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Is this the Next Iranian Revolution?

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Michael Collins

"What has happened to this religious system that it orders the killing of innocent people during the holy day of Ashura?," moderate cleric Mehdi Karoubi, who came fourth in the election, said in a statement, the Jaras website reported.

"Why is such a holy day not respected by the rulers?" Mehdi Karoubi, Dec. 27 (Image right, WikiCommons)

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The Iranian presidential election of 2009 sparked a major protest with accusations that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Grand Ayatollah Khamenei stole the June presidential election. The voting rights demonstrations quickly turned into a movement against the Conservative regime. Cries of "Death to the dictator!" shocked the regime. Basij irregulars moved in to supplement the police with a viciousness that shocked many in Iran.

In response, Iranian cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri, delivered withering and continuing condemnations of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The widely respected Montazeri had transformed into a strong advocate of human rights, a position that cost him the succession to Iranian leadership after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini.

The most recent violence against Iranians came at a parade for the religious holiday called the Mourning of Muharram on December 27. By coincidence, Grant Ayatollah Montazeri died at the start of the Muslim month of Muharram:

"There is additional significance to the timing of Montazeri's death, which falls at the beginning of the month of Moharram, a period of mourning for Shiites. And the one-week anniversary of his death will be on Ashoura, the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein which is the most significant day of mourning in the Shiite religious calendar. Opposition members had already planned street demonstrations for Ashoura and now, with Montazeri's death, those protests will likely be much larger. "Newsweek, Dec. 21

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Ironically, it was Ayatollah Montazeri who while in Qom, Iran's holy city, accepted the surrender of the commander of the Shah's nearby Manzariyeh army base. Opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi said just recently that the actions against citizens by Grand Ayatollah Khamenei was worse than that of the former Shah of Iran, Reza Phalevi.

The following articles capture some of the controversy of December 27.

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Leading Iran cleeric condemns Ashura deaths

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An opposition leader criticized Iran's hardline rulers on Monday for killing innocent people during a religious festival, a reformist website reported.

World

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Police said five people died in Tehran when pro-reform protesters fought security forces on Sunday, the most violent clashes since a contested June 12 presidential vote sparked political turmoil across Iran.

"What has happened to this religious system that it orders the killing of innocent people during the holy day of Ashura?," moderate cleric Mehdi Karoubi, who came fourth in the election, said in a statement, the Jaras website reported.

"Why is such a holy day not respected by the rulers?"

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