He has called for death to America and Israel. He has described non-Muslims as “animals who roam the earth and engage in corruption.” He has dubbed U.S. troops in Iraq “bloodthirsty wolves” and expressed support for Shiite militias seeking their demise. He has hosted Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as an honored guest. He has demanded the execution of Iranian protestors, urging the judiciary in 2009 to show them no “compassion and leniency.” He has described the latest nationwide demonstrations, which began in late 2017, as a Western plot to subvert Tehran.
And he plays a major role, behind closed doors, in selecting the leadership of Iran’s clerical regime.
Meet Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, 92, who heads two powerful committees responsible for appointing Iran’s supreme leader, vetting candidates for key elected offices, and screening legislation passed by Iran’s parliament.
Tzvi Kahn is a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy. Follow him on Twitter @TzviKahn.