For Ayatollah Khamenei, China is a model to avoid and its journey from defiance to pragmatism a path to resist.
In both cases, Ayatollah Khamenei successfully undermined and subverted their reform efforts.
It was the official memorandum of a meeting held in Tehran in May 1984, presided over by Ayatollah Mohammed Khatami, who was then Iran's Minister of Guidance, but would later become Iran's president.
Ayatollah Khatami explained to the exclusive invitees--which included Iran's top cabinet officials and the chiefs of its military, clergy, and intelligence agencies--that the meeting was being held in obedience "to the orders of His Eminence .
Whatever Ayatollah Khomeini may have hoped, it had little export potential.
Velyat e Faqih," the notion of a religious leader holding supreme political power, was given a very sniffy reception by theologically more eminent Shia figures, such as Grand Ayatollah al-Khoie, venerated religious leader of the 12 million Iraqi Shia.
But the two qualifications to be a Marja evidence of great piety and profound religious learning - are normally acquired at a rather more advanced age than that of Ayatollah Khamenei.
The Islamic propagation chief, Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati, told Friday prayer worshippers in Tehran that to confront what he called "American-supported Islam", a term for non-political Islam, the new Marja should have more political awareness than previous holders of this position.
It was an unusual display of public pressure on the government by a group of grand ayatollahs, the highest clerics in Shia Islam.
The grand ayatollahs made their remarks during a meeting with members of the clerical faction of the Majlis in Qom last Thursday.
However, as Time magazine correctly noted, the "real author" of the election was Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani, who had issued a fatwa (religious order) commanding Iraq's Shi'ite Muslims to flock to the polls on behalf of Shi'ite-approved candidates.
Iran Under the Ayatollahs
illuminates a country few Americans have bothered to learn about, despite its powerful effect on our own interests.
Few other ayatollahs
who have voiced support for the reform movement in recent years can come even close to filling the gap left by his passing.
It is widely believed that, as the commander in chief of Iran's armed forces, Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei is the coup leader.
The Guardian's source adds, however, that the conservatives worry that overt opposition to the Ayatollah
and his son risks undermining the Islamic Republic government and its power in the Middle East.