The former head of Iran’s judiciary has attained a senior Shi’ite clerical rank, joining a handful of men eligible to become supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, according to Iranian websites.
The Kalame opposition website said Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who ran the justice system from 1999 to 2009, had become a marja-e taqlid (source of emulation), meaning that people may choose him as their personal spiritual guide. (Photo: Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi in Tehran, January 11, 2005/Raheb Homavandi)
“Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi announced himself as a source of emulation on Tuesday. He issued his resaleh (thesis interpreting Islamic law),” the website of opposition presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi said on Thursday.
Despite widespread criticism of the treatment of political dissidents and offenders against Iran’s strict morality code, Shahroudi is seen by some as a moderate conservative who imposed a moratorium on the execution of adulterers by stoning and on public hangings.
He withdrew from politics and moved to the holy city of Qom to resume his theological studies after hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election last year.