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There have recently been speculations that Iran’s supreme leader may dismiss hardliner Ahmad Alamolhoda, the influential Friday Prayer leader of the shrine city of Mashhad. Father-in-law of President Ebrahim Raisi, Alamolhoda has made headlines since his appointment in 2005 as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in the hardliner bastion. He has used his pulpit to consistently launch scathing attacks on Reformists for their pursuit of social liberties and their efforts to diplomatically engage with the United States. He has also made clear his disdain for pro-reform authorities in the capital.
Rise to influence
Dubbed the ‘Duke of Mashhad’ by some media outlets in Iran, Alamolhoda vehemently opposes and has in the past acted to banish pop concerts in the city among other measures in open defiance of the central government. In his view, such cultural events are a grave insult to Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha—a Shiite Imam known as Imam Reza in Iran—whose shrine in Mashhad draws millions of pilgrims annually.
During the presidency of moderate Hassan Rouhani (2013-2021), Alamolhoda openly dismissed central government authority, repeatedly ordering the police to stop concerts despite the licensing of such events by...
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