Ali Hosseini Khamenei: Routinizing Revolution in Iran

Academic chapter

This chapter analyzes how Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei consolidated his rule and the political consequences of his survival strategy. The author argues that Iran’s long-serving leader capitalized on the institutional and ideological legacies of his predecessor, Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as on the high potential for repression in revolutionary regimes. Khamenei has invested in nonelected and parallel revolutionary bodies, maintained strong emphasis on the Islamic Revolution’s ideology and recruited a new generation of followers to the ruling coalition. This essay outlines the tensions arising from Khamenei’s reliance on the organizational structures, aims, and elite selection mechanisms of the revolution and the wish of the Iranian population to change the political course of this important Middle Eastern country.