Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is alive and well, an official said Monday morning, rejecting rumors that the country’s supreme leader had suffered a sudden deterioration in health, or even died.
“May it blind the enemies’ eyes that with the grace of God and the prayers of devotees, (Khamenei) is in good health and is carrying out his plans following the usual schedule,” Mehdi Fazaeli said on Twitter.
Fazaeli was described by Iranian media as a member of the office for the publication of Khamanei’s works.
State TV also denied reports of a meeting of the Assembly of Experts on Leadership, an 88-strong body of elected clerics responsible for appointing and monitoring the supreme leader.
It said a picture circulating on social media, purportedly of the news channel reporting such a meeting, was fake.
In addition, the Secretariat of the Assembly of Experts issued a statement denying that it had summoned an emergency meeting of its members, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Rumors regarding Kahmenei were triggered after London-based Iranian journalist Momahad Ahwaze tweeted Saturday that there had been a deterioration in the supreme leader’s health and that those close to him were “very afraid.”
Ahwaze added that sources had confirmed that Khamenei’s duties and powers had been transferred to his son Mojtaba Khamenei, who is in charge of various security and intelligence services in the country.
A Friday meeting between Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had been canceled, Ahwaze said, and noted that the reason for Khamenei’s sudden failing health was unclear, including whether it was related to his “illness with prostate cancer or another disease.” Ahwaze said that doctors had been summoned to treat him.
The tweets were picked up by some news media, including Newsweek. Then, on social media, some began to speculate that Khamenei had died.
Khamenei’s last public appearance was on November 24, when he met Iran’s top officials, with videos of the meetings aired by state television.
The 81-year-old leader underwent a successful prostate cancer operation in 2014.
There have been previous false claims about Khamenei’s death.