December 22, 2009
Itried to visit Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri once. He was 75 years old and had just been placed under house arrest. It was November 1997. My interpreter and I drove through the streets of the holy city of Qom searching for him. We'd been directed to his neighborhood by a minor dissident cleric we'd found teaching a Koran class. Now we stopped and asked every few blocks whether anyone knew which house was belonged to Montazeri. Qom is a smallish city, the foremost center of Shiite scholarship in the world and the place where the Iranian revolution was born.
September 13, 1990 |
The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's spiritual leader, declared Wednesday that opposition to the American military presence in the Persian Gulf region is a Muslim "holy war," and he labeled U.S. policy "greedy, bullying and shameless." Any Muslim killed in the struggle against U.S. forces will be a martyr, Tehran Radio quoted Khamenei as saying. The surprisingly harsh indictment of the U.S.
August 15, 2010 |
Every day, the pilgrims gather in the alleyway leading to the home of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, hoping to be among the lucky few to get an audience with the austere Shiite spiritual leader. Political figures are whisked to the cleric's simple office, leaving a short time later with vague pronouncements about Iraq's direction. Even U.S. officials seek his help. Foreign Policy magazine recently reported that President Obama had sent a letter asking for Sistani's assistance in ending the months-long impasse over forming Iraq's next government.
August 9, 1987 |
Last week a cantankerous old Iranian Shia, Ruhollah Khomeini, currently resident in north Tehran, tried for the seventh time to challenge the God of Islam on the matter of the hajj pilgrimage. This time God won, but it was a terrible victory. Nevertheless, the outcome will be a good thing for all Muslims, and for Iraq and all other opponents of Iran, including the United States.
February 29, 2004 |
The United States is enmeshed in a friendly yet urgent debate with a Shiite cleric over the future of Iraq, and last week the Bush administration scored an important point. But if a stable Iraq is our goal, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani had better win the argument. He insists on direct elections, as opposed to Washington's caucuses, to determine the next Iraqi government. There are four reasons why Sistani is right. Direct elections are far more democratic than caucuses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 1986 |
A tearful Encino man who was once a multimillionaire architect to the shah of Iran was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison Monday for conspiring to illegally export $4 million in military radios and spare parts from the United States to the Iranian government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. U. S. District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler also ordered the man, Khosrow Shakib, 43, to pay a $10,000 fine and to undergo counseling for severe depression.
November 29, 2012 |
Ayatollahs seem to just appoint themselves and then start enforcing their own brand of orthodoxy. Grover Norquist has been doing that in the Republican Party for years. Norquist has never been elected to anything. Nobody ever said he should be in charge of the GOP's true religion (although he claims President Ronald Reagan urged him to found his lobbying group, Americans for Tax Reform). But he certainly has been the Republicans' key political theologian, making opposition to tax increases the party's central tenet for more than 25 years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2010 |
When Willie Brown says that Sacramento has become too polarized and California should junk party primaries, it's the sign of a movement. Brown is the onetime self-proclaimed "ayatollah of the Assembly" -- the speaker -- and a former San Francisco mayor. The movement is "reform," although the word is grossly overused and one person's reform is another's power play. But voters are in the mood for some genuine reform that helps to unravel partisan gridlock. A private poll taken roughly 10 days ago found that 88% of likely voters believe that California has "seriously gotten off on the wrong track."
March 9, 2011 |
The Iranian opposition's most powerful sympathizer lost his post Tuesday as chief of an important clerical council that oversees the country's supreme leader. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president, was defeated in his bid to continue as head of the Assembly of Experts in what is widely considered a victory for his conservative rivals, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, described as a more traditional conservative cleric, became leader of the clerical body, getting 63 of 86 votes.