After the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the beginning of his rule, Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, twice announced that he had written his last will and testament. The second time, in front of television cameras and in the presence of the heads of the three branches of government and the prime minister, he handed identical copies to these officials and told Iranians it was ready. Now Khomeini’s successor, Ali Khamenei, is 84 years old and the question is; where is his will and who has it? Concerns and uncertainties over succession swirl behind these questions.

Ruhollah Khomeini died in 1989 at the age of 86 and, after his death, his will was published and read by many people. The document was advertised as a “political-theological will” in schools, universities and official educational centers, and on many occasions political figures have said that their actions were based on Khomeini’s will.

And yet the only news and reports on Khamenei’s will relate to documents he wrote during the Shah’s rule, long before 1979, as well as in the 1980s during a spate of assassinations of several of Islamic Republic figures. (Khamenei himself survived one of these assassination attempts.) The first will was written in March 1963—a night after the Feyzieh Seminary in Qom was attacked by the Shah’s agents and killed several people following Ruhollah Khomeini’s denunciation from exile of the Shah’s policies. The will was about personal matters such as debts. But since these two wills, from 1963 and the 1980s, no news has emerged regrading a “political will” in the model of Khomeini’s before him.

Islamic teachings urge believers to write a will and producing a so-called “political will” has been somewhat common among top figures of the Islamic Republic. And so it is possible that Khamenei has also written a political will—or that a video of him has been recorded which will be published as a will after his death.

If political wills have been common among prominent figures, there have nevertheless been some glaring exceptions to the rule. Various stories circulate regarding a will by the late president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was one of the most senior figures of the Revolution. Reports used to suggest that he had given his will to the Supreme Leader. But it was later announced that this text had not been a will but an ordinary letter.

Fatemeh Hashemi, his eldest daughter, has said that her father had written three wills at different times. One while in prison, the other after visiting the front of the war with Iraq, and the third in 2000, three years after the end of his presidency.

Hashemi also said that, in his 2000 will, her father wrote that he would write still another will, but that final will has not been found. “When my father died, men came and took everything with them,” said Hashemi Rafsanjani’s daughter.

Rafsanjani’s offices at the Expediency Discernment Council have been sealed but neither his family nor the government have said anything about whether they found a will on those premises.

Hashemi Rafsanjani, who had played a key role in Khamenei gaining power as the Supreme Leader, died in January 2017 and, around four years later, his son Mohsen Hashemi announced that he had handed over his father’s 100-page will to the Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Khamenei was left to decide whether or not to publish the document.

The younger Hashemi said his father had written a “powerful text of a hundred and some pages over a period of about four or five years, which was to become a will, a more serious text”. But, according to him, this text was not completed. He added that since many of the items in the will were related to the Supreme Leader, he had handed the will over to Khamenei, and that he did not keep a copy. This action by the family of Hashemi Rafsanjani, or perhaps by Mohsen Hashemi himself, was seen as a kind of “bargain” with Khamenei.

After a short time, however, Mohsen Hashemi retracted this statement and advanced the version of the story that suggested the will was not a will but just a letter.

Ayatollah Khomeini had at least eight wills—the last of which was read to the parliament by Khamenei hours after his death. After the 1979 Revolution, Khomeini had left two “political wills”, the first one written in 1983 and the second one, an amended version of the first one, in 1987.

“Mr. Ahmad [Khomeini’s son] informed me that the Imam [Khomeini] had sent me a will in a sealed envelope,” Hashemi Rafsanjani wrote in 1983 in his diary. “It was written on the back of the envelope that it should be opened after his death. I was both touched and grateful for the Imam’s trust. Mr. Khamenei said that he had also received such an envelope. And Mr. Ahmad said that [Ayatollah Hossein Ali] Montazeri was also receiving such a letter. It must be something important.”

This will was written on February 15, 1983, and a copy of it was handed over to the first session of the Guardian Council to be opened after the death of the founder of the Islamic Republic.

The will was changed in 1987 and copies of the amended version were delivered for safekeeping to the Guardian Council and the Astan Quds Razavi organization. The news was published and later used for propaganda purposes. Later, videos of this delivery were posted online as well.

Officials of the Islamic Republic have previously placed much emphasis on this will and the two factions within the government, reformists and hardliners, emphasized the parts that suited their purposes. But, in recent years, the urge to quote from Khomeini’s will has subsided.

In his will, Ayatollah Khomeini had written that “After my death, Ahmad Khomeini should read this testament to the people, and if he cannot, the honorable President of the Republic, or the Honorable President of the Islamic Parliament, or the Honorable President of the Supreme Court should take this trouble and, if they cannot, then one of the respected jurists of the Guardian Council should read it.”

Khamenei did indeed recite Khomeini’s will 34 years ago and this was, in a sense, a symbolic action to lay the groundwork for his own ascent to the position of Supreme Leader. But, unlike Khomeini, Khamenei has shown no interest in telling Iranians about any last will and testament of his own. And if a will attributed to Khamenei after his death is read out to the people, or a will in video form shown, its authenticity will only be accepted if individuals or institutions had received copies before his death, and if the public knows about this will.

Source » iranwire