Iran’s Khamenei Makes a Public Appearance After Concerns of Illness

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, gave a televised speech on Wednesday, his second in less than a week. He appeared well despite reports that he had been under medical care.

On September 16th, the New York Times quoted four sources acquainted with Khamenei’s health state who said that he had canceled all meetings and public appearances after becoming dangerously unwell and instead rested in bed under the watchful eye of his medical team.

Khamenei, leader of the Islamic Republic since 1989, made an appearance on Wednesday to speak at a memorial for soldiers who served in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.

He talked for 55 minutes in his customary clerical robes, devoting much of his time to discussing “the necessity to teach young Iranians about the fight and for them not to fall for Western forces’ deceit” in the Iran-Iraq war.

He failed to mention the four days of protests that rocked Iran after a young woman died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Iran's Khamenei illness

Khamenei, his face concealed, sat on a stage for almost an hour, listening to lectures from army leaders and religious hymns before delivering his presentation. He stood up from his chair without assistance and offered his observations in a clear tone.

Since the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who formed Iran’s Islamic Republic following the 1979 revolution, Khamenei, a fierce opponent of the United States and its allies in the Middle East, has ruled as supreme leader.

Khamenei hosted guests for a religious service on Saturday. There had been almost two weeks since his last public appearance. Go here for more information

On Friday, Reuters asked two people close to Khamenei about his health, and they both denied that his condition had worsened. Not having been seen in public since September 3rd, speculation on social media centers around the possibility that he may be sick.

Khamenei has been in power for almost 30 years and has spent that time defying the United States, expanding Iran’s military presence in the Middle East, and maintaining an extremely tight hold on power at home.

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