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Iranian Officials 'Seal Office' Of Deceased Ayatollah Montazeri

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri died in 2009
Grand Ayatollah Montazeri died in 2009
The office of recently deceased Iranian Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri was sealed on June 14 by order of a special clergy court, his son has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Ahmad Montazeri, Ayatollah Montazeri's son, said early on June 14 that his father's office in the holy city of Qom had been surrounded by plainclothes security officers since June 13. Montazeri added that the security officers did not show any authorization for their actions before closing the late ayatollah's office.

"After eight hours of hooliganism, nobody objected [to the men's presence] and no action was taken against their moves and slogans," Montazeri told Radio
Farda. "They broke into [Ayatollah Montazeri's] office at four in the morning, destroying the property as they promised to do [and] the special clergy court started sealing the premises by 7 a.m."

Montazeri said that there had been previous threats that Ayatollah Montazeri's office in Qom would be closed. Montazeri died in December 2009 at the age of 87.

"It is natural that the offices of deceased clerics would eventually be shut down after their affairs had been attended to by their followers," Ahmad Montazeri said. "There was no precedent for such an order being issued for immediate closure. It is only [in the case of] Ayatollah Montazeri, whose name the government desires to be erased from history [as] if he never existed in the history of the revolution."

Mojtaba Vahedi, the former editor of reformist daily "Aftabe Yazd" said the sealing of Montazeri's office shows the "true intentions" of Iran's government.

"It carries a message that they won't spare even a religious figure for the simple reason that they would not submit to the government," Vahedi told Radio Farda.

In a related development, a pro-government crowd surrounded the home in Qom of opposition supporter Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanaei late on June 13.

A source close to Montazeri told Radio Farda that opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi was visiting Sanaei when the house was surrounded. He says that as Karrubi left Sanaei's house in his vehicle, the crowd beat on the sides of the car with sticks and made vulgar comments about Karrubi.

Vahedi said the attacks on the homes of Montazeri and Sanaei show that even Iran's clerical establishment is not safe.

"I believe as clerics if they maintain silence after becoming the targets of attacks they will face further threats in the future," Vahedi said.