A senior Iranian cleric has criticized the Assembly of Experts and top members of the clergy for failing to speak out against government misdeeds.
Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib, the Shiraz representative in the Assembly of Experts, said: “Why have senior members of the clergy and sources of emulation kept their silence in the face of so many violations of the law and religious dictum? All these pious and religious people in the prisons only want what is in the Quran and what has been encapsulated in the constitution. My good sirs and scholars who are dressed in the outfit of the prophet, your silence is an approval of the current situation.”
On his personal website, Sarv-e Sabz, Ayatollah Dastgheib directly condemns the treatment of opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest since last February and completely cut off from the outside world.
Ayatollah Dastgheib adds: “MirHosein Mousavi did what the members of the Assembly of Experts have to do: he warned the establishment of straying from the constitution and Islam; however, he was arrested for it, and none of our elders protested.”
He continued: “Such treatment of figures that have been part of this very system of yours is not correct. These two honourable individuals have assisted you, and now that they want to uphold the constitution and speak out for the legitimate demands of the people, you refer to them as U.S. and Israeli pawns?”
Mousavi and Karroubi, who ran against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 presidential election and then challenged his victory with allegations of fraud, have both been accused of leading a seditious movement to topple the regime. However, the two opposition leaders have denied the charges and insist that their demands for election accountability are justified within the framework of the constitution.
Ayatollah Dastgheib urged the members of the Assembly of Experts to speak out against “the violations committed by government bodies such as the Supreme Leader’s subsidiary groups: the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij militia, the intelligence service and the national broadcasting network Seda va Sima.”
The government critic also condemned the clergy members for maintaining their silence amid numerous reports of torture in Iranian prisons.
Ayatollah Dastgheib has spoken out against the widespread crackdown on election protesters over the past two years, which has made him the target of several attacks. His home and offices have been raided by pro-government forces, and the Qoba Mosque in Shiraz, where he leads prayers, has been sealed twice following similar attacks.
In the past year, at least 42 of the outspoken cleric’s supporters and seminarians have been arrested.