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Thousands of Iranians are mourning today the death of the top dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri who passed away overnight.

RFE/RL's Radio Farda has posted a picture of Montazeri taken a few hours after his death with mourning family members.

All shops and businesses are reported to have been shut down in Montazeri’s hometown of Najafabad, where thousands of his followers took to the streets.

An amateur video clip shows mourners chanting Montazeri’s name and saying, ”We congratulate you on your freedom” (Montazeri was under house arrest for a number of years) and “Innocent Montazeri, your path will continue.”

In recent months, Montazeri had become the spiritual father of the opposition Green Movement.

Here is a video of students mourning his death at Tehran’s Elm o Sanat University. Students are chanting, “Today is a day of mourning” and “Montazeri is Alive”

Iran’s former president, Mohammad Khatami, has described Montazeri as one of the pillars of Iran’s 1979 revolution and said that his death is a great loss.

RFE/RL's Radio Farda has received hundreds of messages from Iranians inside the country and outside who have been saddened by the death of Montazeri.

One listener writes:

People from all over Iran are on their way to Qom to say a green farewell to Ayatollah Montazeri.

Another message says:

He was the voice of innocent Iranians. I’m not religious yet I’ve been saddened by the death of Montazeri. May he rest in peace.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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