Jul 05 2009
The most important group of religious leaders inÂ IranÂ called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate on Saturday, an act of defiance against the countryâ€™s supreme leader and the most public sign of a major split in the countryâ€™s clerical establishment.
A statement by the group, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, represents a significant, if so far symbolic, setback for the government and especially the authority of the supreme leader, AyatollahÂ Ali Khamenei, whose word is supposed to be final. The government has tried to paint the opposition and its top presidential candidate,Â Mir Hussein Moussavi, as criminals and traitors, a strategy that now becomes more difficult â€” if not impossible.
This is the insurrection many hinted might come a few weeks ago. This is nation’s top clerics in Qum splitting with Tehran. Without the clerics of Qum there is no religious pretense left for Khamenei or Ahmedinejad. Which means the government could legitimately be seen as a sin against Islam. All bets are off on what happens next in Iran.