that he was hospitalized with late-stage cancer.

Photos of a healthy-looking Khamenei meeting Sunday with environmental officials in Tehran reportedly were posted online in order to “put an end to the Israeli-driven rumors” that the supreme leader was dying, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency

Unofficial reports emerged last week that Khamenei, 75, had stage 4 prostate cancer and two years to live. Khamenei reportedly has had the cancer for a decade, but doctors discovered during a surgery last September that the cancer had spread.

Officials in Tehran have not commented on reports of Khamenei’s declining health.

In Iran, the public has not been officially informed of Khamenei’s illness. The ayatollah holds absolute authority over Iran, including the final say on an accord being negotiated between world powers, including the United States, and Iran over its nuclear program.

Khamenei became supreme leader in 1989 following the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led Iran’s 1979 revolution. It is not clear who would succeed Khamenei should he step down or die.

Recommended from JTA