Ali Khamenei (Modern World Leaders) by John Murphy

By John Murphy

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

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Kingship, however, Persian supremacy would once again be toppled and humbled. Turkic, Mongol, and Tatar Invasions Weakened by civil war and a splintering into local dynastic rule, Iran once again became vulnerable to invaders. This time it was Seljuk Turks who emerged from central Asia early in the eleventh century. Devotees of Sunni Islam, they eventually gained control of Iran and vanquished the various local Shiite dynasties. Yet, within a hundred years, the Turks, too, were forced to yield to an invading force—the much dreaded and terrifying Mongols, also of central Asia, led by the savage and bloodthirsty Genghis Khan.

In 626, they marched north, sailed across the Black Sea, establishing themselves in the Caucuses—the border between Europe and Asia—between modern-day Turkey, Iran, Russia, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea. From the Caucuses, the Byzantines penetrated deep into Persia, not stopping until they reached the Sassanian seat of power, Ctesiphon, in Mesopotamia, just south of present-day Baghdad. The Sassanian king fled, the army fell apart, and the empire itself collapsed within only a few years. The end came when Sassanian generals did the unthinkable; they rose up and assassinated their shahanshah, their king of kings, no doubt arguing that given the war and turmoil that had come to grip Persia, the king had proven himself an agent of diabolic 31 32 ali khamenei evil, not divine good.

The fourteenth the ISLAMIC INVASION Umayyad caliph fled to Egypt, where he was found hiding in a Christian church and decapitated. With the emergence and rise of the Abbasid dynasty, Islam and the Islamic empire were opened up to Persian cultural and spiritual influences, and Arab domination of the religion and society was broken. The empire’s capital shifted from Damascus, in modern-day Syria, to Baghdad, in modern-day Iraq. The old Persian postal and road systems were revived, and Iran again became a crossroads of world trade and a marketplace of ideas and influences.

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