This article in Asia Times claims that the Iranian Supreme Leader is suffering from cancer and is about to die, to be replaced later by the trio of “Khatami, Rafsanjani and Karroubi.”
A leading Western energy consultant, who prefers to remain anonymous, went to Tehran in early February and personally met with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. He tells Asia Times Online that according to his assessment, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “has a couple of months at most – prostate cancer”.
The Western consultant’s top sources also told him the Supreme Leader “will not be replaced, but a triumvirate/council will replace him, consisting of Khatami, Rafsanjani and Kharroubi”. Former president Mohammad Khatami is a reformist. Mehdi Kharroubi – the Majlis (parliament) Speaker – is a moderate. And former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, a Machiavellian pragmatist, is in fact the next notable in the line of succession, according to the current rules (he would be chosen by the Council of Experts, of which he is the top member).
(Courtesy of Opium and Saffron)
Well, the trio he talks about here is arguably the most moderate one can imagine, and the prospect of three people running the country than one is also one step closer to pluralism. But you need to be very optimistic about the Islamic Republic to see this happening.