Friday, October 31, 2014


Persian Letters

Senior Clerics' Websites Blocked In Iran

Ayatollah Yusef Sanei (right) has come under attack by hard-liners over his support for opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi (left).
Ayatollah Yusef Sanei (right) has come under attack by hard-liners over his support for opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi (left).
The websites of three senior Iranian clerics -- Ayatollah Yusef Sanei, Ayatollah Assadollah Bayat Zanjani, and Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheyb -- who have been critical of the Iranian establishment and the postelection crackdown have reportedly been blocked in Iran.

All three have condemned the filtering of their websites inside the country in separate statements and comments. The websites include news related to the clerics, their views and statements, and also their rulings on different religious issues.

Ayatollah Sanei, a reformist cleric in Qom, has come under attack by hard-liners over his support for Iran's Green opposition movement . A statement posted on his website says that the limitations imposed on the flow of information in Iran are a good test for freedom of speech in the country. The statement added that the website will continue its work despite the filtering.

A statement posted on Ayatollah Zanjani's website said that "in the age of information," no one can block people's sources of information and knowledge. "Without any doubt, these moves will have the opposite effect," the statement says.

Ayatollah Dastgheyb has also criticized the filtering of his website, saying that it goes against the claims of Iranian authorities who have said that freedom of expression prevails in Iran.

Dastgheyb, a member of the Assembly of Experts, is quoted as saying that his website has been blocked for a month. "When our friends asked about the reason in letters [to the authorities], they were told that Ayatollah Dastgheyb has spoken about the Assembly of Experts and he has expressed support for people such as [opposition leaders] Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi, so the website should be shut down."

Dastgheyb, who boycotted this year's annual meeting of the Assembly of Experts over what he described as the body's indifference to the will of the people, last week challenged Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by saying that the "vali faqih," or supreme jurist, chosen by the Assembly of Experts has "no right over the people."

Dastgheyb has also come under attack by hard-liners over his views and statements. The publication of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, "Sobh-e Sadegh," warned him last week not to follow the same line as late Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, who was put under house arrest for many years after challenging Khamenei's authority.

Clerics who have criticized the human rights violations that followed last year's presidential election have come under increasing pressure in the Islamic republic.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
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by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
October 06, 2010 18:12
After decades of studying, teaching, researching and publishing, these distinguished Shia theologians have earned the esteemed title of Ayatollah-“Miraculous Sign of God”. Also, by being Marjah- Source for Emulation, they have automatically inherited the right to criticize the regime in Tehran the way the want to. Nothing on this planet is going to stop them from doing so. My bet is, they do not even fear being martyred for the sake of speaking the truth.
Centuries ago only al-Ghazalli Distinguished Professor of fighh, osul, and falsafeh in the madraseh, in the Iranian city of Neishabur, held the title of “Hojatt al Islam”, “Proof of Islam”. He was the only one among millions.
How many Hojatt al Islams and Ayatollahs do we have now in Iran who do not deserve to hold such titles? Thousands bestow such titles honorifically on one another because it flatters them. What does this tell us about spiritual matters in Iran?
Because of the Ayatollahs in your above story, one can discern the beginnings of a Second Islamic Civilization in the holey cities of Quom and Mashhad. Unfortunately for the rest of Iran, one can only notice utter darkness because some mid ranking clerics have stuck their noses in politics. And, how many of them have abandoned their Islamic scholarship to serve the state and become hanging judges?!

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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Seen anything in the Iranian blogosphere that you think Persian Letters should cover? If so, contact Golnaz Esfandiari at esfandiarig@rferl.org