Attack on Montazeri’s possible successor


Published on Germany’s public TV channel “ARD”, news broadcast “Tagesschau”, December 23 2009
Source (German):

After the mourning ceremony for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, hundreds of supporters of president Ahmadinejad attacked the residence of reformist cleric Sane’i. He is considered as Montazeri’s possible successor. The excesses reveal a widening rift between the government and the theologians.
By Ulrich Pick, ARD radio studio, Istanbul

The windows of his office were broken, some of his employees were injured. Sane’i had repeatedly taken a critical stance against the ultra conservative president, and, together with three other Grand Ayatollahs, one of them Montazeri, bashed the disputed presidential elections in June. There are currently about ten acknowledged Grand Ayatollahs in Iran. They rank highest in the hierarchy of Shiite clerics.

Poster of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, who is a symbol of resistance against Ahmadinejad's government in in Iran (Photo: AP)

The gap between the government and theologians is widening
Sane’i, who was born in Esfahan in 1937, is perceived as Montazeri’s possible successor, who was considered Iran’s most renowned theologian. Montazeri had been an ally of revolutionary leader Khomeini for years, however, was disempowered by him after he criticized the regime’s mass executions in the late 1980s. Since the late 1990s, Montazeri has been one of the most vehement critics of the system. The excesses against Grand Ayatollah Sane’i confirm the political development of the past months, which indicated that the government of Ahmadinejad is obtaining militaristic traits, and distancing itself from large parts of the clergy.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi was released from his duties as the head of the Iranian Academy of Arts. He had been holding this office for 11 years. As reported by news agency Fars, Moussavi was sacked by a supervisory board headed by Ahmadinejad.

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