Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, has died aged 87.
Hossein Ali Montazeri was a moving spirit in the 1979 revolution which created Iran's Islamic state, and was at one stage set to become its leader. His fierce criticism of the slaughter by Khomeini in his prisons - ended in his being "banned" and theoretically "demoted".
Announcing his death, the Mullah regime refused to even give him an Ayatollah title let alone his true Grand Ayatollah one, mentioning him only by his name.
One of Shia Islam's most respected figures, he was also a leading critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and consequently the lunatic, Hojatieh sect 12th Imam leader, Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi (nicknamed "crocodile").
A huge outpouring of sympathy by the opposition, many of whom may well believe he was murdered (despite his age and many illnesses) despite his son announcing his father died of natural causes in his sleep - with various illnesses as the root cause. Diabetes, lung problems and asthma.
Iran's rulers will now fear the opposition may attempt a big turnout for his funeral on Monday and other ceremonies marking his death, especially in the run-up to the Shia Muslim festival of Tassua & Ashura on 27/28 December.
Large crowds have gathered outside Montazeri's home in the "holy" city of Qom, following his death on Saturday evening. And opposition leaders and street rebels/dissenters have planned huge demonstrations during the 40 days mourning period in Shia Islam after which the soul departs earthly confines and finally passes to the other side and gives families and friends closure.
He will be laid to rest at the shrine of Hazrate Masoumeh, one of the most revered female saints in Shia Islam.
Thousands of people from Isfahan, Najafabad (his birth place) , Shiraz and other cities are on their way to Qom to attend Monday's ceremony, according to one report.
The Supreme Ruler, low level cleric, false ayatollah Ali Khamenei, usurper of this position from Montazeri has government media emphasize Montazeri's falling our with regime founder Ayatollah Khomeini but this trump card no longer works.
After a dual photo poster of Khamenei and Khomeini was publicly burned in the street by protesters, Khamenei tried to fan the flames of this disrespect of the founder Rouhallah Khomeini into an anti-protester uprising by the populace.
The trigger here was for regime agents, pretending to be dissenters, to publicly tear up posters of Khomeini while one of them used a high-tech video camera t record this.
Unfortunately the young population of Iran, most of whom aged under 30-years, barely remember Khomeini and consider him a historic fuddy-duddy who caused their current challenges and social pain and discomforts, want no part of this inflammation and show interest only in the present and future, not the past.
A demonstration organized to protest the flaunted disrespect of Khomeini barely gathered at MOST 50,000 as opposed to hundreds of thousands in the past.
Exhortations to the bazaar to close for this reason met with a total disregard and it stayed open. Similar exhortations for the bazaar to stay open and not mourn for Montazeri was equally ignored.
Calls for Friday prayers to show huge numbers in support of Khomeini in opposition to the Green movement dissidents barely met normal attendance in Tehran and numbers were far below normal in cities like Isfahan, Tabriz and many other major centers.
AntiMullah has been asked to promote a reaction by the followers of dissenting youth protests by having them obtain photos of Khomeini, cut them up and scatter them surreptitiously in Tehran and other city streets of Iran from under the "chadors" (tent-like Islamic female robes) or down trouser legs to evidence their protest against the Mullah regime. Walking over his face, even in pieces, being an ultimate disrespect.
Similarly for ex-patriates to obtain photos of Khomeini in other countries, cut them up and send them to Islamic diplomatic missions or Special Interest Representatives to designate their anti-regime sentiments. And/or news outlets.
Born into a provincial family in 1922 he was arrested for leading protests against Iran's monarchy but though designated Khomeini's successor, he fell out with him in 1980's over the mass murders (including 30,000 of the Mojaheddin - MEK) in Khomeini's prisons ON KHOMEINI'S DIRECT mass murder ORDERS) and culminating in 1989 just before Khomeini's death.
He was placed under house arrest in 1997 for six years for correctly and validly criticising current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for lack of clerical qualifications and misuse of power. Khamenei was a lowly Hojat-ol-Eslam when Khomeini died and SUPPOSEDLY decreed him to be the new successor in a fatwa which was issued by a comatose or already dead Khomeini, with only his co-conspirator son Ahmad and Khomeini's seal as witness.
A witness the usurper Ali Khamenei immediately had strangled to death in the same hospital to hide the falsification of the decree.
A constant, increasingly outspoken critic, in 2009 Montazeri issued a fatwa condemning President Ahmadinejad's government after June's disputed election.
