Grand Ayatollah Montazeri is one of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's fiercest critics

It is not often you find an email from a Grand Ayatollah in your inbox - especially not when the Ayatollah in question is a pivotal figure in one of the great dramas currently unfolding on the world stage.Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri is one of Shia Islam's most respected theologians - he was a moving spirit behind the revolution which gave birth to an Islamic state in Iran 30 years ago, and at one stage he was designated to succeed Ayatollah Khomeini in the role of Iran's Supreme Leader. The month after this summer's disputed presidential election he issued a fatwa condemning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.

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