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Politics

Ali Khamenei's Security Measures Much Higher Than Predecessor

May 13, 2024
Ehsan Mehrabi
4 min read
The heavy presence of Iran's Supreme Leader's bodyguards during a recent meeting with senior commanders of the armed forces reignited discussions surrounding the protection of Ali Khamenei را مطرح کرده است
The heavy presence of Iran's Supreme Leader's bodyguards during a recent meeting with senior commanders of the armed forces reignited discussions surrounding the protection of Ali Khamenei را مطرح کرده است
His security is under specific protocols overseen by the IRGC, which is responsible for safeguarding the leader and the clerical establishment
His security is under specific protocols overseen by the IRGC, which is responsible for safeguarding the leader and the clerical establishment
Protecting the leader of the Islamic Republic involves adherence to distinct rules and regulations, alongside utilizing specialized protective equipment such as thermal cameras
Protecting the leader of the Islamic Republic involves adherence to distinct rules and regulations, alongside utilizing specialized protective equipment such as thermal cameras
Security protocols did not distinguish between public and private meetings; everyone underwent thorough physical inspections. Fourteen guards were stationed at a post outside his official residence
Security protocols did not distinguish between public and private meetings; everyone underwent thorough physical inspections. Fourteen guards were stationed at a post outside his official residence

The heavy presence of Iran's Supreme Leader's bodyguards during a recent meeting with senior commanders of the armed forces reignited discussions surrounding the protection of Ali Khamenei. 

His security is under specific protocols overseen by the IRGC, which is responsible for safeguarding the leader and the clerical establishment.

Protecting the leader of the Islamic Republic involves adherence to distinct rules and regulations, alongside utilizing specialized protective equipment such as thermal cameras. 

This approach to safeguarding the Supreme Leader differs notably from Ruhollah Khomeini's tenure. 

While Khomeini's security measures were stringent, they primarily relied on traditional methods and a more limited personnel count.

After the unsuccessful assassination attempt on former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in June 1980, Ayatollah Khomeini assigned the responsibility of protecting the lives of the officials to the IRGC. However, from the very beginning, the protection of the leader of the Islamic Republic had a separate organization. 

Serajuddin Mousavi, a member of Khomeini's office, held this position, among other roles. 

Additionally, Mokhtar Kalantari, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Committee, served as the deputy commander of Khomeini's protection team.

Security protocols did not distinguish between public and private meetings; everyone underwent thorough physical inspections. Fourteen guards were stationed at a post outside his official residence. 

Meanwhile, commanders monitored these posts through multiple cameras. 

During that time, the number of Ayatollah Khomeini's bodyguards and protective equipment was comparatively limited compared to Khamenei's security detail.

Starting in 1989, during Ali Khamenei's leadership period, the "Protection of Personalities" and "Protection of Vali Amr" forces were segregated, forming the "Protection of Ansar al-Mahdi" corps of the IRGC. 

The "Vali Amr" corps exclusively oversaw safeguarding the Islamic Republic's leader, while the "Hefazat Ansar" corps assumed responsibility for protecting other officials. 

Upon the corps' transition into provincial entities, the names of these two divisions were also amended.

A prominent symbol of safeguarding the leader of the Islamic Republic is evident in his public gatherings. 

Multiple gates within his office complex require attendees to undergo thorough inspections at checkpoints before accessing these meetings. 

Furthermore, various security measures are in place at the venue of his public gatherings, including the deployment of thermal cameras.

Moreover, guards are present at all meetings, including private sessions, and even participate in prayer lines alongside officials during his prayers. 

Beyond security concerns, this arrangement aims to ensure his well-being and prevent any disruptions during prayer.

The conduct of Khamenei's public meetings with diverse groups is meticulously planned, with select individuals seated in the foremost rows, accompanied by bodyguards among them.

Khamenei's visits to Tehran, Friday prayers, Eid al-Fitr prayers, and provincial trips adhere to specific protocols. 

Security teams advance to the location ahead of time, conducting thorough assessments and cordoning off areas to ensure clear entry and exit points.

Provincial trips by Khamenei entail unique regulations. 

Weeks before the journey, a contingent of security personnel is deployed to the province to oversee security arrangements.

In recent years, Khamenei's provincial trips have become less frequent, and his public appearances have decreased. 

Some events, including exhibitions, are now hosted at Imam Khomeini's Hosseiniyeh, the headquarters of the Supreme Leader. 

Reza Taqavi, head of the Friday Imams Policy Council, cited security concerns as the rationale behind Khamenei's reduced attendance at Friday prayers, stating, "If I come, it will cause trouble for the people." 

Stringent security measures and regulations significantly impact public movement.

However, Khamenei's physical health may also contribute to the curtailment of provincial trips and diminished participation in Friday prayers.

There has been much upheaval around the Supreme Leader's safety team.

The Vali Amr Protection Corps operates discreetly, with minimal information disclosed regarding its activities. However, the repercussions of the 2021 removal of its intelligence chief, Hossein Taeb, have reverberated within this Corps. Taeb was replaced by an IRGC general. Two days after Taeb's dismissal, the head of Vali Amr protection was replaced too.

Meanwhile, in June 2021, Ali Younisi, the former Minister of Intelligence, highlighted the deep influence of the Israeli Intelligence Organization in Iran, urging all Iranian officials of to be wary of their safety.

In 2017, the news of the killing of Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Akbari, one of Khamenei's bodyguards, had emerged. 

However, the IRGC announced that Akbari, who served as one of the training officers, died "due to a technical defect of the weapon".

Simultaneously, the Young Journalists Club, a news section associated with the IRGC, referenced Hassan Akbari as "one of the close bodyguards of the leader of the revolution" while reporting his death.

 

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