Iranian Clerics Face a Backlash Over Good Life

[Telegraph-UK] Kay Biouki and Gethin Chamberlain - A website linked to radical elements of Iran's regime last week attacked the lifestyle of Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson, Hassan. "Driving a $100,000 BMW and relaxing in his uptown villa in north Teheran, is Hassan Khomeini actually following the footsteps of his grandfather in caring much for the poor, with the hot bubbles that come out of his steaming Jacuzzi?" the Nosazi website asked. The criticism reflects a growing resentment of the wealth accumulated by some religious leaders who took power after 1979 and today run profitable businesses as near monopolies: one imports cigarettes, two are involved in the oil trade, and another is reported to benefit from foreign currency fluctuations because he has first-hand information on the rate of exchange. With parliamentary elections on March 14, the clerics' purported excesses have provided political opponents, particularly the radical Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, with an opportunity to seize the moral high ground. Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, has avoided criticism by leading a simple life. Critics suspect that the attacks on other clerics are part of a campaign to eliminate domestic opposition to his rule.

2008-02-29 01:00:00

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