By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
When a leader like Iran's Grand Ayatollah Khamenei does not appear in public for three weeks, and when there are press reports that he collapsed in a meeting and was taken to the hospital, the intelligence community starts making all kinds of assumptions and conjectures.
It has been three weeks since the leader of Iran has been seen in public and it is assumed that he is recovering from some health issue. We in the West do not know what might have caused the Grand Ayatollah to collapse.
Khamenei has been in power since 1989. He is only 74, but if he can no longer serve there will be serious upheaval in Iran.
The man most likely to succeed Khamenei would be Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the fourth president of Iran, from 1989 to 1997.
Rafsanjani is believed to be a reformer and as such, he could really create change. He is extremely well qualified to be the Grand Leader, actually more qualified than Khamenei in terms of his level of learning and academic standing.
I am not about to speculate. In all likelihood the Ayatollah is not going anywhere. But the end of the rule of the Grand Ayatollah Khamenei will come eventually and when it does, it will be very interesting to see how things shake and rattle and are then resolved in Iran.
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