Ayatollah Montazeri Makes a Move

Ahmadinejad is just a pawn – let’s be clear about that. He’s just a pawn in a much larger game of domestic and international power and influence for Iran. For Mir Hossein Mousavi to still be alive suggests a number of things – he knows where the bodies are buried for one, but that there are elements in the theocratic regime who support him. Take Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri:

Khamenei also faced a stark warning from another senior cleric and onetime rival, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. “If Iranians cannot talk about their legitimate rights at peaceful gatherings and are instead suppressed, complexities will build up which could possibly uproot the foundations of the government, no matter how powerful,” Montazeri said. He called for an impartial committee to be set up to resolve the Islamic Republic’s worst crisis since the 1979 revolution.

It’s particularly interesting that Montazeri should be intervening, given his support of women’s rights in the Islamic Republic in the face of the regime’s and current government’s uncompromising denial of women’s rights:

As the crisis continues, it appears that women demonstrators are being singled out and subjected to brutal attacks by heavily-armed Iranian security forces. While there are no authoritative figures for the number of women killed or hurt, anecdotal evidence suggests they have been targeted for especially rough treatment.

The approach mirrors the regime’s uncompromising attitude to women’s rights campaigners, many of whom have been arrested or jailed for promoting gender equality through movements such as the One Million Signature campaign.

The vulnerability of women protesters came to attention after last weekend’s shooting of Neda Soltan, who has become a symbol of the demonstrations since graphic film of her dying moments was beamed around the world after she was shot in Tehran’s Karegar Street. Soltan, 26, appeared to have been deliberately picked out among a crowd of people.

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