Ayatollah Montazeri, a dissident grand ayatollah residing in holy Shia city of Qom, has once again warned that the clergy must not accept posts in the government and not become involved in the day to day affairs of governance if they want to preserve their privileged role as the public’s spiritual guides.
Ahmad Rafat from the Italian AKI news agency conducted a written interview with ayatollah Montazeri in which he asked the grand ayatollah about issues ranging from Iran’s nuclear case and people’s economic problems to the role of clergy in governance and the eight Majlis elections.
Responding to a question about the disagreement of ayatollah Sistani with the participation of clergy in governance, ayatollah Montazeri said, “My own opinion is the same; the clergy must not accept, as much as possible, any posts in the government and become involved in the day to day affairs of governance if they want to preserve their privileged position as the public’s spiritual guides. I gave ayatollah Khomeini my opinion on this matter as well.”
Ayatollah Montazeri responded to a question about Iran’s nuclear case: “In that having access to nuclear technology should not be monopolized by any government and all governments and peoples must have the right to this energy and technology, there is no doubt. The problem is that our government has voiced controversial and uncalculated rhetoric, which have made a lot of governments suspicious of Iran and brought about an international cohesion that has been manifested in sanctions against Iran with worrying consequences for the nation. This is very worrisome and I hope that the relevant officials can manage the situation by controlling their emotions and being more reasonable, and not isolate the country more than this and subject the public to more economic and political pressures.”
Ayatollah Montazeri also commented on the people’s economic woes and the eight Majlis elections: “Radical measures and unnecessary hardships that were imposed on students, journalists and other activities, coupled with the disqualification of a lot of experienced and expert individuals, have no consequence other than increasing the distance between people and the government. At a time when the country is facing international pressure, I don’t know why officials refuse to think twice about the consequences of their actions, and create new problems for the people, in addition to rampant inflation and countless other economic problems.”
The grand ayatollah also had a word to say about the disqualifications of candidates in the eight Majlis elections: “With the disqualification of many experienced and expert individuals, there is no room for true competition and we expect to have a one-voiced Majlis. Such a Majlis cannot represent the majority of the people and will be obedient to the wishes of a minority. As a result, it will not be able to fulfill its main important duties.”