Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Ali Khamenei was born in July of 1939 in Iran. He became Supreme Leader of Iran in 1989. Ayatollah, as he is most commonly known as, was a high-ranking title.
Khamenei was directly descended from Muhammad. He had two brothers who were clerics, while Khamenei himself was a cleric.
Khamenei was faithful in his religious studies and attended them at basic and advanced levels. In 1958, he stopped some of his studies and settled down in the city of Qom in Iran. There, he studied under two more teachers, including Ruhollah Khomeini, who was Ayatollah at the time.
In 1963, Khamenei was involved in some Islamic political activities that landed him in jail. However, he was shortly released and taught in some religious schools, illegally teaching the Nahj al-Balagheh, a collection of sermons and letters, teaching about the Christian God. He did this in secret for a year before he was arrested and thrown into jail.
Several years after he was let out of jail, in 1981, Khamenei had an attempted assassination that paralyzed his right arm.
After the President of Iran was assassinated, Khamenei took his place.
In 1989, Khamenei succeeded Khomeini as Supreme Leader, and became recognized as Ayatollah. He was only the second, since Khomeini was the first Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic founded in 1979.
Ayatollah Khamenei is still Supreme Leader.