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
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'