After his detention, state-run media began referring to him as a "simple-minded" cleric, references to him in schoolbooks were erased and streets named after him were renamed, but he remained defiant.
Prior to the overthrow of the Iranian monarchy, he organised public protests in support of Khomeini, following the latter's arrest back in 1964, when Khomeini sided with rich landowners and tried to oppose the Shah's White Revolution through which he bought the land from them and deeded it to the peasiants who worked on it.
Landowners turned to weird cleric Khomeini to issue a fatwa that the Shah had no right to disposses the fat cat landowners, some of whom held properties the size of Switzerland and never visited parts of their lands, sending their supervisors to collect their share of the crops - like in fedual England - except this was in the 1960's not 1160's.
The landowners claimed they had been cheated and the price paid for their lands was too low. In fact the Shah had let THEM set the price of their land by paying them the value they had repeatedly declared as its value in their tax returns for many years!
Montazeri often said his opinions were guided by his "sense of religious duty" and his support of Moussavi and Karoubi an effort to restore the faith of the people in Islam and he accused the regime of encouraging people to hate religion by "misusing Islam".
"From the beginning of the revolution, we have been chanting slogans of independence, liberty, Islamic republic, (esteghlaal. aazaadi, jomhouri eslami* )" he said. "The complaint I have is why the slogans we have been chanting since then and are still chanting haven't been fulfilled."
* the 1978/79 anti-Shah slogan
Meanwhile people from all over the country are heading for Qom to participate in the Monday funeral and the seventh and fortieth day ceremonies.
The 7th day coincides with Shia Tassua/Ashura day where a brave fight for freedom took place by a highly outnumbered Islamic force under Ali's sons Hassan and Hossein, who died with all their men.
These days were also the high water of Khomeini's anti-Shah protests.
With the regime sending up helicopters over major cities to perhaps machine gun down protesters, the rising chant has become "The Green Ayatollah continues on" (meaning the movement does not die with him).
On the contrary his death seems to have enflamed the anti-regime movement he also began to shoulder on their behalf but will almost certainly result in the arrest of secular Moussavi, ayatollah Karoubi and ayatollah Rafsanjani (lower case titles).
The regime has already declared Rafsanjani (fairly accurately) to no longer merits the title of Ayatollah, meaning they can arrests and EXECUTE him. Ayatollahs cannot be executed.
Ayatollah Boroujerdi, son of a Grand Ayatollah of the same name, who has been imprisoned in an Iranian Kordestan prison for a recent sedition similar to what Montazeri has been preaching and not executed as anyone else would have been, is also another dissident senior cleric.
Senior (real) Ayatollahs in Shiraz, Isfahan and Mashhad (Khamenei's home town) and Tabriz have also openly questioned Ali Khanenei's clerical legitimacy to be Supreme Ruler and criticized his mass killing of protesters in the streets.
The eventual arrests, likely in the next few days, of Moussavi, Karoubi, Rafsanjani and possibly Khatami - as dissidents and leaders of the Green movement will set the country on fire - as promised by the student movements.
Meanwhile a group of clerics calling themselves "the fighting clerics" has also geared up to oppose the regime.
With several regular army units declaring themselves for the students and the suppresssion forces of the Revolutionary Guards and even non-Arab mercenary members of the Bassiji Suppression Forces weakening in their resolve in the streets, this cold be the beginning of the end of Ali Khamenei and Ahmadi-Nejad.
Who or what will replace them is still unclear. Probably Moussavi (unless he is immediately murdered in prison after his arrest as expected) as a caretaker "head of country" without any formal title, probably with a ruling junta of clerics and non-clerical persons, till a new election and new Constitution can be formulated.
Pollitical groups like the Tudeh Communist Party and the Mojaheddin MEK) will make any transition difficult and fraught with conflict and bloodshed.
Ahmadi-Nejad has already granted Russian permission to use Southern Iran ports for their war ships and by removing the requirement of Azarbaijanis to obtain visas to visit Iran has opened the northern end of Iran to Russian infiltration or even invisible invasion.
And the final piece of the detestable pie is China, which will certainly try to send in troops to protect the stability of the region. And their $300 Billion oil and gas contrcts with Islamic Iran. Their problem is the long distances involved - specially as a long planned railroad to the Far East/China has long been delayed for this very reason.
Iran is far more dangerous than Nukes - world war is in the offing with these conflucting currents. The USA under Oba-Hussein-Khomeini prefers to turn a blind eye to any of it. Hoping that supporting the current regime will work for his global, Communistic world order. Marxist-Islamic would suit him fine, too.