A group of Iranian seminary students and teachers in Qom, Mashhad, and Tehran on Friday declared that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was unfit to rule, Zeitoons-com reported. This was an unprecedented statement from Iranian clerics, which reflected the calls of demonstrators nationwide in the past two weeks who have been chanting “Death to the Tyrant.” But unlike the women who have been throwing their hijabs into the fire openly and brazenly, the clerics did not reveal their names for fear of retaliation.
Saturday was the first day since the eruption of protests in Iran on September 16––when Mahsa Amini, 22, died after sustaining fatal wounds in the custody of Iran’s morality police––that large numbers of protesters came into the streets during the day, instead of the usual evening and night hours, showing a higher level of defiance and self-confidence, Iran International reported early Sunday morning.
A general strike was declared for Sunday in Kurdish cities in western Iran, and more street demonstrations are expected throughout the day and especially at night.
The regime killed dozens of Sunni Baluchi protesters in Zahedan, southeast Iran, on Friday – the first mass killing in one location since the protests have begun. Protests intensified Friday evening as a result. A social media outlet claimed 42 were killed on Friday and published their names.
The seminarians charged that when Khamenei was selected by the Assembly of Experts in 1989 to succeed Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the April 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, he was not even an ayatollah––never mind the top ayatollah––which is a prerequisite to becoming the supreme leader (Guardian of the flock).
According to the seminarians, none of the influential officials who elected Khamenei were “mujtahids,” and did not even have a seminary education.
A mujtahid is someone who has trained and therefore qualified to undertake ijtihad––an Islamic legal term referring to independent reasoning by an expert in Islamic law, or the thorough exertion of a jurist’s mental faculty in finding a solution to a legal question.
The seminarians declared that “the first person of the government, Mr. Ali Khamenei, is not considered a mujtahid in any way. … The authorities of Taqlid and the scholars of the field never knew him, neither in his youth nor now, as a virtuous and pure person in seminary sciences and they do not know him now.”
The signatories also said that “on the assumption of accepting the authority of the jurist in public affairs, Mr. Khamenei has not had authority from the beginning, and on the assumption of accepting his initial authority, considering the numerous crimes and faults that have been documented against him during his rule, and the arrogance, tyranny, and rebellion that rage in him is evident to everyone. … The orders issued by him and his appointees––including the head of the judiciary and the judges of the courts––are illegitimate and lack authority.”