News reports from the holy city of Qom indicate that the accounts of ayatollah Behjat, a leading ayatollah with a following, have been frozen and the reasons for this are said to be the ayatollah’s implicit opposition to the views of the leader of the Islamic regime regarding violent self-flogging [traditionally carried out during the commemoration of the Shiite third Imam through which his followers strike their backs with sharp objects, including knives, to blood).
Sobh News news agency directly quoted this and wrote, “Following the opposition of ayatollah Behjat with ayatollah Khamenei over the issue of self-flogging, the banking accounts of the grand ayatollah have been frozen.” Alborz news website too wrote on this that the freezing of the bank accounts was because of the “views he had over self-flogging and his visits with certain relevant officials.”
According to a person close to ayatollah Behjat, after he had launched a discussion over the merits and objections to the issue of self-flogging, security agents contacted the ayatollah. During the meeting, these officials strongly criticized the ayatollah’s approval of self-flogging (while the leader of the Islamic regime had banned it) so that after the ayatollah refrained from rescinding his view, he was threatened with a freeze of his banking accounts.
This student of ayatollah Behjat told a reporter from Sobh in Qom, “This threat has been implemented for a while now but has also been ineffective because prior to it, the ayatollah had instructed that all the funds in his accounts be paid to his students as the payment of their tuition so that the accounts would be all empty.”
The difference of opinion between ayatollah Behjat who is an elder cleric in Qom with ayatollah Khamenei has a history. The height of this difference appeared during a Fitr celebration (which takes place at the end of the fasting month of Ramazan). During recent years when ayatollah Khamenei has attempted to have the last word on when the month of Ramazan ends, he has ended up with differences over this with some higher clerics so that the followers of ayatollah Behjat engaged in the Fitr prayers on a day that was different from what ayatollah Khamenei has announced to be observed nationally.
It should be noted that after the death of ayatollah Khomeini, ayatollah Behjat is among those ayatollah’s that the regime formally announced who could be the source of emulation for the public.