Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, was seen Saturday at an event at a mosque in Tehran, according to photos and a video published on Iranian government websites and state media, a day after reports circulated of his deteriorating health.
A photo showed Ayatollah Khamenei wearing a mask and greeting the crowd attending the ceremony, which marked the 40th day after Imam Hussein’s martyrdom.
Other photos showed him sitting on a chair on the right side of the room, holding prayer beads and watching the imam deliver the sermon.
A 12-minute video showed the Ayatollah listening and interacting during the event, where Shia worshipers gather to mark the end of a 40-day mourning period that marked the seventh-century death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad commemorates. . A video on state media showed Khamenei addressing the crowd at the event.
The New York Times said Friday that Khamenei canceled all public appearances last week after becoming “seriously ill” and under the observation of a team of doctors.
Citing four anonymous people familiar with his health situation, the Times reported that Khamenei is on bed rest after undergoing surgery for a bowel obstruction sometime last week.
The photos posted to various Iranian media outlets indicate that 83-year-old Ayatollah was physically able to appear in public during the event.
Ayatollah Khamenei has been the leader of Iran for the past three decades and is one of the longest-serving rulers in the Middle East. It remains unclear who could succeed the leader, but it is expected that upon his death, the Assembly of Experts will meet to discuss his successor.