The title of Grand Ayatollah of Iran does not exist per se. The head of state of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the Supreme Leader, a position filled by Ruhollah Khomeini from 1979-1989, and by the incumbent Ali Khamenei ever since that date. However, as both men also held the term "grand ayatollah", a number of English language publications use the terms interchangeably.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, also referred to as Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, but officially called the Supreme Leadership Authority, is the head of state as well as the ultimate political and religious authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The armed forces, judiciary, state television, and other key government organizations are subject to the Supreme Leader.
In the works of Harry Turtledove, the Grand Ayatollah of Iran may refer to:
- First Unnamed Grand Ayatollah of Iran (Alpha and Omega), incumbent during the earlier part of Alpha and Omega.
- Second Unnamed Grand Ayatollah of Iran (Alpha and Omega), incumbent during the latter part of the same novel.
- Unnamed Grand Ayatollah of Iran (Supervolcano), appearing on a TV screen in Supervolcano: Eruption.
Ruhollah Khomeini is referenced as the incumbent Grand Ayatollah in the shared universe piece "Notes from the General Secretariat" and the State of Jefferson Stories installment "Tie a Yellow Ribbon," receiving only minimal effects from the speculative elements of either story. Stories set in OTL may contain contemporary and/or posthumous references to him, without any such effects.