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Khamenei Meets with Mesbah: Fifth Trip to Qom in 2 Months

By Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online

Sites close to the ruling Principlists report that Iran's leader ayatollah Khamenei went to Qom for the fifth time in two months after his ten-day visit in December, this time to meet with ultra-conservative cleric Mesbah Yazdi.

Mesbah Yazdi

According to 598 Website, this trip took place on Friday when Khamenei visited Yazdi in his house to meet him and his family.

Yazdi, the director of ayatollah Khomeini education institute, is a staunch supporter of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and widely believed to be his mentor. The news site reported that the meeting lasted for about an hour, but no details were provided.

This is the fifth trip of ayatollah Khamenei to Qom, which is where Iran's most senior ayatollahs reside and the home of the Qom Theological Seminary. Just a few months ago, the leader visited the city for over ten days, even extended for a day. At least four unofficial trips were made to the city after that in which the leader met with some of the senior clerics.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Prior to this trip, Mehr news agency affiliated with the Islamic Propagation Organization had announced that Mr. Khamenei went to Qom to meet with three of the senior ayatollahs there. Specifically, he visited ayatollahs Makarem Shirazi, Nouri Hamedani and Jaafar Sobhani.

On that visit, some of the senior clerics such as ayatollah Vahid Khorasani - the son-in-law of Iran's head of the judiciary ayatollah Larijani who - is close to reformists such as ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili and ayatollah Sanei did not go to see Khamenei. Twelve senior clerics did meet Iran's leader on the trip.

Some news sites had claimed prior to this that ayatollah Khamenei was working to win the support of the senior clerics in Qom. According to these sources, Khamenei had even considered staying in Qom for a while and take over the management of the Qom Seminary to achieve this goal. This way, they said, he would be able to track the movements of the senior clerics who not favorably dispositioned towards him. This is important because many observers believe that the leader of the Islamic regime is leading the attacks against the opposition clerics.

As examples, one can cite the attacks of plain clothes agents on ayatollah Montazeri's house last year. Following these attacks, late ayatollah Montazeri's son had announced, "The attackers included a large group of Basiji militias and plainclothes agents. They attacked the residence and offices of ayatollah Montazeri and engaged in vandalism, breaking windows of the buildings. Just a few hours after that, the house of another senior ayatollah, Yousef Sanei, was also attacked. The attackers demolished Mehdi Karoubi's car as this cleric was visiting MR Sanei and chanted slogans against him and other pro-reform personalities, including Mir-Hossein Mousavi. This issue began with Mr. Khamenei's secret trip to Qom yesterday. Mr. Khamenei went to the shrine of Shiite-revered Masumeh, the sister of Imam Reza on Saturday. The result of this trip was that the tomb stone of the late ayatollah Montazeri was removed so that visitors would not be reminded of the atrocities that were committed against ayatollah Montazeri."

It should be noted that prior to this, the office of ayatollah Khamenei had responded to questions about the obligation to support velayat faghih (i.e., supreme religious leader) by posting his view that such support was a religious requirement and that vali faghih (the supreme leader) was a full accredited cleric, the successor to the imam in the absence of the twelfth Shiite imam," who was also the image of all the Shiite saints and the prophet, adding that obedience to his dictates was a religious requirement.

Prior to this and during ayatollah Khamenei's official trip to Qom, some websites supporting him had revealed that he had made some earlier informal visits to the city.

Borna website, for example, wrote, "What is clear from some evidence, the talks, and news reports is that the leader has made several trips to the holy city of Qom none of which were reported to the media and whose details have not been released."

Reporting on the visits, this site said explained the purpose of the visits to be, "A trip to the Jamkaran mosque, visits to the senior ayatollahs, including ayatollahs Bahaodini, Safi, Meshkini, Fazel Lankarani, Behjat, Sobhani, Makarem-Shirazi, Ostadi and Mesbah Yazdi. Information confirms that repeated meetings took place between the supreme leader and ayatollah Behjat during visits to ayatollah Fazel Lankari and late ayatollah Meshkini, academic talks with ayatollah Shobeiri Zanjani and a visit to the shrine of Masumeh, the sister of Imam Reza."

... Payvand News - 02/14/11 ... --

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