Iranian opponent cleric and relative of top leader dies

AP , Friday 21 Oct 2022

Ali Tehrani, a critic and brother-in-law of Iran's supreme leader, has died at age 96, local media reported Thursday.

Ali Tehrani
Ali Tehrani.


The semiofficial Tasnim news agency said Tehrani died Wednesday. He was a theologian and critic of the Islamic system that came to power after the 1979 revolution.

In the first presidential election under the new system in 1979, Tehrani revealed evidence that led to the rejection of one of the prominent candidates, Jaleleddin Farsi, who was born in Afghanistan. Farsi was the favorite candidate of most of the clerics then, even though the law requires candidates to have been born in Iran.

In 1979, Tehrani opposed a decision by the founder of Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, for appointing Ali Khamenei as Tehran Friday prayer leader.

Tehrani did not support clerics having a role in government. He opposed the Shah but was also critical of the post-1979 Islamic rulers.

Tehrani supported the nation's first president, Abolhassan Banisadr, who went into exile in 1981 following a fight with hardliners.

The liberal-minded cleric then supported liberal groups and freedom of activities by all groups including secular ones and Marxists.

After months in prison in 1981, Tehrani went into house arrest but fled the country in 1984 into neighboring Iraq, then at war with Iran. He continued his campaign against Iran's ruling system through radio broadcast in Iraq.

Tehrani retuned to Iran in 1995 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but served only nine years. He has been mostly silent since his freedom in 2005.

In the 1950s, he married Badri Khamenei, sister of the current leader of Iran. Iran's state media did not mention his death.

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