Washington, Nov 30 (ANI): US diplomatic cables released by the whistleblower website 'WikiLeaks' include remarks of an Iranian informant telling American officials in 2009 that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had terminal cancer and could die within months.
Ayatollah Khamenei, the chief religious leader of Iran, who holds the final word in state affairs is a hardliner well-known to be hostile to America. Details of the health and lifestyle of the 71-year old leader continues to remain a mystery.
According to the Telegraph, an American official in Istanbul reported in August, 2009 that a businessman close to former Iranian President Ayatollah Hashemi had said that the Supreme Leader was diagnosed with a fatal form of leukaemia.
The source had also said that Rafsanjani believed his great rival would be dead in a "matter of months".
The paper quoted the report as saying that the timing of the information is significant since Ayatollah Rafsanjani was at the time orchestrating opposition to the re-election of President Mahmound Ahmadinejad, who has triumphed in a blatantly rigged election the previous June.
"As a result, Rafsanjani decided to stop challenging Khamenei, and instead is preparing the ground to have himself appointed Khamenei's successor. If he is successful, though clearly he would face stiff opposition from Ahmadinejad allies in that Assembly, he would then invite Ahmadinejad to resign and call a new election," the report added.
Ayatollah Khamenei has frequently been rumoured to have had cancer treatment. His opponents have also circulated rumours of his opium addiction. (ANI)