Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is known for being a proud man. But although he’d be loath to admit publicly that his pride has been hurt, numerous recent reports in Iran’s conservative media suggest that it has been.
The focus of his frustration seems to be Ayatollah Hossein Vahid Khorasani. During both his recent trips to the holy city of Qom, Khorasani, a senior grand ayatollah there, refused to meet with Khamenei. Indeed, according to accounts from supporters of the democratic Green Movement, Khorasani didn’t even want to be in the same city as Khamenei and apparently tried to leave (although in the end he seems to have been warned off doing so by Iran’s intelligence agency).
Since the snubs, the media has been feverishly working at coming up with articles that emphasize the supposedly high esteem in which Khorasani holds Khamenei. Some, for example, have emphasized Khorasani’s fidelity to Khamenei’s leadership and how he has always had strong relations with the Supreme Leader, while others have tried to pin the blame for the incidents on Khorasani’s anti-Sunni views. In an article published in the Tehran-based Parsine, for example, it has been sugegsted that Khorasani is arguing against the excessive rights being given to Sunnis in Iran. This contrasts with Khamenei’s views, and the media has been keen to suggest that the real reason for the snub was simply that Khorasani didn’t want to discuss this issue with Khamenei.