Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Jet Put on Standby

By Ali Reza Jahan
Ali Reza Jahan
Ali Reza Jahan
December 29, 2009 Updated: December 30, 2009

The Iranian Supreme National Security Council ordered an inspection of the personal jet of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with potential plans to fly him and his family to Russia should the protests in Iran reach revolutionary levels, according to Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

The order came from the Revolutionary Guard on Dec. 27.

Another report released through Iran’s state media said Iranian President Ahmadinejad would be taking a schedule visit to Tajikistan—one of Iran’s trading partners—Jan. 6 and 7, leading to further speculation that senior-level Iranian leaders are preparing to flee the country.

Iranian human rights attorney and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi’s sister, Noushin Ebadi, a professor of dentistry; and brother-law of the main opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Shapour Kazemi, were arrested on Tuesday, in a wave of arrests attempting to stem off public protests that erupted since the death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on Dec. 20.

Sanctions Imminent

Many pro-regime leaders have increased the level of criticism toward Mousavi, indirectly calling for the death of opposition leaders.

A close aid to the supreme leader was quoted on Tuesday as saying, “The [opposition leaders] are mohareb [enemies of God], and the law is very clear about punishment of a mohareb," said cleric Abbas Vaez-Tabasi on Iranian state television.

National Security Council chief of staff, Denis McDonough, said the United States is seeking options for “the next step in the process,” regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons-enrichment program as the year-end deadline given by the IAEA, the United Nations nuclear watchdog.