Iran's top dissident cleric Montazeri dies
Sunday 20 December 2009
Iran's senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, has died, official media reported on today. He was 87.
Montazeri, who branded Iran's disputed election in June fraudulent, was an architect of the 1979 Islamic revolution who fell out with the present clerical leadership and spent five years under house arrest until 2002.
He had been named to succeed late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as Iran's supreme leader, but quarrelled with him in 1989 over the mass execution of prisoners. Instead, the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, succeeded Khomeini after he died later the same year.
"Hossein Ali Montazeri passed away in his home last night," the official IRNA news agency said in a report that did not mention his title.
He lived in the holy Shi'ite Muslim city of Qom, south of Tehran, and was one of the Islamic Republic's most senior clerics.
In August, he described the clerical establishment as a "dictatorship", saying the authorities' handling of street unrest following the June presidential poll "could lead to the fall of the regime".
Montazeri was among the government's harshest critics in a clerical establishment whose splits have gaped during turmoil triggered by the disputed election six months ago.
The pro-reform opposition says the poll was rigged to secure hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.
The authorities have denied the charge and portrayed the huge opposition protests that erupted after the election as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the clerical leadership.
The semi-official Fars News Agency said another senior pro-reform cleric, Grand Ayatollah Yusof Saanei, visited Montazeri's home on Sunday to express his condolences.
When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...