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Ayatollogy

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 19 October 2009

Edward Stourton asks if a battle over theology could help bring about the end of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The demonstrations have been suppressed and the president is still in power, so has the storm that blew up in Iran after this summer's elections been stilled? Far from it, and now the opposition is coming from where you'd least expect. Some of the country's top theologians and clergymen think that President Ahmadinejad is doing grave damage to the standing of Islam and they want him out.

The programme contains an exclusive email interview with one of Shia Islam's most senior and respected clerics, Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri, who calls on Iran's clerics to work with political activists to bring about reform and 'be in step with the people'. Other interviewees include Professor Ali Ansari from the Institute for Iranian Studies, journalists Amir Taheri, Baqer Moin and Nazenin Moshiri, theologian Mehdi Khalaji and human rights campaigner Roya Kashefi.

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  • Ahmadinejad's theological foes

    Ahmadinejad's theological foes

    Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri is one of Shiate Islam's most respected theologians. At one stage designated to succeed Ayatollah Khomeini in the role of Iran's Supreme Leader, he is now one of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's fiercest critics.

    He rarely grants interviews, but responded to a series of questions posed by Analysis via email.

    Read more about Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's criticisms on the BBC news website

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