Ali Khamenei Biography
(Supreme Leader of Iran)
Birthday: July 17, 1939 (Cancer)
Born In: Mashhad
Ali Khamenei is the current Supreme Leader of Iran, serving in this position since 1989. Once named as the 21st in the list of ‘The World's Most Powerful People’ by Forbes, he is considered the most powerful political authority in Iran, even more powerful than the President of the country. A Shia Cleric, he has called human rights a fundamental principle underlying Islamic teachings. Prior to becoming the Supreme Leader of Iran he had served as the President of Iran for several years. He played a key role in the Iranian Revolution of 1979 in which the Pahlavi dynasty under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was overthrown and an Islamic Republic was established under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. As a close confidant of Ruhollah Khomeini, Ali Khamenei achieved considerable political power. He assumed the post of the president in 1981 following the assassination of Mohammad-Ali Rajai and became the first cleric to serve in the office. Shortly before becoming the president he was badly injured in an attempted assassination that paralyzed his right arm, but nothing could thwart his political ambitions. He eventually succeeded the first Supreme Leader of Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini, upon his death to become the second individual to hold this position.