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Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared in public during a religious ceremony on Saturday, delivering a speech after previously canceling other commitments for health reasons.

On Saturday, Khamenei spoke in the hall of Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah near his home during a ceremony for Arbaeen, a Shiite religious practice commemorating 40 days after the death anniversary of the third Shia Imam Hussain Ibn Ali. According to an English translation of the speech posted on Khamenei’s website, attendance was limited.

“This is due to the existence of the pandemic, the coronavirus and the like, and also the limits that exist,” Khamenei said, adding to extend his greetings “to all those who have expressed their kindness to me and sent their greetings to me from afar “.

The New York Times reported Friday that Khamenei canceled all of her public appearances and meetings from the previous week. The report stated that Khamenei was “seriously ill” and “in bed” while doctors monitored his condition.

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on March 21, 2022.
(Official website of the Iranian Supreme Guide via AP)

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A source told the Times that the Iranian leader had had a stomach ache and fever before undergoing surgery for a bowel obstruction. He was reportedly in critical condition but had improved.

Khamenei, 83, fell ill not long after returning to Tehran from a visit to a shrine in the city of Mashhad. The Times reported that it told those who were with him on the trip that it could be his last visit there.

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Among the meetings that Khamenei would cancel was one with the Assembly of Experts, the panel that determines his successor.

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