Ali Khamenei is the supreme leader of Iran. He is the head of state and has the final say over the country's policymaking at home and abroad.
He has taken power in Iran since the demise of Ayatollah Khomeni, the first supreme leader after the 1979 revolt that ousted the Shah.
Khamenei was born on July 1939. He took office about fifty years later.
That uprising was said to have broken out due to the Shah dictatorship. But those who assumed power after the Shah turned the dream of the Iranians of a free and democratic country into a nightmare.
Ayatollah Khomeni suppressed the opposition and got rid of his rivals, paving the way for himself to hijack power, according to observers.
They said his successor Khamenei followed in his footsteps, presenting himself as a quintessential of despotism.
But who is Khameni that has not only tormented his own people, but he also rend the entire Middle East as he engineered decades-long expansionist schemes.
Path to power
Before being the supreme leader of Iran, amassing powers in his hands, Khamenei rose within the political system, assuming several key posts.
Muhammad Sahimi claims that Khamenei's political career began after the Iranian Revolution, when the former President of Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, then a confidant of Khomeini, brought Khamenei into Khomeini's inner circle.
In 1980, he was named Supervisor of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). During the same year, he got in the Consultative Assembly as the Tehran Representative.
One year later, Ayatollah Khomeini's Representative in the High Security Council.
He was also elected President of the Islamic Republic of Iran after assassination of Mohammad-Ali Rajai, and was re-elected to a second term in 1985.
1988, he was picked as President of the Expediency Discernment Council. And in 1989, Khamenei became the Supreme Leader of the Republic of Iran after being picked by the Assembly of Experts, after the death of Ruhollah Khomeini.
As a head of state, Khamenei has nothing to do with democracy or justice. As he is still in power, rotation of power in Iran is utterly ruled out.
Khamenei is the second longest-serving head of state in the Middle East (after Oman's Sultan Qaboos), as well as the second longest-serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.
He has a full control over the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps. (IRGC). This military apparatus is used by Khamenei to suppress dissidents.
According to Karim Sadjadpour, Khamenei has either direct or indirect control over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, as well as the military and media.
Experts say the worst thing about Khamenei's dictatorship is that he attributes it to 'religious commands'.
There have been major protests during Khamenei's reign, including the 1994 Qazvin Protests, the 1999 Iranian student protests, the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests in addition to the 2011–12 Iranian protests.
days until now, the Iranians have been taking to streets to protest Khamenei's
Death to Khamenei, they chanted. And others said:"Death to the dictator."
All those protests have been put down violently, with accusations being leveled at the protesters of being 'surrogates of enemies of the revolution.
several reporters and bloggers were sent to jail over criticizing the supreme
The main charge leveled at those opponents is blasphemy.
Engineer of expansionism
Under Khamenei , the Iranian foreign policy has changed drastically. The country's plans for expansionism started to be implemented.
The regime threw weight behind Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad, who killed hundreds of thousands of the Syrian people.
Iran also is the top backer of the Lebanon-based terror militia of Hezbollah.
In a viral televised speech, chief of the militia Hassan Nasrallah admitted they are fully supported and financed by Iran.
In the video, Nasrallah said Tehran pays the expenses of Hezbollah, including food, drinks and arms' bills.
I publicly say to the world that the budget and expenses of Hezbollah are paid by Tehran. As long as Iran has money, so does Hezbollah, Nasrallah said.
"Khamenei is responsible for everything that is happening in the region. He leads the regime in Iran. He has engineered plans of expansionism in the region," observers said, citing comments of Nasrallah.
must be unseated. And there should be no place for such models of rulers in our
world, they added.