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The Iran’s supreme leader has declared himself to be an “#AvidReader”, unveiling a hitherto unsuspected passion for the works of the Soviet authors Mikhail Sholokhov and Alexei Tolstoy.

Writing on his English-language Twitter feed @khamenei_ir, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that while he is “not into cinema and visual arts”, when it “comes to poetry and novels, I’m not just a typical audience.”

The Ayatollah is certainly far from being a typical reader. Khameini has been the most powerful figure in Iran since the death in 1989 of the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Rouhollah Khomeini, and wields the final say over the country’s international and domestic policy. He is ultimately responsible for a regime in which censorship is ubiquitous, and where – according to PEN International – more than 20 writers are currently held in Iranian jails.

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