Today, the Islamic regime in Iran faces what could be a perfect storm. A respected opposition leader is being mourned, it is the most holy day of the year for Shiites, and the pro-democracy Green Movement is more energized and radicalized than ever. The spirit of liberation is alive and well.
A week ago, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri passed away at age 87. Montazeri was a senior regime critic who at one time had been the designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini, but he broke with the revolution when he saw the destructive path it was taking and was sent into internal exile in the holy city of Qom. In November, when the Islamic regime celebrated the 30th anniversary of the occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Montazeri said, “At the time, I supported it, but not today. It was a mistake.”
Montazeri became the spiritual godfather of the reform movement and was a strong supporter of the June 2009 street protests that broke out in the wake of Iran’s presidential election, which was widely believed to have been rigged. At Montazeri’s funeral on Monday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators turned out, chanting anti-regime slogans and skirmishing with pro-regime Basij militia. It was the largest single civil protest since the street marches last June that made worldwide headlines.
Shiites traditionally observe another day of mourning on the seventh day after death, and by coincidence this falls on Ashura, the Shiite religious holiday that commemorates th… >>>