Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is alive, the semi-official Fars news agency reports Sunday, and made a public appearance in Tehran to dispel “Israeli-driven” rumors of his death.
Khamenei appeared alive and healthy in his address to environment activists and state officials, broadcasted on state television Sunday, where he pushed reduction of air and water pollution, among other measures.
However, it is unclear when the footage was recorded – and while state media says outright that the appearance was to dispel rumors of his death, it remains unclear whether he acknowledged these rumors within the address itself.
Khamenei has accused Israel of lies on multiple occasions, but has apparently remained silent on this point.
The Fars report also denies that Khamenei was ever hospitalized for cancer treatments – even though Iranian media admitted this outright on Friday.
Medical situation murky
Khamenei was urgently brought to a hospital in Tehran after several of his bodily systems had already failed, Arab media reported Thursday. Iranian media outlets confirmed the news Friday.
Rumors that he was suffering from prostate cancer that had metastasized to multiple systems have persisted for months. The 76 year-old dictator underwent surgery earlier this week; the latest reports had indicated that he was in critical condition.
Despite the lack of official confirmation over his death, speculation has already begun over his successor, whom Khamenei has not yet formally named.
Khamenei has called for Israel’s destruction several times in the past. Recently, the Iranian leader accused Israel of having “no limit or boundaries regarding viciousness, cruelty, and trampling underfoot all human standards and ethnics. Crimes, genocide, mass destruction, the killing of children, women and the homeless…they take pride in.”
He previously said on Twitter that the Israel government was “the most wicked terrorist” in the world.
Khamenei has also called Israel an “illegitimate and bastard regime,” and further called the United States a “smiling enemy” that is not to be trusted.