Paper publishes banned photo of leading dissident
TEHRAN, Aug 28 (AFP) - An Iranian newspaper close to nationalist circles
published a front-page picture on Saturday of a dissident cleric once in
line to be Iran 's supreme leader but now forbidden to be mentioned in
The Iran Vij paper featured a photo of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri,
whose fierce criticisms of the regime have left him under house arrest
for the last 10 years.
"Does the house arrest of Ayatollah Montazeri conform to Islamic
law?" the paper asked in its daring front-page article, echoing the
calls of his supporters for an end to his confinement.
The 78-year-old Montazeri was once due to succeed the Islamic republic's
founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as supreme leader but was pushed aside
in March 1989 after accusations his residence was a "nest of plotters"
against the regime.
Current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took over instead when
the Islamic republic's founder died in June 1989 and the regime ordered
Montazeri placed under house arrest.
He has remained a leading dissident figure who two years ago angered
conservatives anew by condemning their hold over the nation's politics
and calling for greater power to be given to reformist President Mohammad
The comments sparked nationwide demonstrations and led to the closure
of his office in the northeastern city of Mashhad and the sacking of his
office at the Koranic school in the holy city of Qom.
Mehdi Hashemi, the brother of Montazeri's son-in-law and a well- known
member of Iran 's elite Revolutionary Guards, was executed in 1987 after
being accused of plotting against the government and belonging to the Savak,
thk2gret police of the former imperial regime.