BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 18:27 GMT
Iran's Montazeri 'out of danger'
Ayatollah Montazeri under house arrest in Qom
Montazeri favours reform of the clerical establishment
Iran's leading dissident cleric Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri is reported to be out of danger after being admitted to hospital on Tuesday following a suspected heart attack.

Ayatollah Khomeini
Khomeini designated Montazeri to succeed him
His son, Ahmad Montazeri, said that although his father remained in intensive care he was not considered to be in a critical condition.

He added that his father, who was freed from house arrest last week amid concern over his deteriorating health, would probably be discharged from his hospital in Qom on Thursday.

"We are not worried... the doctors said he was just tired from all those meetings and speeches," he told Reuters news agency.

Authorities' concern

The Iranian authorities were thought to have been worried that Ayatollah Montazeri, who is in his 80s, could have become a focus for opposition groups within Iran if he died while under house arrest.

The ayatollah, who is a key reform figure, was once designated as successor to the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini.

The late Iranian leader referred to him as the "fruit of my life".

But he was dropped after he opposed the clerics' monopoly of power.

'Dictatorship'

On his release from five years under house arrest in the holy city of Qom he described the Iranian regime as a "dictatorship".

"The only difference [from the past] is that some clerics have replaced the Shah."

Ayatollah Montazeri is one of just a few grand ayatollahs, who are the most senior theologians of the Shiite branch of Islam.

The head of the Association for Defending Press Freedoms, Mohsen Kadivar, described him as the "spiritual father of Iranians who believe in the rule of law and democracy".

But some opposition members say the ayatollah is out of touch with current Iranian demands for more social freedom, more contact with the West and an end to poverty.

"Whether he is under house arrest or free, there is not much he can do to undermine conservatives," a student reform leader Majid Jafari told the Associated Press news agency.

See also:

30 Jan 03 | Middle East
30 Jan 03 | Middle East
21 Jan 03 | Middle East
12 Jan 03 | Middle East
01 Jun 02 | Middle East
28 Dec 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes