Iran: Basij attack Ayatollah Montazeri mourners in Qom

The funeral of Ayatollah Montazeri Dec. 21 saw hundreds of thousands of mourners take to the streets in Qom, despite harassment and attacks from the Basij militia. Some 2,000 government supporters also attacked Montazeri’s commemoration ceremony at Azam Mosque. To avoid any harm coming to mourners, the family has cancelled the customary third day commemoration events. Afterwards, Basij forces in plainclothes swarmed Montazeri’s residence, breaking windows and tearing his pictures and the black mourning banners that had been placed there. They also attacked the nearby home of Montazeri’s son. Pro-government forces have pledged to mobilize a counter-demonstration against the mourners in Qom.

The office of another leading reformist cleric, Ayatollah Sanei, was also attacked that night, according to Sanei’s website Basij mobs also impeded Ayatollah Sanei from attending Montazeri’s funeral. The attack on Sanei was probably connected with the fact that opposition leaders Mir Hosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi who arrived in Qom the day before to attend the ceremonies stayed at Ayatollah Sanei’s residence.

Despite threats against mourners, Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani held a commemoration ceremony for Montazeri Dec. 22. Ayatollah Taheri in Esfahan also announced he will hold a commemoration service for Ayatollah Montazeri Dec. 23. (Payvand, AFP, Dec. 22)

Once considered Ayatollah’s Khomeini’s heir-apparent, Hossein Ali Montazeri fell from favor after protesting the use of torture under Khomeini, and has been a dissident ever since. He became more outspoken following the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2006. He has recently protested Ahmadinejad’s nuclear ambitions, and objected to the regime’s persecution of Sufis. Ironically, his supporters have been persecuted in US-occupied Afghanistan.

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  1. More protests in Tehran
    Several thousand protesters took to the streets of Tehran Dec. 24 and clashed with riot police, while chanting “Montazeri’s legacy is the end of this dictatorship.” There were also clashes between security forces and mourners attempting to honor Montazeri in Zanjan, a mostly ethnic Azeri city in western Iran. (LAT, Dec. 24)

  2. Ashura protests rock Tehran
    Many were arrested and witnesses said riot police fired warning shots in several areas of Tehran Dec. 26 to deter demonstrators, many of whom chanted slogans against the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Clashes were also reported in cities including Isfahan, Kermanshah and Shiraz as opposition supporters used the Ashura ceremonies to take to the streets. (The Observer, Dec. 27)

    The new violence comes a day after a US State Department official charged that “Iran is increasingly showing itself to be a police state” in its harsh treatment of protesters. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Dec. 23 that Iran is using its security forces to try to “stamp out” the “aspirations of the Iranian people.” (VOA, Dec. 24)

  3. Iran: Ashura violence escalates
    Gunfire is still reported from Tehran, where a nephew of reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi is said to be among the dead. More than 300 have been arrested, and numerous police vehicles set ablaze by protesters. Four are also reported killed by police gunfire in the northern city of Tabriz. (The Guardian, Dec. 28)

  4. Why does he died in this timing?
    In view of confusion after that presidential election, it will possible to foresee that if some leader of reform faction die in present Iran, then riot will be raised.
    The question is that why Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri died in this timing.