chapter  2
The political journey of Ayatollah ʿAli Hosseini Khamenei during the Iranian Revolution, 1962–1979
Pages 24

Ali Hosseini Khamenei was born in 1939 in Mashhad into an Azeri religious family. Three crucial political events during Khamenei's youth profoundly influenced his later political views: the upheavals surrounding Mosaddeq's nationalization of Iran's oil, Navab Safavi's Islamic movement, and the Shah's social reforms. Khamenei's first encountered political activism in a Shi'ite cleric through Ayatollah Seyyed Abou al-Qasim Mostafavi Kashani's fervent support of Mosaddeq's movement. He had a splendid ability to lead an impressive Islamic movement against a powerful regime with his talents, intelligence, and insight into social and political issues. Motivated by political aspiration and a fervent desire to bring about the rule of Islam, Khamenei joined Khomeini's army of religious students and became active in the revolutionary movement. Khamenei continued his revolutionary activism, spreading his teacher's anti-Shah ideology in mosques, schools, and in meetings at his home. The anti-Shah political activities resulted in intensified surveillance by SAVAK.