Montazeri’s son warns: Theocracy might fall


Published in “Der Spiegel” on January 2 2010
Source (German):,1518,669812,00.html#ref=rss

According to the son of the late Grand Ayatollah and dissident Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran now is at a crossroads. In an interview with SPIEGEL, Saeed Montazeri warns of the fall of the theocratic state. Should Iran’s opposition leader Moussavi be killed, this would have “disastrous” consequences.

Photo: Reuters

“It can not go on like this”, says Saeed Montazeri, 47, in an Interview with SPIEGEL. The son of Grand Ayatollah and regime critic Hossein Ali Montazeri, who died recently at the age of 87, believes that the opposition protests could soon turn violent as well. If “young people have to witness their friends being beaten up, arrested, or even shot dead in broad daylight, any attempt to persuade them to show restraint will soon be fruitless”, says Montazeri. “And, to be honest: I find that understandable, even though I do not approve of it.”

Montazeri warns that the arrest or killing of Iran’s opposition leader Hossein Moussavi would have “disastrous” consequences. The shooting of Moussavi’s nephew during a demonstration in Tehran just a few days ago “without doubt was a purposeful act”, says Montazeri. This act was “planned well in advance” and possibly was meant as a “kind of final warning” to Moussawi. On Friday, Moussavi had announced that he is ready to “die as a martyr”.

According to Montazeri, the government bodies are “solely responsible” for the escalation of the recent protests in Iran, that have claimed numerous deaths. He justifies the brutality of protesters as counter-violence: “Ordinary people have no interest in setting property on fire. All they want is demonstrate for their legitimate interests. They were provoked by the government.”

Montazeri, son of reformist politician and cleric Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, adds that he hopes there will no blood bath, but that “the rulers come to their senses. I still hope (…) that they will be ready to compromise and walk the path of national reconciliation. If they don’t, my homeland in one year will be in a much worse condition than today,” warns Montazeri, who talked to SPIEGEL on the phone from the city of Qom in Iran.

He believes: “The form of our future society is not even that important. It could be an Islamic Republic, a secular republic, I will even be fine with a monarchy”. The only thing that really matters is “that the people can live in freedom and prosperity. That they can move freely, and that their voices are heard.”


Translator’s note:

Just after publishing this translation I learned that this interview is also available in Persian 🙂

An English article by Reuters on this interview can be read here:


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