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IRAN: Video of dissident cleric's funeral ceremony

December 21, 2009 | 10:31 am

Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri died late Saturday at the age of 87 after three decades in the storm's eye of Iranian political life, first as a supporter of the Islamic revolution and later as an outspoken defender of the opposition.

His funeral today quickly became a rallying point for renewed demonstrations by anti-government protesters. Videos posted on YouTube show thousands of people marching through the streets of Montazeri's last place of residence.

Picture 16 Montazeri's funeral comes just days before Ashura, an important commemoration for Shiite Muslims in honor of the 7th century martyr Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. 

Authorities fear opposition protesters, perhaps emboldened by Ashura's message of sacrifice, will hijack the event and turn it against the government.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Videos: Thousands of people descended on Qom, Iran, to honor a popular dissident cleric and chant anti-government slogans. Credit: YouTube

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