|Born||1969 (age 45–46)
|Known for||Son of Ali Khamenei|
Sayyed Mojtaba Hosseini Khamenei (born 1969) is an Iranian hard-line cleric and a son of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. Mojtaba has reportedly taken control over the Basij militia being used to suppress the protests over the 2009 election and is also reported to be "being groomed" to succeed his father as Supreme Leader.
Early life and education
Mojtaba was born in Mashad in 1969 and is the second son of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. After graduating from high school, he studied theology. His early teachers included his own father and Ayatollah Sayyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi. In 1999, he continued his studies in Qom to became a cleric. Mesbah Yazdi, Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani and Mohammad Bagher Kharazi were his teachers there.
Activities and influence
Mojtaba teaches theology in the Qom seminary. He was affiliated with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and supported Ahmedinejad in the 2005 and 2009 presidential elections. However, in January 2013, Ahmedinejad accused him of embezzlement, indicating their alliance had ended.
Journalists stated that he may "have played a leading role in orchestrating" Ahmadinejad's electoral victory, and that he may be "a key figure in orchestrating the crackdown against anti-government protesters" in June 2009, and directly in charge of the paramilitary Basij, a blackout of his name in the regime press notwithstanding. In an open letter, Mehdi Karroubi, ex-chairman of the Majlis (parliament) and a reformist candidate in the 2009 presidential vote, explicitly accused Mojtaba Khamenei of participating in a conspiracy to rig the election, referring to illegal interference of "a network".
Mojtaba is reported to have a strong influence over his father and is talked about as his possible successor. This is thought by some to present a problem as the Supreme Leader is not a hereditary position but is chosen by the Assembly of Experts from among senior Shia Islamic scholars. "The strength of Mojtaba's personal following has not been demonstrated," and while he wears clerical robes he "by no means has the theological status" to rise to Supreme Leader. Many conservatives, including the Revolutionary Guard hierarchy, support Mojtaba and oppose reformers who might question the financial management of the country and the billions of dollars conservatives use to support their regional political agenda. However, Mojtaba's religious and political stature may still not be enough for Ali Khamenei to one day just unveil his son as his successor. He is also "widely believed to control huge financial assets".
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