of a picture of the late spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran
TEHRAN, Iran — A group of former reformist lawmakers appealed to a powerful clerical body in Iran to investigate Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's qualification to rule in an unprecedented challenge to the country's most powerful man over the postelection crackdown.
The call came as controversy heated up Friday over allegations that protesters detained the crackdown were tortured. Hard-line clerics across the country demanded that a senior reform leader be prosecuted for claiming that some detainees were raped by their jailers.
The former lawmakers' appeal was to the Assembly of Experts, a body of clerics that under Iranian law has the power to name the supreme leader and, in theory, to remove him — though such a move has never been attempted. There was no immediate response from the assembly to the group's letter, sent late Thursday.
But even if the call is ignored and is only symbolic, it was the most direct challenge to Khamenei yet in the turmoil that has embroiled Iran since its disputed June 12 presidential election. The letter breaks a major taboo among Iran's political classes against overtly targeting Khamenei, whose position at the top of the political-clerical hierarchy has long been unquestioned.
The letter, reported in opposition Web sites, came from a group of former lawmakers, most of them from the reform camp. The reports did not say how many signed the letter. Read more here ...