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Ardalan
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posted July 23, 2001 09:51     Click Here to See the Profile for Ardalan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Four followers of Iran's most senior dissident cleric arrested, including son-in-law

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jul. 22 - Special Clergy Court agents have arrested a son-in-law and three other followers of Iran's most senior dissident cleric, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, his family said Sunday. Son-in-law Mojtaba Feiz was arrested Tuesday along with Mahmoud Salevati, Alireza Ahmadi and Mohammad Ali Ghaedi, said the cleric's son, Ahmad Montazeri, who spoke to The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The Special Clergy Court deals only with clerics, acts independently of the judiciary and reports directly to the country's hard-line supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Montazeri said his father, with whom he met on Sunday, was not surprised by the action. The elder Montazeri, 79, has been under house arrest for nearly four years.

"He thinks all these pressures are aimed at weakening his morale and forcing him to change his attitude, but I see no way that he will ever change his attitude," Ahmad Montazeri said.

Hossein Ali Montazeri has a large following, and his views on religion are respected by many Shiite Muslims around the world. Last week, more than 550 clerics called for his release in an uncommon public show of support.

Talking about Montazeri has been taboo in Iran since November 1997, when he questioned the legitimacy of clerical rule, including Khamenei's.

Khamenei accused Montazeri of treason and, days later, hard-liners attacked his home and office in Qom, 80 miles southwest of Tehran.

Montazeri had been designated to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, but the two had a falling out over Montazeri's views a few months before Khomeini died of cancer in 1989. Khamenei succeeded him instead.

Feiz's wife, Saeedeh, Montazeri's youngest daughter, said in a statement sent to AP that six agents from the Special Clergy Court forced their way into the house in Tuesday's arrests.

"I found a hate in their eyes for us," she said. "They arrested my husband not like an accused person but as a dangerous criminal."

A day after the four were arrested, Montazeri's office was sealed off and the doors welded by security forces on an order from the hard-line clergy court, his son said.

"No Shiite religious leader in any country and at any time has been ever treated so inappropriately," Ahmad Montazeri said. "He is one of the founders of this establishment. I do not understand what benefit will the closure of this office have for the Islamic Republic."

In December, police detained Hossein Ali Montazeri's eldest son, Saeed, for distributing his father's memoirs. No charges have been filed and he remains in custody. Another of the cleric's sons-in-law and two followers were detained last month.

A note from Ardalan- Montazeri is no different than the rest of them. He has been brought up in the same monasteries as the rest of the mollas. He also thinks he has a mandate from God to dictate to people how to live their lives. Just read his diary that is posted on the net and you will realize that Montazeri is not a ray of sunshine either. His followers can not be any different than those of Khomaini, Kamenai and Khatami .....

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