Ayatollah Saanei Succeeds Montazeri as Spiritual Guide for Iran's Opposition
Payvand Iran News / Shayan Ghajar
07-Jan-2010 (one comment)

Ayatollah Saanei

In a country as spiritual as Iran, it is impossible to separate religious and political issues. Any political movement or faction must substantiate its views and stances with religious rationale based on the rulings of a qualified Shi'a scholar, or risk appearing marginalized.

Thus, upon the December 19 death of the leading reformist ayatollah in Iran, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the Green Movement was left without its spiritual leader and its greatest source of religious legitimacy. Ayatollah Montazeri had been an active leader in the reformist movement, not only politically, but by issuing religious decrees supporting reformist positions.

Now, stepping into the vacuum left by Montazeri's death is another prominent reformist ayatollah who has emerged to provide the Green Movement with spiritual guidance and ideological support: Grand Ayatollah Yousuf Saanei declared on December 20 his desire to continue Ayatollah Montazeri's work and honor his legacy, assuming his mantle as the most prominent clerical reformist. His statement may be found here .

Ayatollahs Montazeri and Saanei

Ayatollah Saanei is known for his dynamic involvement in contemporary issues that serve as sources of contention both politically and theologicall... >>>


Saanei Succeeds Montazeri

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Despite objections from the hardliners who are trying to sideline Saanei, he succeeded Montazeri.

Unlike Montazeri who was sidelined as well as under house arrest due to Khomeini's orders, Khamenei does not have the authority to order such a decree.

"He supports complete legal and social equality for women and condemns both terrorism and nuclear proliferation as un-Islamic (here).  As Saanei's momentum continues to build, and he continues to propagate his ideals of a more tolerant and socially egalitarian Islamic Republic, it will be critical to the current tensions in Iran to see how the hardliners attempt to counteract him. At this point, it seems the hardliners themselves are not entirely sure".