How Relevant Is Montazeri?

by Chris Bodenner

Juan Cole tamps down the excitement over Ayatollah Montazeri's recent fatwas against the Khamenei regime:

It is being alleged that Montazeri is saying that the Iranian regime is illegitimate, which he is not. He is implying that if Ahmadinejad stole the election by foul means, then his presidency is illegitimate. That is just a self-evident conclusion.

Also, it is being alleged that Montazeri is foremost among the grand ayatollahs, which he is not. On the Iranian scene he has been effectively marginalized by the regime. It is well known that he is on the outs with Khamenei, who put him under house arrest for five years in response to his questioning of the Khomeinist doctrine that the clerics must rule. His fatwa is therefore to be expected and will not cause any surprise or make any special waves in Iran.