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Restrictions on Montazeri lifted - paper

TEHRAN (Jan. 28) XINHUA - Iranian authorities have decided to lift restrictions on Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, the disgraced designate successor of the late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Musavi Khomeini.

An Iranian daily Tehran Times reported on Thursday that an informed source revealed the decision to it, but did not give details of and the reasons for the decision.

Observers here said the lifting have become a must as Montazeri's supporters became more active in the country, particularly in Najafabad, Montazeri's hometown in the central Isfahan province.

Iran's Supreme Council of National Security decided to impose restrictions on Montazeri in November, 1997 after he openly defended Iran's moderate President Mohammad Khatami and criticized supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his intervention in the administrative affairs.

In a speech to his students in the holy city Qom, Montazeri urged Khamenei to give a free hand to President Khatami to administer the country since he was elected by more than 20 million voters out of 30 million.

Montazeri, a prominent Islamic canonist with huge followers in Iran, was appointed by Khomeini as his designate successor in 1983, but was dismissed by Khomeini himself before his demise in 1989.

Political observers said that Montazeri was sacked for his political differences with Khomeini. But Tehran Times said his sacking resulting from his link with a terrorist group headed by Mehdi Hashemi, brother of his son-in-law Hadi Hashemi.

Mehdi Hashemi established a foothold in Montazeri's office through his brother Hadi Hashemi, who was head of Montazeri's office, the daily said. He was arrested and executed in 1986 on the charge of plotting against the Islamic system and killing his political opponents.

In recent months, some Iranian officials blamed supporters of Mehdi Hashemi, labeled as "Mehdi Hashemi Band" by Iranian authorities, for being behind several killings and bomb attacks in the country.


Copyright © 1997 Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form