Ayatollah Khamenei In Coma Or Dead, Rumors Say

Sandy Smith's picture

The Internet is abuzz with rumors that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has died after slipping into a coma. "Khamenei died" phrases circulates all over the internet and blogsphere.

The principal report of Khamenei's death cited comes from Michael Leeden, a longtime Middle East scholar affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute. As of this writing, Leeden's blog on Pajamas Media is overloaded with traffic.

Other sources reporting the death of Ayatollah Khamenei include the Jerusalem Post and Pravda. Several U.S. news outlets have also picked up the story about his slipping into coma.

The Iranian Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, has reported to the Armenian government that Khamenei is not dead. Yet other observers report that the situation in the Iranian capital of Tehran is tense, with troops in the streets.

Should the rumors prove true, Khamenei's death will set off a power struggle in the Iranian government as the clerics who make up the Supreme Revolutionary Council jockey for position and power. Some bloggers have speculated that with the country still in turmoil over last fall's disputed parliamentary election, the Islamic Republic itself could fall.

Such an outcome is unlikely given the power that remains in the Revolutionary Guard. However, Khamenei's coma or death could shift the balance of power away from hard-liners and towards reformers.

Written by Sandy Smith

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