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Iran’s supreme leader ‘handing power to son as health deteriorates’ & tensions rise over scientist’s assassination

IRAN’S Supreme Leader will hand power to his son as his health deteriorates, a journalist claims.

Momahad Ahwaze last night said that Mojtaba Khamenei, 51, was poised to take the reins amid increasing tensions with Israel and the US following the assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Writing in Arabic, Ahwaze last night tweeted that sources were “very concerned” about the Supreme Leader’s health. 

He added: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was scheduled to meet on Friday with the Iranian Leader Khamenei, this meeting between [Khamenei] and President Rouhani was canceled due to the deterioration of Khamenei's health condition.”

Ahwaze went on to say that the cause of the Supreme Leader’s ill health is not yet known, but he is alleged to have deteriorated overnight.

Rumours have long swirled that Khamenei has suffered from prostate cancer, and the Supreme Leader underwent successful prostate surgery in 2014, Reuters reported.

Since then, his health issues have remained a mystery.

The Supreme Leader’s son Mojtaba has been tipped for the top job by European sources for many years, and is already involved in the running of several important security and intelligence departments in Iran.

In 2009, The Guardian dubbed Mojtaba the “gatekeeper to Iran’s supreme leader”, and suggested that Khamenei was looking to position his son as his successor.

No official confirmation has yet been made on the alleged transfer of power and media outlets have been unable to independently verify Mr Ahwaze’s claims.

Should the reports be confirmed, the shift of power would take place during a sensitive period in Iran’s relationship with the West and the rest of the Middle East.

Iranian officials have blamed Israel for the killing of Fakhrizadeh and vowed to exact revenge - but Tel Aviv has refused to comment. 

Tensions with the US, key allies of Israel, soared after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Nuclear Deal, hailed as one of the Obama administration’s key foreign policy achievements. 

The Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has seen the return of crippling economic sanctions - but President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal in a bid to re-engage diplomatically with Tehran.

But a new law passed in the Iranian parliament last week ramped up pressure on Mr Biden, as Iran vowed to increase uranium enrichment fivefold to 20 per cent in February should the West not lift sanctions.

This could give Iran the ability to convert its entire stockpile to bomb-grade levels within six months, according to the New York Times.

Following the passing of the law, the speaker of Iran’s Parliament, Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, said “the criminal enemy will not feel remorse unless we show a fierce reaction” to the death of Fakhrizadeh.

The Sun reported last week how the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh had involved sixty-two operatives as well as a bomb, snipers and motorbike gunmen. 

US intelligence officials also told the New York Times that Israel was behind the attack, which bears the hallmarks of its Mossad spy agency.

Iran warns 'no terror will go unanswered' at funeral of nuke mastermind

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