Skip to comments.Ayatollah who backs suicide bombs aims to be Iran's next spiritual leader
Posted on 11/19/2006 4:01:44 AM PST by MadIvan
An ultra-conservative Iranian cleric who opposes all dialogue with the West is a frontrunner to become the country's next supreme spiritual leader.
In a move that would push Iran even further into the diplomatic wilderness, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, 71, who publicly backs the use of suicide bombers against Israel, is campaigning to succeed Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameini, 67, as the head of the Islamic state.
Considered an extremist even by fellow mullahs, he was a fringe figure in Iran's theocracy until last year's election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a fellow fundamentalist who views him as his ideological mentor. He is known to many Iranians as "Professor Crocodile" because of a notorious cartoon that depicted him weeping false tears over the jailing of a reformist journalist.
Mr Mesbah-Yazdi and his supporters will attempt to tighten the fundamentalists' political stranglehold next month, by standing in elections for the Assembly of Experts, an 86-strong group of theologians that would be responsible for nominating a replacement for Ayatollah Khamenei, whose health is rumoured to be ailing.
Opposing them will be a coalition of moderate conservatives led by Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president, and members of the increasingly marginalised reformist movement, who have formed an alliance to prevent what both groups fear is a drift towards political extremism. advertisement
Appointing Mr Mesbah-Yazdi as supreme leader would be a massive blow to Western efforts to get Iran to cease its nuclear programme and backing of militants in Lebanon, Iraq and among the Palestinians. Although he has never spoken publicly on the issue, Mr Mesbah-Yazdi is thought to support the idea of an Iranian nuclear bomb.
Ali Ansari, an Iran specialist at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said: "Mesbah-Yazdi is on the hard Right and very authoritarian. He doesn't even believe in democracy. Having him in power would lead to a much more hard-line puritanical rule in Iran. It would not be good news for the West."
The assembly of experts is elected every eight years and has the power to appoint, supervise and impeach the supreme leader, who, in practice, wields ultimate power. Although Ayatollah Khameini, who has been in office since 1989, is expected to remain for the time being, the assembly elected next month is almost certain eventually to decide his successor.
The run-up to the vote has been marred by complaints of rigging in favour of hardliners. The guardian council, a hardline conservative body that vets candidates, is accused of vetoing reform-minded clerics from taking part. Around half of nearly 500 applicants have been banned from standing.
In a letter to the council last week, Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist cleric, accused the council of "injustice" and misjudgement, saying that it would lead to "people's distrust in the authorities and the clergy". The reformists' despair has been deepened by fears that few of their disillusioned supporters will vote, despite the possible consequences of a hardline victory. Constant political interference in the electoral process has persuaded many Iranians that it is not worth voting, an attitude that many reformists concede helped Mr Ahmadinejad's victory at the polls last year.
"Many reformists have lost faith, although the hardliners will hope to organise a mass turn-out among their own supporters," Mr Ansari said.
Mr Mesbah-Yazdi, who will be standing for election to the assembly of experts, regularly meets Mr Ahmadinejad, whose presidential bid he endorsed in a fatwa, or holy order.
The cartoonist whose drawing earned "Professor Crocodile" his nickname suffered the same fate as the journalists whose frequent imprisonment was depicted. He, too, was sent to jail.
he should show his spiritual commitment by letting his actions follow his words - strap one on tough guy!
"Mesbah-Yazdi is on the hard Right and very authoritarian..."
The writer of the article evidently has a bias.
Ayatollah Who Backs Suicide Bombs Aims To Be Iran's Spiritual Leader
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 11-19-2006 | Colin Freeman - Kay Biouki
Posted on 11/18/2006 9:46:45 PM CST by blam
Ayatollah who backs suicide bombs aims to be Iran's next spiritual leader
nag nag nag nag :-)
the religion of peace!!!!
The five pillars of Islam..... murder, bestiality, terrorism, cowardice and abuse of women and children.
Know islam, no peace; No islam, know peace
If the Arabs put down their guns, there would be no more violence.
If the Israelis put down their guns, there would be no more Israel.
The Pope's quoted words wer never more true......
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus
Too bad he's too cowardly to lead by example and strap a bomb on his own back and blow himself up. :)
I thought all the Ayatollahs in Iran backed suicide bombings. Certainly Khameni does since they opened suicide-bomber training centers a few years back.
Maybe we can get John Kerry to write him a mash note.
Its s one thing to impose a fantasy view of the outside world on an agricultural society ravaged by war and prior to the advent of mass communication in a place like North Korea, its quite another to try and impose a hyper-puritan regime based on inefficient economic system on a largely urban country which has already been widely exposure to the allures of Western consumer culture especially since its already gone through an extended period of idealistic radicalism.
China after the demise of the Gang of Four and their movement post Cultural Revolution might serve in some respects as an model you end up with a autocratic, formally Islamic society attempting to retain the trapping of legitimacy while adopting Western Economic goals and methods.
Not a good development. Now that we have the appeasers in congress I expect they will try to make kissy-face with the head choppers.
The mere idea that a person who backs the use of suicide bombs can be a "spiritual" leader of anything, shows just how nuts the world has become.
Christian news and commentary at: sacredscoop.com ...
Just kill him.