Ayatollahs Protest Election Fraud
14 Jun 2009 17:29
By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 14 June 2009
Mir Hossein Mousavi's, the main reformist rival to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, letter to the important ayatollahs in the holy city of Qom, asking them to protest the fraud and declare it against Islam, has sparked protests by the ayatollahs and clerics as well.
The Association of Combatant Clerics, which consists of moderate and leftist clerics and includes such important figures as former president Mohammad Khatami, Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Khoiniha, and Grand Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardabili, issued a strongly-worded statement, calling the results of the election invalid.
Grand Ayatollah Saafi Golpaygaani, an important cleric with a large number of followers, warned about the election results and the importance that elections in Iran retain their integrity.
Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei, a progressive cleric and a confidante of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, has declared that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not the legitimate president and cooperation with him, as well as working for him, are haraam (against Islam and a great sin). He has also declared that any changes in the votes by unlawful means are also haraam. Several credible reports indicate that he has traveled to Tehran in order to participate in nationwide protests scheduled for Monday (June 18). It is said that he has planned a sit-in in some public place, in order to further protest election fraud. His website has been blocked.
Credible reports also indicate that security forces have surrounded the offices and homes of several other important ayatollahs who are believed to want to protest election fraud. Their websites cannot be accessed, and all communications with them have been cut off.
The nation is waiting to hear the views of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most important ayatollah living in Iran and the strongest clerical critic of the conservatives. He has been asked to issue a clear statement, explaining his views about the election fraud.
Mr. Khatami, who campaigned strongly for Mr. Mousavi, is also under house arrest.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau