Leading Iranian cleric voices support of people’s right to protest against rulers

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A leading Iranian cleric has come out in support of the people’s right to protest against the country’s rulers, in a report published Friday, after demonstrations erupted over Mahsa Amini’s death.

Iran has been rocked by protests since 22-year-old Amini’s death on September 16, three days after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

“The people have the right to criticize the leader of Muslim society, whether the criticism is justified or not,” Javad Alavi-Boroujerdi said, quoted by Shafaqna news agency.

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“The people have something to say and they don’t agree with what you are doing,” Alavi-Boroujerdi told the authorities. The 68-year-old cleric is the grandson of late Hossein Boroujerdi, the leading Shia cleric in the 20th century.

The street violence that broke out across Iran after Amini’s death has led to dozens of deaths, mostly among protesters but also among the security forces, and hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested.

“The press should be free, different thoughts should be expressed on state television,” Alavi-Boroujerdi said.

During the unrest since last month, “some people have been arrested and are in jail... treat them with mercy,” he added.

On September 26, Hossein Nouri Hamedani, a prominent conservative cleric and strong supporter of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, had called on the authorities to “listen to the demands of the people.”

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