Iranian dissident cleric condemns government intimidations

Iranian reformist cleric, Ayatollah Sanei condemned the government’s attempt to intimidate followers of reformist Shiite leaders within the clergy. He declared: “We should never get to a stage where religion becomes a tool for protecting power. What does it mean to pressure people for the members of the clergy they choose to appeal to or the mosques they choose to pray at?”

In a meeting with a group of students and academics, Ayatollah Sanei warned that “these people are trying to exert their power over people’s minds and thoughts,” and warned that they are even trying to “omit” a number of Ayatollah Khomeini’s principles.

Ayatollah Sanei declared that the public will not be “deceived” by these violators of “people’s right” and these “intimidations” will have to end sometime.

Ayatollah Sanei has been one of the most prominent voices of dissent within the clergy against the government treatment of protesters in the past eleven months.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supporters have repeatedly attacked his offices and criticized his political statements.

The Association of Seminary Teachers in Qom has also made some controversial attempts at undermining his credentials as a Shiite cleric that can have a following.

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