[This newly leaked footage from 1989 shows an emergency closed-door session of the senior Iranian regime governing body, the Assembly of Experts, whilst they were finalizing their selection of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, then a mid-ranking cleric, as the supposedly interim successor to Khomeini. The Assembly of Experts is the consultative body empowered to appoint and dismiss the Iranian Supreme Leader].
The video demonstrates that, contrary to previous beliefs, Khamenei was actually assigned at the time with serving as a temporary ‘caretaker’ of Iran for a limited one-year period, after which leadership was to be transferred to a council whose members were to be elected by referendum.
In his speech during the same session, on June 3, 1989, Khamenei himself states clearly that he was unqualified for the leadership position, saying piously, “First of all, we should shed tears of blood wailing for the Islamic society that has been forced to even propose me” to succeed Khomeini.
Khamenei, at the time a relatively lowly “Hojatoleslam” rather than a more senior ayatollah, insists that offering him the post, even as a temporary caretaker, “…is technically and fundamentally undoable and against the law. I have already categorically told his eminence, Hashemi Rafsanjani who was chairing the session], I will not accept such an offer”.
Khamenei further asserts that offering the custodial position to him was against the constitution of Iran, which requires the Supreme Leader to be a ‘Marja’ or Grand Ayatollah, publicly accepted as a superlative source of Shiite instruction and emulation.
“Regardless of the fact that I do not truly deserve to occupy such a position, installing me as the caretaker has technical problems,” Khamenei tells the Assembly of Experts, adding, “[My] leadership would be formal [and only on paper], not a real one. Well, based on the Constitution, I am not qualified for the job and from a religious point of view, many of you [all the more highly qualified clerical members of the Assembly of Experts] will not accept my words as those of a leader. What sort of leadership will this be?”
Khamenei even openly argues that many of the members of the assembly members are senior clerics who will never approve his [a mid-ranking cleric’s] decision as the final word.
The members remind Khamenei that the term of service according to the offer is limited to one year and he is assuming the leadership position as a temporary measure.
At the end, the chairman of the session, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, argues that Khamenei is qualified to address social problems and deal with “religious affairs” with “a little help” from unspecified “others”.
It’s widely believed that Rafsanjani probably helped Khamenei to attain the Supreme Leader’s position because he believed he could control a relatively low-ranking cleric who lacked high-level religious credentials.
Declaring the end of the debate on the subject, Hashemi Rafsanjani calls on the assembly members to stand up if they approve Khamenei’s appointment as a temporary leader until a permanent leadership can be elected through a “referendum”. Rafsanjani himself is the first to stand up, with most of the members the following suit, showing their approval of Khamenei’s appointment to the ‘temporary’ post.
The provenance of the video and how it reached the Iranian journalist in exile who released it on social media are unknown but access to such footage is greatly limited, suggesting that this may be an ‘inside job’ by regime officials.