The Supreme Leader's Lavish and Paranoid Lifestyle

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Recent reports by defectors from Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameini's inner circle paint a grotesque picture of personal corruption and excess. Clearly, Iran's theocratic elites think nothing untoward of living in the lap of luxury on state funds while the general population suffers socioeconomic distress.

The Telegraph cites those defectors as commenting:

Ayatollah Khamenei is said to be a keen collector with a prized assembly of antique walking sticks said to number 170. The Supreme Leader was once a fanatical equestrian enthusiast and his extensive stables reportedly include more than 100 of the country's leading horses. His cloaks are said to be woven from hair of specially bred camels.

Following in the footsteps of Iran’s shahs or kings

Ayatollah Khamenei is claimed to have accumulated a sprawling private court that stretches across six palaces, including Naviran, the former resident of the Shah in Tehran.

The Supreme Leader's political paranoia is evident as well, with an

extensive surveillance operation for the personal use of Ayatollah Khamenei. Each evening the leader is said to listen to recordings of senior officials and colleagues talking about him in a compilation that normally lasts 20 minutes.

An interesting tidbit about Khamenei's mental state comes from a report that

he suffers regular bouts of depression which are treated in part by audiences with a mid-ranking mullah who tells vulgar jokes.

Granted, accounts by dissidents may well contain hyperbole. Yet taken together with recent events, these details give added credence to the image of a tyrannical and materialistic regime whose clerical leaders in reality have long-doffed their religious mantles while claiming piety.

Khamenei seems to be just another two-bit despot hell bent on preserving his corrupt and perverse existence no matter what the cost in blood, sweat, and tears may be for Iran's citizens. No wonder a new attempt at revolution is underway to boot Khamenei and his hypocritical ilk out of power! Even the last shah’s exiled son now speaks of Iranians’ growing desire for a secular democracy.

The Islamic revolution took over a year to come to fruition between 1978 and 1979. So did an earlier attempt to create a democratic state in 1905 -- during the Constitutional Revolution. 2010 could very well witness the rise of a representative and secular government in Iran from the uprising that began in the summer of 2009.

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