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Why Ali Khamenei Is a Terrible Leader and Worse Than President Trump

Updated on January 14, 2018

Motivation for Writing About the Topic

These days with the news about monthly job losses and home foreclosures, it is easy to see at first glance why so many people have the feeling that life is hopeless. I would like to say that there is still hope. You just have to have faith that things will get better with time. No matter how bad the news is these days, I refuse to let anything bring me down. I have a positive attitude towards life and I would like to share with the world that there are ways to be positive. How can we be positive when we feel that we cannot even catch a break? Those of us living in the United States can feel grateful that there are leaders in the world that are worse than President Trump. One such person that is worse than President Trump is Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The main purpose of this article is not to deny that there are qualities about the US that may be less than ideal but to show that Americans are still better off than they think they are.

That stated, this does not mean that Donald Trump is a great guy. He is less worse than Khamenei. Khamenei is a ruthless tyrant that will do anything to hold onto power.

A photo of the Supreme Leader of Iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled Iran with an iron fist since assuming that position almost 30 years ago. He is frequently ranked as one of the world's worst dictators.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled Iran with an iron fist since assuming that position almost 30 years ago. He is frequently ranked as one of the world's worst dictators.

Who is worse than Donald Trump? Iran's Khamenei

One of those people that is worse is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who has been in power since 1981. I use 1981 as the starting point because that is when he was President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He served in that position until 1989 when he was selected to take the place of Ayatollah Khomeini who died of a heart attack. So why is Khamenei bad as a leader? It is necessary to provide some background information before we can answer this question.

Khamenei was born in 1939. He started to be politically active in 1962 when he began to protest against the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Khamenei like many conservatives was against the Shah’s White Revolution. His rise to power was pretty rapid, especially when the protests against the monarchy escalated. In 1977, just one year before the start of the Iranian Revolution, Khamenei formed the Combatant Clerics Association. This association later became known as the Islamic Republic Party. Khamenei would serve as Secretary-General of this party from 1980 through 1987.

He was going to crack down on protesters in 2009

In June 2009, he warned protesters that they must stop their actions or consequences would result. This is a classic case of a leader acting like an autocrat. In a country where you basically have little freedom to protest, Khamenei shows that he tolerates no opposition. These protests came during the presidential elections that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad win reelection. The two of them were said to be in a struggle and in a tense situation. I have previously written about the importance of the Iran Nuclear Deal which may or may not survive under President Trump. But let’s return to the main argument of this essay which is to prove why Khamenei is such a terrible autocrat.


Khamenei limits the public's freedom significantly

Another reason why he is so terrible is because he can close down any newspaper or magazine that is too critical of the regime. He can order people to be whipped for traveling in public with a woman that is not a family member. Women in Iran are forced to wear a veil called a chador every time they travel outdoors. That is not an example of women having it better. They have it worse now than compared to 1976 for example. Another reason why Khamenei is such a terrible leader is because he can disqualify anyone that he deems unfit to run for public office. The president in Iran is really just a figurehead and it is Khamenei who holds most of the power. Iran is not democratic enough. But of course, it is a Middle Eastern country that really has no concept of democracy. Here is yet another reason why Khamenei is such a terrible demagogue. It is because of what he said in his Inaugural Address as president in 1981. He “vowed to stamp out deviation, liberalism, and American-influenced leftists,” (Unknown 2009). The only thing that this kind of a statement shows is that he was and still is someone who is in-flexible and not willing to accept different points of view. Although he was critical of the second US War on Iraq, that may be one of the few things that he opposed which deserve opposition.

The #1 reason why Khamenei is a terrible autocrat: He has Kept the Death Sentence on Author Salman Rushdie

Khamenei is a terrible leader mostly because he is in favor of keeping the death sentence on author Salman Rushdie active. Rushdie who wrote the book called The Satanic Verses was thought to have insulted Islam and so before Khomeni died, he issued a fatwa or a religious ruling that stated that Muslims everywhere had a duty to kill Rushdie. This shows that Khamenei is relentless in his pursuit of Rushdie, a man who did nothing except to write a book! There is no reason that Rushdie should be blamed for anything. It is the fault of Khamenei and the conservative establishment that Iran is in the shape that it is in. The international reputation of Iran is significantly worse than 40 years ago. However, Khamenei just makes it worse by his hawkish policies. Khamenei said that the death sentence put on Rushdie cannot ever be reversed. So that is reason #1 that Khamenei is such an evil man, right up there with the late Islam Karimov and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Another reason why Khamene is such a bad leader: banning women from riding bicycles

Be grateful for living in the US

So based on how bad of a leader Khamenei really is, those of us here in the US that have a representative democracy where there are checks and balances should be positive and hopeful that we live here even if we may feel that there is no hope for us under President Trump. As critical as I have been of him, there are leaders that are much worse than him. It is the hope of this writer that people reading this can feel at least somewhat better about their circumstances. Is President Trump an ideal president? Not so far but even with his behavior, he has not committed some of the gross human rights violations that Khamenei has. Now are you happy to be in the United States? All of us should be happy to be in the US. There’s a reason why they say “don’t worry be happy” and “where there’s a will there’s a way.” At least we can cope with a Trump Presidency even if it turns out to not be ideal. At least the residents of the US can feel happy to not be living in a police state.


Unknown. 2009. BBC News. June 17. Accessed January 31, 2017.


Final thoughts about the ruthlessness of Khamenei

Khamenei has been in power as Supreme Leader since 1989. There have been questions surrounding his health when he underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2014. Adding to this controversy is the fact that there has been this sort of power struggle between two groups. The first group of people are the modernists, reformists, and liberals who want to open up Iran and make it more democratic. The other group of people are the conservatives that want to keep Iran as a theocracy and oppose any kind of dialogue with Western countries. Although it is understandable why Iran is reluctant to trust the West, Khamenei’s constant anti-western rhetoric will further damage Iran’s reputation. Nonetheless, Ali Khamenei is one of the world’s worst dictators.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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      Sanxuary 11 months ago

      You are comparing these to only tells us how terrible Trump is. Maybe you can compare him to North Korea or Russia. Every Republican administration has wanted a war with Iran. Taking Iraq was to secure the oil when it was 5$ a gallon. They assumed it would be a cake walk but they guessed wrong. Iran is once again on the lets get British Petroleums oil fields back after they nationalised them in 1979. I find it incredibly funny that you have to convince me that Trump is a better person then Irans leader. i am actually trying to decide which one is better. One is just an honest dictator. The other one would love to have the power of a National Socialist and be followed like Hitler. Because its America I think I hate one of them the most, maybe you can guess witch one.