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Death of Dissident Cleric, Ayatollah Montazeri, Keeps Iran Politics Volatile

Report by Radio Zamaneh

The death of prominent dissident cleric Ayatollah Montazeri continues to occupy Iran's political scene as people try to organize memorial services against the will of the government and hardliners try to downplay the importance of the senior religious leader.

The late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri

While Tehran saw funeral processions yesterday in memory of Ayatollah Montazeri turn into anti-government protests, Ahmad Khatami led today's Friday worshippers saying the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei showed great "magnanimity" by allowing the burial of Ayatollah Montazeri in the shrine of Masoomeh.

Ayatollah Montazeri (photo by

The death of the dissident cleric that had become the most staunch critic of the Islamic Republic has become a launch pad for people's protests against the alleged fraud in the elections that secured a new term for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his hardliner government.

Mourners have been chanting slogans against the Supreme Leader and the government such as: "End of this dictatorship was the last will and testament of Montazeri!"

Mourners at Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral in Qom, December 21 (photo by

Tomorrow as the seventh day of Ayatollah Montazeri's death coincides with the Shiite day of mourning Ashura, protesters have announced they will join mourning processions to commemorate the deceased religious leader.

Ahmad Khatami warned opposition leaders that they should be wary of the support of foreign and "anti-revolutionary" powers for their movement and therefore realize that they are in the wrong.

He also revealed the government's apprehensions about protests on Ashura urging leaders not to turn the religious event into a "platform for divisions and treason."

Copyright (c) 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

... Payvand News - 12/25/09 ... --

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