Tehran GrapevineSon of late dissident cleric snubs religious authorities

Son of late dissident cleric snubs religious authorities

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 01 – In another sign of the waning influence of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his allies in the religious establishment, the son of Iran’s most renowned dissident cleric, who prior to his death in December had called for Khamenei’s dismissal, has rejected requests by senior clerics in Qom to close down the operations of his late father’s offices throughout the country.

Iran Focus

Tehran, Jun. 01 – From the Grapevine…

In another sign of the waning influence of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his allies in the religious establishment, the son of Iran’s most renowned dissident cleric, who prior to his death in December had called for Khamenei’s dismissal, has rejected requests by senior clerics in the holy city of Qom to close down the operations of his late father’s offices throughout the country.

The late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri issued a fatwa, or religious edict, last year stating that Ayatollah Khamenei was no longer fit to rule as Supreme Leader following the state-orchestrated crackdown on anti-government protests that swept the nation last year. Major anti-government rallies were held immediately after his death.

Earlier this year, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, a key ally of Khamenei, had urged Montarzeri’s son, Ahmad, to shut down his father’s offices in Qom and elsewhere in the country and sell off the property, claiming that keeping Montazeri’s legacy’s alive might be considered in insult to religious teachings.

Ahmad Montazeri, in a clear snub to Makarem Shirazi, issued a statement on 29 May, in which he said, “I will not accept the shame of closing down my late father’s offices.”

Authorities are concerned that the continued activities by the office of the popular and dissident cleric would contribute to the growing disdain against the regime among even the religious sector of society, particularly in Qom.

Montazeri, who was Iran’s highest-ranking dissident ayatollah until his death in December, remained a controversial figure for most of the post-1979 revolution period. He was for several years the designated successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but was demoted in 1988 after he spoke out against the massacre of political prisoners in the summer of that year. He was placed under house arrest in the 90s for openly challenging the authority of current Supreme Leader Khamenei.

In May, authorities removed books written by Montazeri from the Tehran International Book Fair.

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