Iran: Dissident Montazeri dies


Published in “Focus” on December 20 2009
Source (German):

With Ali Montazeri, one of Iran’s most senior dissident authorities has died.

Shia cleric Ali Montazeri at the age of 87 succumbed to a long disease. This was reported by the state news agency IRNA on Sunday, omitting Montazeri’s official title Grand Ayatollah. The scholar was a resident of the spiritual center in the Southern Iranian city of Qom, that recently had been a source of increasing criticism of the arch-conservative government of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini had initially designated Grand Ayatollah Montazeri to succeed him. However, as Montazeri turned out to be increasingly critical about the development of the Islamic Republic, he fell into disgrace.

After Khomeini died in June of 1989, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was president at that time, became the supreme religious leader of Iran. Khamenei until today holds the highest office in the Islamic Republic and in the current struggle for power backs the controversial president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Montazeri, though, had repeatedly accused Ahmadinejad of dictatorial ruling.

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