By: Mir M.Hosseini
Following reports that he had questioned the suitability of the supreme leader, protesters in many cities expressed their allegiance to Ayatollah Khamenei and shouted slogans against the dissident cleric; Ayatollah Montazeri, the state media reported.
Born in 1922, Ayatalloh Hosseinali Montazeri was one of the leaders of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Once designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini, his protest against mass executions of 1988 and policies that denied freedom and civil rights put him at odds with the regime.
As a teacher at Feyziyeh cleric School, his protest against the White Revolution in June 1963 and his anti-Shah activities, led to his imprisonment in 1974. During the 1979 revolution, he was a supporter of Khomeini's idea of Velayat Faghih theocracy. In November 1987 Ayatollah Montazeri called for the legalization of political parties, and also an open assessment of failures of the Islamic Republic and an end to export of revolution by arms rather than inspiration by example. In 1989, he publicly criticized Ayatollah Khomeini, breaking a taboo that changed his political life. He strongly attacked denial of people's rights, injustice and disregard for the revolution's true values. On March, 26, 1989 Ayatollah Montazeri was forced to resign in silence. Following Ayatollah Khomeini's death in June, a mid ranking cleric was silently promoted as Ayatollah and thus the Assembly of Experts appointed Ayatollah Khamenei as the new Supreme Leader.
After criticizing the authority of the new Supreme Leader, he was put under house arrest in 1997 until 2003. It's not uncommon for revolutions to devour their own children. The son of Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi, one of the most prominent clerics in Iran currently serves his term in Evin Prison. Ayatollah Montazeri still has a large following among the Iranian faithful and more than five years of incarceration could not silence the old cleric in his late eighties.