BBC: Iran’s dissident Grand Ayatollah Montazeri dies

Dec 20, 20090 comments

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Sunday 20-Dec 2009 The senior Iranian dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri has died, state-run Iranian media say. It is not yet clear how the 87-year-old theologian, who was based in the holy city Qom, south of Tehran, passed away. “Hoseyn Ali Montazeri passed away in his home last night,” Irna news agency said without mentioning his title. He was a moving spirit in the 1979 revolution which created Iran’s Islamic state. He was also a leading critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One of Shia Islam’s most respected figures, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri issued a fatwa condemning President Ahmadinejad’s government after June’s disputed election. But that was not his first clash with authority. In 1997 he famously clashed with Iran’s ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after questioning the powers of the Supreme Leader. This led to the closure of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s religious school, an attack on his office in Qom and a period of house arrest. Source: