Sunday, 20 December 2009

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri Dies

Last night the Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri died at the age of 87 from illness.

Montazeri was the most prominent dissident cleric, and one of the most respected Shi'ite figures.

The man who had been tipped to replace Khomeini, until he fell out with him over Iran's human rights record, had been a constant thorn in the side of the leadership.

In 1997 he was placed under house arrest for five years, after claiming Khameini unfit to rule. After the recent disputed election he issued a Fatwa against the Ahmadinejad government.

During the revolution of 1979 he was repeatedly detained for organising protests and had been a leading revolutionary.

However, in the years after Montazeri had consistently claimed that the revolution had not brought the liberation it was supposed to, and hated the idea that a dictatorship could be justified in the name of Islam.

Montazeri will be missed as a beacon of those who lead the revolution but criticise the aftermath.

His death is likely to be a huge focal point for the opposition with large crowds already gathering outside his home in Qom.

May God bless his soul.

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