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The clerics of Iran’s traditional Islamic base in Qom are increasingly becoming politically neutral, and in some cases are even criticizing officials’ behavior. However, the relative silence of most clerics in the holy city over the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman who died whilst detained by Iran’s “morality police” has been criticized too.
Grand Ayatollah Asadollah Bayat Zanjani and Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Javad Alavi Boroujerdi publicly expressed their sorrow over Amini’s death, and also attacked the conduct of some of the security forces. But these two senior clerics stand out in Qom’s often highly discreet seminary, which operates in an environment in which political dissent outside of managed parameters is not tolerated...
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