Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri denounces the stolen election

The Grand Ayatollah Hossein 'Ali Montazeri, one of the most highly respected senior religious scholars in Iran, was once close to Khomeini, and was even spoken of as Khomeini's possible successor. But he was marginalized after questioning the authoritarian path taken by the revolution. Since then he has been a steady critic of the Iranian regime, and has periodically been placed under house arrest, but he's too prominent a figure to be imprisoned or silenced.

In short, Montazeri is a political outsider, even a dissident of sorts, but one who commands widespread respect. Therefore, his response to Friday's presidential election and the ongoing unrest has been awaited with considerable interest.

He has now issued a statement condemning the fraudulent election results and the subsequent repression of the opposition, supporting peaceful protests, and warning against violence.

I found a (provisional) English translation of his statement HERE. See below. --Jeff Weintraub

In the name of God [Etc. ?]

People of Iran

These last days, we have witnessed the lively efforts of you brothers and sisters, old and young alike, from any social category, for the 10th presidential elections.

Our youth, hoping to see their rightful will fulfilled, came on the scene and waited patiently. This was the greatest occasion for the government’s officials to bond with their people.

But unfortunately, they used it in the worst way possible. Declaring results that no one in their right mind can believe, and despite all the evidence of crafted results, and to counter people protestations, in front of the eyes of the same nation who carried the weight of a revolution and 8 years of war, in front of the eyes of local and foreign reporters, attacked the children of the people with astonishing violence. And now they are attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and Scientifics.

Now, based on my religious duties, I will remind you :

1- A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress all critical views. I fear that this lead to the lost of people’s faith in Islam.

2- Given the current circumstances, I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy.

3- I invite everyone, specially the youth, to continue reclaiming their dues in calm, and not let those who want to associate this movement with chaos succeed.

4- I ask the police and army personals not to “sell their religion”, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before god. Recognize the protesting youth as your children. Today censor and cutting telecommunication lines can not hide the truth.

I pray for the greatness of the Iranian people.