The Supreme Leader of Iran, better known in Iran as the Supreme Leadership Authority, is the highest ranking religious and political leader in the country, and the Head of State of Iran. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran established the post of the Supreme Leader.
The office of the supreme leader is more powerful than the office of the president. The supreme leader is responsible for appointing senior officials in the military, judiciary, and the civil government. Initially, the Constitution reserved the office for the highest ranking cleric on religious laws, in 1989, the constitution was amended to allow lower ranking clerics with proficiency in Islamic laws to occupy the office. The Assembly of Experts elects the Supreme Leader and oversees his position. The Supreme Leader is in charge of the office for an 8-year term without prohibitions regarding the limiting of the number of terms. Since the position was established, the office has been occupied by two supreme leaders. The first was Ruhollah Khomeini, who became Iran’s Supreme Leader immediately following the Iranian Revolution, occupying the office from 1979 until his death a decade later. The incumbent Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, took charge of the office shortly thereafter in 1989.
Ruhollah Khomeini was an Iranian revolutionary and religious leader. He was essential in the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 by assisting in the overthrow of the Pahlavi monarchy which was led by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Before joining politics, he had been a lecturer, a position in which he taught political philosophy, ethics, and law. He also had interest in poetry and was influenced by Greek philosophers Socrates and Aristotle. Following the death of religious leaders Sayyed Husayn Borujerdi (1961), and Abol-Ghasem Kashan (1962), Khomeini, aged 61, took to the political scene by openly denouncing the Shar programs that Mohammad Reza Shah, the son of anti-clerical modernizer Reza Shah Pahlavi was enforcing. In November 1964, Khomeini was arrested and jailed for six months. He was later exiled to Iraq. On February 1, 1979, he returned to Iran and was received by a large crowd. In 1979, a new constitution was adopted, and Khomeini was instituted as the Supreme Leader. His health condition declined before his death, and he spent eleven days in the hospital where he suffered five heart attacks in ten days. He died on June 3rd, 1989.
Ali Hosseini Khamenei
Ali Hosseini Khamenei became Iran’s second Supreme Leader in 1989 following the death of Ruhollah Khomeini. Before his political life, Khamenei taught in religious schools under the supervision of Ruhollah Khomeini. After the resignation of Hussein-Ali, Khomeini appointed Khamenei to the post of post of Tehran's Friday prayers Imam. He served as the Deputy Minister of Defense. In 1981, he survived an assassination attempt that left his right arm permanently paralyzed. In 1981, the president of Iran was assassinated and Khamenei was elected president. In 1982, he successfully led the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Iran and opposed Khomeini’s decision to invade Iraq. In 1985, he was reelected as the president. After Khomeini’s death, the Assembly of Experts him as a temporary Supreme Leader. On August 6th, 1989, he was confirmed as the new official Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a position he has held ever since.