Iranian officials DENY reports claiming health of 81-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is deteriorating

Iranian officials denied rumours that the health of 81-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was deteriorating.

“By the grace of God and with the good prayers of devotees, the gentleman is in good health and is busy vigorously carrying out his plan according to his routine,” the official, Mehdi Fazaeli, said on Twitter.

The statement about Khamenei’s health appeared to be a response to reports by several news organisations, which referred to a tweet by a journalist in Arabic who said Khamenei had transferred duties to his son because of his health.

Khamenei has served as supreme leader since 1989, with the final say on all state matters. His health has been the subject of speculation for years.

A security official in Israel, which closely follows events in its enemy Iran told Reuters: “We are aware of these rumours, and regard them as rumours only.”

Khamenei’s last public appearance was on November 24, when he met Iran’s top officials, with videos of the meetings aired by state television.

The 81-year-old leader had undergone a successful prostate cancer operation in 2014.

State TV on Monday denied reports of a meeting of the Assembly of Experts, an 88-strong body of elected clerics responsible for appointing and monitoring the supreme leader.