Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ayatollah Montazeri dies

Iranian Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, a fierce critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has died. Montazeri died on Saturday night in his sleep at his home in the religious city of Qom after a long illness, the reports said. The ayatollah had been banished from politics since the late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, dismissed him as his designated heir in March 1989 for criticising the Islamic system. Montazeri accused Ahmadinejad's government of dictatorship after his disputed re-election in June.

In 2001, the Ayatollah suffered a severe heart attack just after he was released from a five-year period of house arrest and was hospitalised for a long time.

Despite political isolation and house arrest for more than ten years, Montazeri remained a respected religious figure and one of Iran's most acknowledged marjae taqlids, to whom Muslims refer for religious guidance.

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