The Life and Death of Ayatollah Montazeri

Yesterday, Iranian Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri died of heart failure while sleeping at his home in Qum.  He was a vociferous critic of Iran’s ruling elite even though he was one of the founders of the Islamic Republic, and his funeral reportedly drew hundreds of thousands of mourners at a time when the Iranian regime is trying to suppress an opposition movement that gathered force earlier this year after allegations of widespread fraud surrounding the reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud were publicized.

The story of the deceased cleric’s later years is emblematic of the rift between reformers and hardliners in Iran.  In an article published today in the New York Times, Robert Worth discusss Mr. Montazeri’s interesting life and the implications of his death, and the piece is worth reading for anyone interested in the conflict between pro-government and opposition forces in the Islamic Republic.

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