- "Today, you are hated throughout the world. If you don't know this, you should. The peoples burn your flag. The Islamic peoples all over the world chant: "Death to America!""
- —Ali Khamenei about America
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei (born 17 July 1939) is the Supreme Leader of Iran, succeeding Ayatollah Khomeini, and the figurative head of the Muslim conservative establishment in Iran and Twelver Shi'a marja. He had also served as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 1981 to 1989. In 2010, Forbes selected him 26th in the list of 'World's Most Powerful People'.
Holding absolute power in his country, he has been described as one of only three people having "important influence" on the Islamic Republic of Iran (the other two being the founder of the republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and the president of Iran for much of the 1990s, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani). So far, the biggest challenge to his leadership has been the mass protests following the June 2009 presidential elections. Khamenei, however, continued to strongly support Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies and re-election. Khamenei was the victim of an attempted assassination in June 1981 that paralyzed his right arm