Reformist MP calls for rehabilitation of Ayatollah
TEHRAN, Oct 3 (AFP) - A reformist Iranian legislator called Tuesday
for the rehabilitation of the liberal cleric elected to succeed the founder
of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but who was
forced to step down before ever taking up that mantle.
Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, 74, was elected in 1985 to succeed
Khomeini but was forced by conservatives to resign only weeks before Khomeini's
death in 1989. He has been in disgrace and under house arrest in the city
of Qom since then.
In a speech to parliament on Tuesday, MP Mostafa Taheri Najaf-Abadi
asked whether it is "just that this man (Montazeri), who fought next
to the imam (Khomeini) for the creation and defense of the Islamic republic,
should be constrained in his daily life, and theological schools deprived
of his teaching."
Montazeri returned to the limelight in 1997, when he made a speech critical
of Iran's current supreme spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. That
resulted in a tightening of constraints on his activities that were substantially
eased a year ago.
Najaf-Abadi told parliament that, if Montazeri had been listened to
in 1997, "perhaps the dramas we have experienced, such the murder
of intellectuals in 1998, would not have occurred."
He called on the country's leadership to allow Montazeri to resume giving