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By John Murphy

Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was once born right into a kinfolk of strict piety and reasonable poverty. As a serious-minded non secular scholar, he quickly stuck the attention of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Upon Khomeini's loss of life, Khamenei used to be named his successor and have become the Grand Ayatollah of Iran. This biography tells his tale.

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Ardashir I established Zoroastrianism as the official religion of the empire. The ruler is depicted in the above relief. 29 30 ali khamenei Heresies, Repression, and Cultural Flourishing Another Sassanian tendency that would become a hallmark of later Iranian society—under the shahs and the post- revolutionary religious clerics like Khomeini and Ali Khamenei—was an intolerance for dissenting religious and political thought. In both the Achaemenian and Parthian eras, local traditions and beliefs were accommodated and absorbed within the dominant Zoroastrian-based Persian culture.

As this complex hierarchy of religious leaders formed, the process of religious education and advancement also became more elaborate and involved. Anyone wishing to become a cleric, or mullah, first attended a seminary, or madrassa. Two of the most important and respected Shiite seminaries are Qom in Iran and Najaf in Iraq, both of which Ali Khamenei attended in his youth. Upon graduation, the clerics would either teach in villages or remain in the seminary to teach, while being supervised by higher-ranking clerics.

Iran was to remain technically “neutral” throughout the war, but controlled by Britain. Yet as the war drew to a close, the country was subject to the intrusive presence of British, Russian, Turkish, and tribal military forces. Agricultural lands were trampled, crops were ruined, irrigation systems were destroyed, and peasants were displaced from their farms. Mass famine resulted, and Iran was plunged into civil unrest. The British, sensing the opportunities that chaos and a power vacuum created, tried to force the Iranian government to accept a treaty that would grant Britain control over Iran’s military, its infrastructure, its resources, and its trade.

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