Ali Hosseini Khamenei (Persian: علی حسینی خامنه‌ای, romanized: Ali Hoseyni Xāmene’i, pronounced  (listen); born 19 April 1939) is a Twelver Shia marja' and the second and current supreme leader of Iran, in office since 1989. Previously he served as the third president of Iran from 1981 to 1989. Khamenei is the longest serving head of state in the Middle East, as well as the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. According to his official website, Khamenei was arrested six times before being sent into exile for three years during Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's reign. After the Iranian revolution overthrowing the shah, he was the target of an attempted assassination in June 1981 that paralyzed his right arm. Khamenei was one of Iran's leaders during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s, and developed close ties with the now powerful Revolutionary Guards which he controls, and whose commanders are elected and dismissed by him. The Revolutionary Guards have been deployed to suppress opposition to him. Khamenei served as the third President of Iran from 1981 to 1989, while becoming a close ally of the first Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini. Shortly before his death, Khomeini had a disagreement with the heir he had chosen — Hussein Ali Montazeri — so there was no agreed-on successor when Khomeini died. The Assembly of Experts elected Khamenei as the next Supreme Leader on 4 June 1989, at age 50. According to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khamenei was the man Khomeini had chosen as his successor before dying. Khamenei has been head of the servants of Astan Quds Razavi since 14 April 1979. More information...

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