Arabic media outlets reported on March 4 that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was hospitalized in critical condition, days after a different report indicated that doctors had given the ayatollah only two years to live.
The Israel Hayom daily newspaper reported on March 5 that the supreme leader was rushed to the hospital and has undergone surgery, citing “Arab media reports.”
Khamenei is said to be in serious condition. The reports could not immediately be confirmed.
French paper Le Fiagro cited Western intelligence over the weekend that the 76-year-old was suffering from stage four prostrate cancer that had spread to other parts of his body, with doctors assessing that he has, at most, two years to live.
Khamenei has been rumored to be sick for years. In September 2014, he underwent prostrate surgery, with his official Twitter account maintaining that it was successful.
The reports come as Iran and the Western powers race to formulate a nuclear deal before the end of the month—a deal that Khamenei will have to sign off on in order for it to pass.
Khamenei became supreme leader in 1989 following the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led Iran’s 1979 revolution. It is not clear who would succeed Khamenei should he step down or die. He has a long and public history of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.