Nima Farahabadi writes for Rooz Online:
Exercise, learning and worship are the three activities Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei engages in every day, according to one of his personal guards, who says the Ayatollah also recommends these activities to youth.
According to this guard, the Ayatollah “is up about an hour or 30 minutes before the morning prayers, time he spends on personal prayers. Activities differ from day to day. One day he spends more time praying while another he reads more of the Qur'an, then on another day he engages in Zekr, reading and quoting the Qur'an.”
These remarks are printed in the monthly journal Emtedad, which has interviewed the guard and names him as Gholam Shahpasandi.
In recent months, a number of Iran’s publications close to the office of Ayatollah Khamenei have published memorable stories and quotes of some members of the Supreme Leader’s personal guards, aimed at presenting him as a king and intimate person in unofficial language.
In the interview, Shahpasandi says, ”After the morning prayer, he goes hiking three times a week and walks uphill for about 45 to 60 minutes, spending about 30 to 45 minutes on the way back."
On some days when the hiking takes place at a more distant location, the Ayatollah carries out his prayers on his way to the hike location. Shahpasandi also mentioned the issues that the guards faced when the leader was on his hike: “We cannot use the same mountain for the hikes, as the enemy can find this out to hurt us. He uses any heights or hill in/around Tehran, from the Bibishahr in Rey to the northern hills of Tehran, such as Velenjak or Darband. There is no exclusive hill to which we go. There are two, three exclusive places we go to,”.
After the Morning Prayers
According to this personal guard, the Leader says his morning prayers at his office, and the staff from his office joins him in this. His work day begins after this prayer session.
“If he has a meeting, it begins with breakfast. If the meeting is at 7 in the morning, the breakfast is taken during the meeting. He remains in his office between breakfast and the noon prayer. When the noon azan (call for prayers) is heard, he stops doing whatever he is doing, even if he is giving a speech, and says that prayers come first,” Shahpasandi says.
When lunch time comes, if meetings are still in progress, then the Leader has lunch with participants in his office. However, if the meetings are not in the Leader’s office, and if he has an hour or two between the prayers and the next event, then he has his lunch at his house, which is only about ten to twenty walking steps away from his office, and he takes some rest. His next event would normally be at 3 or 4 p.m. at his office. But if there are no scheduled events, then he would spend the time at his personal library, according to the guard.
On Mashregh, a website close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, another guard had talked about one of the most “insecure” events carried out by Ayatollah Khamenei, which had taken place on Majidie Street in Tehran. Ayatollah Khamenei stood at the door of a house for a few minutes, where he could openly be seen by the public.
Generally speaking the ayatollah rarely appears in public places and, according to reports, when he does, this is preceded by extensive and detailed security and protective measures many days prior to the event.
The unnamed guard had said in the published interview in Mashregh that the incident breaching security occurred when the leader was going to visit an Armenian family who had lost a son in the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. The mother of the victim and her daughters were not properly dressed for the occasion, which made the Ayatollah wait outside the house for a few minutes until the family members were ready to receive him....
The responsibility of providing security for the supreme leader rests with a special IRGC unit called “Sepahe Hefazat Vali Amr” (Supreme Leader’s Protective Force). This is a special military and security unit whose each member is selected and placed by the supreme leader’s security unit, under the supervision of cleric Asghar Hejazi, on recommendations from the IRGC’s security and intelligence division.
Life with Borrowed Money
Many stories are circulated by clerics, and military and political authorities of the Islamic Republic about the simple life led by Ayatollah Khamenei. For example, a member of the Assembly of Experts announced that the Supreme Leader had to borrow money for his daily needs. Ayatollah Seyed Abolhassan Mahdavi, Assembly of Experts member from the province of Isfahan, said that Ayatollah Khamenei’s expenses are very small, but “many people did not know how simply he lived”. He quoted cleric Mohammad Golpaygani, the head of Ayatollah Khamenei’s office, “While he has vast amounts of money at his disposal, he does not use a single rial on personal issues. Sometimes when he needs money, he borrows from me to return the amount when he is able.”
Such stories are refuted by opponents of the Supreme Leader, accusing him and some of his children of political and economic corruption. They point out to the financial and economic control of the largest projects in the energy, construction, banking, and stock exchange sectors, operated by institutions under the supervision of Ayatollah Khamenei such as the IRGC, Mostazafan Foundation, Shahid Foundation, and the National Radio and Television Organization...as and indication of the economic corruption of the leader and his family.
Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, who is the father of Ayatollah Khamenei’s daughter-in-law, has said in response to accusations of corruption that the family of the Supreme Leaderhad the most honest and simplest life possible. Regarding Mojtaba Khamenei, the Supreme Leader's son, Haddad Adel said that the only thing he did was to pray and practice Islamic jurisprudence. He attributed assertions of corruption to be the work of the enemies of Islam and Iran.