by Nir Boms and Shayan Arya
Although physically weak from recent routine prostate surgery, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, emerged smiling from his hospital bed — and for a good reason. He has never been stronger. From Syria to Iraq, from Tehran to Gaza and UN headquarters in New York, he feels empowered and this shows nowhere better than in Geneva.
Khamenei has many reasons to smile. The sanctions that were crippling his regime just a year ago appear to be receding. Companies from Europe to Asia are lining up to do business in Iran. His significant efforts to assist Bashar Assad in Syria and to keep Hezbollah afloat have paid off as well. Many in Washington have begun to see Assad as a potential ally against what they believe to be the real threat, namely ISIS. His disciple, President Hassan Rouhani, has just met British Prime Minister David Cameron in New York. Rouhani appears to be making new friends.