aslan1_ATTA KENAREAFP via Getty Images_iran khamenei propaganda ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

The Naked Ayatollah

The role of Iran’s Supreme Leader, based on a claim to embody the same infallible, divine authority as the Prophet Muhammad, contradicts centuries of Islamic doctrine. It is a wholly made-up office, and its legitimacy has never been more in doubt.

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA – The nationwide protests in Iran over women’s rights and abuses by the religious morality police have once again shined a light on the country’s ruling clerical class and the seemingly limitless powers of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.