OBITUARY:Ahmad Khomeini

Ahmad Khomeini was his father Ayatollah Khomeini's principal adviser, his bureau chief and his link with the outside world in the early 1980s; he was a conduit between his father and the younger radical mullahs and students in Iran.

As a young boy in the 1960s and early 1970s, Ahmad Khomeini did not receive the direct supervision of his father; he remained in Qom when his father was sent to exile in Iraq. Ahmad's elder brother, Mostafa, then old enough to accompany his father, became a recognised theologian; Ahmad was not. He went to secular state school and preferred sports to theological studies. It was only several years later, when he joined his father in Iraq, that he studied some theology.

Ahmad Khomeini's political career began with the death of Mostafa in 1977; as Ayatollah Khomeini's only son, he was delegated some duties in his father's office. In the early days of the 1979 revolutionary period in Iran Ahmad acted occasionally as his father's messenger. He even annoyed his father by attempting to enhance the role of non-clerical activists. When Ahmad tried to help the then president, Bani Sadr, in his abortive attempt to assert his authority over the hard-line clergy and unruly revolutionary bodies, Ayatollah Khomeini publicly reprimanded him and banned him from holding any public office.

Nevertheless, the rapidly changing social atmosphere of the revolutionary period and the absence of reliable men around the Ayatollah made it possible for Ahmad to play a significant political role. Many of the ministers and politicians prominent in Iran today owe their rise to Ahmad Khomeini.

Associated with the radical wing of the clergy, Ahmad Khomeini often annoyed the conservative clergy. It was Ahmad, who with the help of his friends, including the present leaders of Iran, brought about the resignation of Ayatollah Montazeri as Ayatollah Khomeini's successor as the chief ayatollah. He was accused of abusing his close relationship with his father and manipulating him. He eventually wrote a book, Ranjnameh, expressing his and his father's grievances against the activities of Ayatollah Montazeri.

Ayatollah Khomeini's death in June 1989, soon after he had ousted his successor Ayatollah Montazeri, presented ambitious leading clergymen with a great opportunity: Ahmad considered himself a hereditary candidate; he wanted to succeed his father or at least be considered as a member of a leadership council. But those who argued in favour of a single leader won the day and chose Hojjal al-Islam Khamenei, to the annoyance of Ahmad Khomeini, who was left out of the active political scene.

In the six years after his father's death, Ahmad Khomeini sat on several decision-making bodies, occasionally making comments and enjoying a public status. This was at the behest of the present leader, Khamenei, who wanted him to remain involved in the day-to-day affairs of Iran. But, in spite of this, Ahmad Khomeini was hardly taken seriously; in practice, he was only dealing with his father's estate, and must have missed the prestigious position he held in the latter years of his father's rule. He never managed to regain that pivotal role he had held during his father's lifetime.

Baqer Moin

Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Ahmad Khomeini, politician: born 1947; died Tehran 17 March 1995.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue