The family of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, have announced that commemorations for the first anniversary of the death of the late cleric will not be held due to the “lack of security” and “concerns about a repeat of the events of last year.”
According to a statement released by the “House of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri” On Friday, no memorial service will be held to mark the one-year anniversary of the passing away of the senior cleric who was viewed by many as the spiritual leader of Iran’s Green Movement.
The statement described the late Grand Ayatollah as a person who “did not speak or act against his beliefs” and added that the “enormity and magnificence of his burial [ceremony last year] demonstrated that the widespread and continuous propaganda against him in the past twenty years had not only been ineffective, but rather showed his popularity among the people” which led the “ill wishers” to prevent a memorial service from being held in his honour.
Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, Iran’s most senior religious cleric, had been the designated successor to the Islamic Republic’s founder Imam Khomeini in the 80s. However, following his falling out with Imam Khomeini and his objection to the mass executions of political prisoners in the late 80s, the senior cleric was stripped of his position and became an outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic. On different occasions, he also questioned the credentials of current leader Ali Khamenei as a religious authority, something that led to his house arrest in 1997.
During the post-election unrest after Iran’s rigged 2009 presidential election, the late cleric was a vocal supporter of the Green Movement and its goals.
Following his death in December 2009, tens of thousands took part in a procession in the holy city of Qom. His passing away sparked massive protests in his place of residence Qom as well as Tehran and other major Iranian cities. Mourners were beaten up by security forces and imprisoned for months.
In the months that followed, plain-clothed militia and state thugs also raided and looted the office of the late Grand Ayatollah after which it finally was shut down.
The statement issued by the Montazeri family stressed that “even under the last [Pahlavi] regime, the homes of clerics had a certain level of sanctity and they were places of sanctuary for the families of political prisoners; but unfortunately, in the era governed in the name of the Islamic Republic, there is no longer any safe [sanctuary], to the extent that there is no security for holding a ceremony to honour a cleric who was himself, among the founders of this [political] system.”
The statement added that no ceremony would be held to mark the one-year anniversary of the cleric’s death, “in order to prevent a repeat of last year’s incidents and the arrests and beatings” and expressed hope for the release of the many “innocent” political prisoners in the country.
Translation by GVF