Iran's 'Supreme Guide' Ali Khamenei is not a travelling man.
He has not set foot out of Iran since 1988 partly for fears that an international arrest warrant issued against him by Interpol on behalf of a German court, which found him guilty of ordering the assassination of Kurdish dissidents in Berlin, may cause him a spot of bother.
He is also reluctant to travel inside Iran, cocooning himself in his palace in the foothills of Alborz.
So, it is something of a surprise that the 'Supreme Guide' has found enough time this month to visit Qom, a provincial centre some 90 miles south of Tehran, on two occasions.
Mr. Khamenei, who has declared himself Leader of All Muslims and must therefore be extremely busy, was able to spend 12 days in a city that opens onto The Great Salt Desert.
To be sure, The Great Salt Desert is not Qom's sole tourist attraction.
The city is also home to the huge mausoleum, complete with a beautiful golden dome, that is supposed to contain the remains of one Fatimah al-Ma'asoumah, a sister of the eighth Imam of the duodeciman Shi'ites Ali Ibn Mousa.>>>
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