A change will be “soon” coming to the current Iranian regime and US policies would have nothing it, according to an American bimonthly international affairs magazine.
The National Interest claimed that not the US sanctions, nor the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as “the Iran Deal,” are going to bring change to the current Iranian regime.
Bur rather, it predicts that the eventual death of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is the ultimate power in Iran, will put the Islamic Republic in hot waters.
This change is inevitable, it says, given that the supreme leader is 79 years old today. And wether he passes in a month, a year, or more, Iran will face an unprecedented “succession crisis”.
Khamenei is constitutionally the commander-in-chief of the Iranian armed forces. He is referred to by his followers as “nayeb-e Imam“ or ‘deputy to Imam’.
The magazine says that while US policy makers focus on Iran’s elected leaders, such as President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign minister Javad Zarif, Khamenei “monopolizes all substantive decisions. He rules for life.”
In 2014, he underwent a surgery for prostate cancer. At the time, authorities used Khamenei’s account to tweet out a photo of the supreme leader in the hospital, likely an attempt to begin preparing the Iranian public for the inevitable. But Khamenei recovered.
This forthcoming transition, as Khamenei’s lifetime nears an end, will be different from the one the followed Khomeini’s death — the only transition since then.
Khamenei was elected by the Assembly of Experts as the new Supreme Leader on 4 June 1989, at the age of 49.
Within the context of the Islamic Republic, the magazine says Khamenei drove his legitimacy from Khomeini’s pre-death blessing.
Today, the magazine says Khamenei “neither has the standing nor the charisma to ensure his choice, whoever it may be”.
It added that whoever is going to fulfill the position will survive an “inevitable infighting” among Iran’s several powers.
There are other scenarios which could complicate succession, it said.