So is the Supreme Leader dead or not?
Ali Alfoneh weighs in as we wait to learn whether this is fact or fantasy, and reminds us that things could be even worse now:
The passing of Khamenei would represent a seismic shift in the Islamic Republic’s power equations. With no successor-designate, Khamenei’s death would unleash a huge power struggle.
Alfoneh discusses several possibilities and, you’ll be shocked, none preludes to a gentler, kinder Iran.
The death of a leader does occasionally ensure that history changes course — but dictatorships crumble in such circumstances only because their entire power structure is predicated on the charisma of the leader and the loyalty of his lieutenants. Modern authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, by contrast, even in their weirdest manifestations (such as North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq), have more staying power than the leaders themselves.
Khamenei’s death still needs to be ascertained — though in the long term, it’s in the pocket! It’s much less likely, though, that it alone could be a game changer for the better.