Hard-Line Ayatollah Dies in Iran

Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi was a supporter of ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 2, 2021 12:30 PM CST
Hard-Line Ayatollah Dies in Iran
A cleric and a woman pray behind a closed door of Masoume shrine in the city of Qom south of the capital Tehran, Iran.   (AP Photo)

Iranian Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, a prominent hard-liner and supporter of the country's ex-president, died on Friday, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. He was 85. The cleric was known as a backer of former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who questioned the Holocaust and claimed there were no gays or lesbians in Iran, per the AP. Ahmadinejad was succeeded in 2013 by Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate. The report said Yazdi had recently been in hospital for a month due to an unspecified gastrointestinal illness but was then released to continue treatment at home in the Iranian holy city of Qom, which is home to major Shiite seminaries.

A few days ago, he took a turn for the worse and was transferred to a hospital in the capital, Tehran, IRNA said. No further details were provided. He was also a senior member of the country’s Assembly of Experts, an all-clerical body that will someday choose the successor to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known. Most Iranian clerics are buried in Qom.

(More Iran stories.)

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