Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution since 4 June 1989. President of the Islamic Republic from 1981 to 1989, member of the Council of the Revolution from 1978 to 1981
Predator since 1981
Iran, 174th/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index
PREDATORY METHOD: Orwellian theocracy
The creator of a Sharia-based penal system, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei often accuses independent media of being manipulated by foreign forces. As head of the country’s main political, military and judicial institutions, he orders the arrests of journalists and the long prison sentences (or sometimes death sentences) that the courts give them. The Revolutionary Guards, which he controls, are directly involved in monitoring and harassing journalists, who often summoned for questioning and detained in appalling conditions. Since the advent of the Internet, the Supreme Leader and his agents have also monitored the purity of social media content, imposing a “Halal Internet.” Millions of online pages of freely and independently reported information have been blocked and more than 350 newspapers have been closed since 1981.
FAVOURITE TARGETS: All independent and critical media and journalists
OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: National religious relativism
“Nowadays some people consistently repeat the phrase ‘newly acquired press freedom.’ In my view it does not refer to any fact. It is something whose sources are hostile foreign radios.” (Address to students at Tarbiat Modarres University, 3 September 1998).
“Our enemies make the most of cyberspace. Unfortunately, the necessary controls are not being carried out in our country’s cyberspace, despite all the emphasis I have put on it, and in a sense, it is really ‘relaxed.’ Those in charge must be attentive (...) Cyberspace must be managed. People should take advantage of this opportunity (….) But we shouldn’t give the enemy the means to conspire against the country and the nation. Our enemies use this space.” (Message posted on social media, 24 March 2021).