IRAN’S supreme leader is “gravely ill” after undergoing life-saving surgery, regime insiders claim.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, was reported to be bedridden after undergoing an op on his bowel last week.
Khamenei, who has been in office since 1989, is understood to have suffered “extreme stomach pains and high fever” before the surgery, 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 cancelled all meetings as he was put on bed rest and round-the-clock doctor observation
Khamenei’s condition was considered critical last week, but has since improved, according to insiders.
Today he received a group of visitors at a religious ceremony, with state television showing him standing and speaking with a steady voice.
It was claimed by insiders that Khamenei – who is Iran‘s highest authority and has the final say on all state matters – was too weak to sit up in bed following the op.
His appearance today is his first in more than two weeks.
He met followers in Tehran on September 3, sparking rumours on social media that he was ill.
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.