Ayatollah 'under arrest in Tehran'

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The Independent Online
PARIS - Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, once the right-hand man of Ayatollah Khomeini and his designated successor, has been arrested and transferred to Tehran, according to sources in Tehran and the holy city of Qom, where he lived and taught. Some reports say, however, that he was only briefly detained and then released but his whereabouts are unknown, writes Safa Haeri.

He was held after clashes between his supporters, and those of Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the preacher at Friday prayers in Qom, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Meshkini, according to the former president, Abolhasan Bani-Sadr, in exile in France. The scene for the clashes was set by insults traded between the men in newspapers and sermons recently. The arrest followed an attack by armed men on Ayatollah Montazeri's house last Friday in which three of his aides were killed, Mr Bani-Sadr said. His office said the information came from aides to the Ayatollah.