Reports are coming out of Iran that Khamenei is dying of cancer leaving a power vacuum. Initially, news circulated of his death last night but it was later confirmed that he is gravely ill and is understood to be suffering from the late stages of cancer.
For the past few months his son Mojtaba Khamenei, who is not an Ayatollah and therefore cannot technically inherit the position of Supreme Leader from his father, was accelerated to the title on the back of his father’s ill health.
Experts warn that this move is likely to be opposed by President Ebrahim Raisi who was promised the position of Supreme Leader.
Catherine Perez-Shakdam from the Henry Jackson Society, a Middle East expert, said that the subsequent infighting could lead to the whole regime “imploding.”
The collapse of the regime will have a massive impact on international affairs with the Iran nuclear programme still unresolved since Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal a few years ago.
Polling for Express.co.uk by the Democracy Institute has revealed that Iran is perceived as the second greatest threat to America after China and more than Russia.
It could have an impact on the pro-Democracy movement in the country but could also open the door to an even more extremist government.
More to follow…