AFP: Top dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri has renewed his criticism of Iranian authorities, warning their handling of the post-election unrest could lead to the fall of the regime.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Top dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri has renewed his criticism of Iranian authorities, warning their handling of the post-election unrest could lead to the fall of the regime.
"I hope the authorities wake up before it is too late and do not hurt the reputation of the Islamic republic further … and cause their own fall and that of the system," Montazeri said in a statement carried on his website Wednesday.
The dissident cleric called for an end to "show trials", which he said were a "mockery of Islamic justice" and urged the authorities "not to continue down the wrong turn they are taking".
"They should at least have the courage to declare that this government is neither a republic nor Islamic with nobody allowed to protest, comment or criticise," fumed Montazeri.
The disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has plunged Iran into its worst crisis since the establishment of the Islamic republic in 1979.
The opposition charged the June 12 poll was fraudulent, sparking massive street protests, in which about 30 people — and by opposition accounts 69 — have been killed.
Scores of senior reformist figures, journalists and activists have been jailed and put on mass trials on accusations of seeking to overthrow the regime in a "velvet coup."
Montazeri, who was once tipped to succeed revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as supreme leader, fell from grace in the late 1980s after he spoke out against the Islamic regime's treatment of its critics.