Iran Bans Memorials for Dissident Cleric
Montazeri appreciations banned after days of protests
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 24, 2009 11:33 AM CST
Mourners attend the funeral ceremony of Iranian Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the spiritual father of Iran's reform movement, shown in the posters, in the city of Qom on Monday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Iran banned memorials for the country's most senior dissident cleric and reiterated a stern warning to the opposition today, after days of services in honor of the spiritual leader turned into street protests against the government. A commemoration had been planned for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in the town of Kashan. But a large banner was put up in the town proclaiming that the Supreme National Security Council has banned any memorials for Montazeri except in the holy city of Qom and the cleric's hometown of Najafabad.

The death on Sunday of the 87-year-old Montazeri, a sharp critic of Iran's leaders, has given a new push to opposition protests, which have endured despite a heavy security crackdown since disputed presidential elections in June. Yesterday a memorial for Montazeri in the central city of Isfahan turned into anti-government demonstrations, and mourners clashed with riot police. At least 50 were arrested, according to reformist websites.