November 10, 2010
Just one week after the leader of the Islamic republic paid a visit to the holy city of Qom – originally scheduled for tens days and subsequently extended to eleven – news agencies reported that ayatollah Khamenei had returned to the city to meet a number of senior clerics. In the meantime, in an interview with Fars news agency, a member of the teachers association of the Qom Theological Seminary (Jame Modaresin Hoze Elmie Qom) described some aspects of the leader’s previous meeting with the members of the teacher’s association and said the ayatollah had stressed in explaining the reason for his support of Ahmadinejad, which is that that he was not striving to create a parallel administration.
According to Mehr news agency which is affiliated to the Islamic Propagation Organization, Mr. Khamenei’s second trip took place last Friday when he met with three most senior clerics in Qom: ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, ayatollah Noori Hamedani, and ayatollah Jaafar Sobhani, all of whom are marjae taghlid, i.e., “sources of emulation” – the most senior clerical title in the Shiite hierarchy bestowed on clerics who have the authority to independently interpret basic Islamic sources and issue religious edicts known as fatwas.
No news on the meetings between Mr. Khamenei and the senior clerics have been published yet, although the leader met these very clerics during his previous trip to Qom just two weeks ago as well.
During the leader’s last trip some senior clerics such as ayatollah Vahid Khorasani (the father in-law of ayatollah Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary), and others close to regime reformers such as ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili and ayatollah Sanei did not pay a visit to Mr. Khamenei while he was there. However, some 12 clerics who are considered most senior by virtue of having published their own religious thesis did go to visit the leader amongst whom was ayatollah Shobeiri Zanjani who is recognized as the most senior cleric.
According to various online news sites including Emrouz, ayatollah Zanjani asked Khamenei to free Ali Shakurirad, a member of the central council of the Iran Participation Party, a request that has been apparently met with favor.
Ayatollah Zanjani’s request came up after family members of a number of political prisoners had gone to Qom while ayatollah Khamenei was visiting the city and through an open letter to the senior clerics requested that the situation of political prisoners be discussed with the leader of the Islamic regime.
It is said that despite ayatollah Zanjani’s critical views of the current administration, which are rooted in the teachings he received in the Iraqi city of Najaf and also on the views of senior ayatollah Abolghasem Khoi, Zanjani enjoys esteem and respect by Khamenei’s household because he had been the private teacher of the leader’s three sons. In the past, this special position had allowed ayatollah Zanjani to play a key role in ending the blockade of the late ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri’s house. It is also noted that it was he who performed the memorial service for the ayatollah Montazeri upon his death last year.
According to Moj Sabz Azadi news website (the Green Wave of Freedom), in a meeting with ayatollah Safi Golpaygani, ayatollah Zanjani had broken into tears over the killings and the treatment of post 2009 presidential elections in Iran. There are also reports that he had written two strongly worded letters to ayatollah Khamenei protesting the suppressive measures of the security and military forces.
What has not been Said About Ayatollah Khamenei’s Second Trip
While ayatollah Khamenei was on his visit to Qom, a member of the powerful teachers association of the theologians in Qom disclosed through an interview with Fars observations regarding the visit of the leader of the Islamic republic and his meetings with members of the association that have not been published till now. According to him, the remarks by the leader during this visit concerned his criticism of the previous administration and support for the current one.
The leader of the Islamic regime met members of the teachers association on his visit to Qom and while he had initially planned to stay in the city for ten days, his trip was extended for another day to meet with the clerics of this grouping one more time. Political observers at the time had speculated that during the trip ayatollah Khamenei was planning on introducing his son, Mojtaba Khamenei, as a cleric, with the purpose of laying the groundwork for passing on the leadership mantle of the Islamic republic onto his son in the future. The second visit to Qom has been interpreted to be for this purpose as well.
The teachers association is the de facto manager of the Qom Theological Seminary and is the group that has traditionally determined who would be a senior cleric and source of emulation in the Shiite world.
Two days after the death of senior ayatollah Araki, a source of emulation in the Shiite hierarchy, the teachers association of the Qom Theological Seminary announced the names of seven ayatollahs as sources who may be emulated. The list named the following: ayatollah Mohammad Fazel Lankarani, ayatollah Mohammad-Taghi Behjat, ayatollah Hossein Vahid Khorasani, ayatollah Mirza Javad Tabarizi, ayatollah seyed Mousa Shobeiri Zanjani, ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi and ayatollah seyed Ali Khamenei.
The teachers association is thus the first organization that names ayatollah Khamenei as a source of emulation. This is also the first time that a single organization named all the newly attained senior clerics, whereas in the history of Shiism the announcement of senior clerics was not confined to specific single organization.
As explained by cleric Eslamian to Fars news agency, “When the talks turned to the administration, friends raised some issues to which the leader responded with these words: I have supported all administrations but this administration is different from the earlier ones and the principal difference is that it is not striving to create a parallel administration.”
