01/30/2010, 00.00
IRAN
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Qom crowd shout "Death to Khamenei", in memory of Montazeri

Despite strict controls and checkpoints, a group of people gathered 40 days after the death of the late Ayatollah. Green wave shows no sign of abating, even if repression increases.

Qom (AsiaNews) - A crowd of people in the holy city of Qom in Iran met yesterday evening to commemorate the fortieth day since the death Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. The demonstrators marched through Saheli shouting "Death to the dictator, death to Khamenei, God bless Montazeri," the slogan that for months has also been heard on the streets of Tehran, where the Green Wave pushes ahead with protests against the regime. There were no reports of clashes since this time repressive precautionary measures were taken.  

Fearing that the event could become an occasion for mass protests, security forces in fact tried to limit arrivals in Qom in the days before the commemoration: witnesses tell of strict controls on the roads leading into the city with checkpoints and documents demanded of all the pilgrims.  

But the enforcement was not restricted to the outside the city. The regime increased the presence of its men in Qom beforehand, creating an atmosphere of terror and intimidation. The officials of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security curtained off Montazeri's house to prevent anyone from were also deployed on rooftops.

Montazeri (see photo), who died at 87 years of age, was one of the most critical clerics of the Iranian regime, the former designated successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at the head of the Islamic Republic. After the disputed elections last June, which confirmed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Montazeri aligned himself with the so-called 'green movement' of protest, led by moderate candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi and reformist Mehdi Karrubi. Commemoration ceremonies were held between Thursday and Friday, also in Montazeri's hometown, Najaf-Abad. Here too, under strict security measures.

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