Iran's Supreme Leader falls ill, cancels public appearances

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at his mausoleum in Tehran, Iran, on June 4, 2022.
Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via APIranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at his mausoleum in Tehran, Iran, on June 4, 2022.

Ali Khamenei cancels all public appearances, reportedly underwent surgery last week

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei canceled all public appearances and is on bed rest, under the supervision of a team of doctors, four people familiar with his health situation told US media.

According to The New York Times (NYT), the 83-year-old spiritual leader canceled all meetings and public showings last week after falling "gravely ill."

Khamenei had surgery sometime last week for bowel obstruction after suffering extreme stomach pains and high fever, one of the people told NYT. The four people, two of whom are based in Iran, including one who has close ties with the country’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), requested anonymity.

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One of the sources said the Iranian Ayatollah underwent surgery at a clinic set up in his home and office complex and is currently being monitored around the clock by doctors, adding that his condition was critical last week but has since improved. 

As the Islamic Republic's supreme leader, Khamenei has wide-ranging authority in Iran and is the final arbiter on issues such as the nuclear deal being negotiated between Tehran and world powers.

A former president of Iran, a protégé of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and the founder of the revolution that led to the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, Khamenei assumed the position of the country’s top religious, political, and military authority in 1989.

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