The leader’s reference of parallel administration is to articles that were published during the reform period by Saeed Hajjarian, a member of the Iran Participation Front (Jebhe Mosharekat) titled, “Parallel Administration.” An assassination attempt on Hajjarian’s life in 2000 has paralyzed part of his body. He is among those who were arrested following the post-2009 elections protests and was forced to make “confessions” during his trial.
This member of the teachers association further adds, “The leader has said ‘Today, when the president or another senior government authority goes abroad, I have no concerns whereas before I was concerned about what they wanted to say there.’ He also presented some examples of improper behavior from the past and gave this example: ‘At one time they brought in a piece of paper in connection with relations with a European country and raised some issues which were not respectable and I stood against them and in another similar incident made it clear that if they proceeded with the issue, I would announce my opposition to it.’”
While the contents of this “paper” have not been published yet, it is said that what the leader of the Islamic republic was talking about was related to the nuclear issue. During recent weeks, some pro-administration news media had once attacked the nuclear negotiations team. This comes despite the repeated statements that decisions on this issue are made with coordinations with the leader of the Islamic republic. But the remarks by ayatollah Khamenei indicate that in fact it is he who makes the decisions for the group and even threatens them if they act against his views.
Eslamian also said the following regarding the relations between the leader of the regime and the administration: “At the second meeting between the teachers association and the leader, a friend had raised the issue of hijab and women’s dignity and his remarks suggested that some officials were indifference to the issue of religious hijab. The leader responded by saying, “I do not accept these remarks,” adding, “officials today accept the religious hijab and the differences are simply in the tactics. A young woman who does not have the full hijab but who participates in the special religious prayer sessions or komeil prayers and embraces God, or participates in the revolution anniversary celebrations by holding the Imam’s portrait, cannot be said to be against religion. She simply does not know what is Islamic hijab and so she must be educated.”
He further added that the leader of the Islamic regime has categorically stated that there are differences of opinion today and that he does not accept some of them but if he says anything today, the president would accept and implement it. “It is important to note that contrary to what is being propagated and imagined that Mr. Ahmadinejad does not listen to the leader,” he explained. “Current officials say the rights things, say what the system wants and what the revolution is and there is no place for concern.” According to Eslamian, Khamenei also mentioned the issue of the Iranian school of thought that has been the subject of much controversy in recent months, and said, “ I am against raising this issue of the Iranian school and have even told them so and believe that their goal is not to present a confrontation between the Iranian and the Islamic.”
This member of the cultural-social committee of the Experts Assembly on Leadership concluded his remarks by saying, “The concerns that were raised by some members of the teachers association over the national radio and television were valid and in response the leader said that he did not defend the performance of the national radio and television and that there are issues and that he spent time on this problem. “I advise the officials of the national radio and television station regularly, but this is how things are,” he quoted ayatollah Khamenei saying.
Oct 15, 2019 Comments Off on Iranian Supreme Leader Orders Construction of Advanced Weaponry
Oct 15, 2019 Comments Off on Iran captures journalist accused of spreading anti-government unrest
Oct 14, 2019 Comments Off on Iran’s Prisons Are ‘Hell on Earth’
Oct 11, 2019 Comments Off on Daughter of Detained British-Iranian Is Reunited With Father in U.K.
Oct 10, 2019 Comments Off on Iran war threat: Tehran begins war games after Turkey airstrikes ‘We’re ready’
Oct 04, 2019 Comments Off on Microsoft Says Iran Tried Hack of U.S. Presidential Campaign
Oct 03, 2019 Comments Off on Iran Opens a Second Front Along Israel’s Border
Oct 01, 2019 Comments Off on Has Iran Been Hacking U.S. Drones?
Oct 10, 2019 Comments Off on Iran war threat: Tehran begins war games after Turkey airstrikes ‘We’re ready’Iran war threat: Tehran begins war games after Turkey airstrikes ‘We’re ready’ Iran war threat: Tehran begins war games after Turkey airstrikes ‘We’re ready’ IRAN has launched a series of military exercises...
Oct 04, 2019 Comments Off on Microsoft Says Iran Tried Hack of U.S. Presidential CampaignMicrosoft Says Iran Tried Hack of U.S. Presidential Campaign Microsoft Says Iran Tried Hack of U.S. Presidential Campaign An Iranian-government linked group of computer hackers tried to infiltrate email accounts of a...
Mar 27, 2019 Comments Off on U.S. sanctions firms accused of helping fund Iran’s Revolutionary GuardsU.S. sanctions firms accused of helping fund Iran’s Revolutionary Guards U.S. sanctions firms accused of helping fund Iran’s Revolutionary Guards The United States on Tuesday imposed fresh sanctions on a network of companies and people in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates it...