Will Ayatollah Khomeini’s grandson enter politics? -Al Monitor


The endless maneuvering between Iran’s various factions is always fascinating. This article is doubly interesting though, because it highlights the complexities of institutionalizing charismatic leadership. Not to over simplify the creation of the Islamic Republic, but one of the main reasons it was able to survive and beat back its opponents was the political aura that surrounded its leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. One of the main challenges the regime has faced has been to transition from political authority based on this charisma to authority based on the institutions of the state and the current elite. Although there has been a lot of progress, the regime still relies on the connection to Khomeini and the revolution for much of its legitimacy. Iranian political conservatives in particular try to associate themselves with the late Imam, and the current leader, Ali Khamenie is often pictured next to his predecessor. Therefore, not only is it ironic that Khomeini’s grandson seems to represent a more “moderate” trend in Iranian politics, it represents a clash between the old charisma and the new institutionalized authority of the state.