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Outspoken Iran Cleric Calls For Struggle Against 'Corrupt Regime'

Mahmoud Amjad, an outspoken cleric and a staunch critic of the Islamic Republic of Iran's supreme leader AIi Khamenei says he is going to rise against Iran's "corrupt" Shiite seminaries and its "infidel clerics who have no conscience."

Amjad who is currently in France and is known for his opposition to the Iranian government's suppressive measures including the execution of opposition figures, wrote in a post on his Instagram page on January 5: "God Willing, I am going to follow the holy prophet and stage a major transparent crusade to restore the people's rights and condemn everything that is evil."

Amjad added in his post: "I shall rise against this corrupt seminary and its turbaned infidels who have no conscience, regardless of what my action would entail."

The admin of his page on Instagram added that the only thing Amjad wants from this "absolutely oppressive ruler" [Khamenei] is to hold "a referendum about a new Constitutional Law that would respect the people's right to live."

Amjad who has a long track record of opposing the Iranian government at the Qom seminary, has intensified his criticism of the regime following the execution of Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian journalist who ran Amad News, a popular opposition Telegram channel.

After Zam's execution in December, Amjad praised him as a "martyr" who was "murdered" by the Islamic Republic regime. He said that Khamenei is responsible for the killing of many individuals since the disputed election of 2009 that reinstalled hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power for a second term.

Amjad's statements brought him under serious attacks by pro-Khamenei seminarians and political figures in Iran, but the Iranian opposition believes these attacks are stage-managed by the government.

The dean of the seminary, Alireza E'rafi characterized Amjad's defense of Zam as "defending convicts that have threatened Iran's national security, and supporting seditionists backed by foreign intelligence agencies."

The official news agency of the Qom Seminary reported that tutors at the seminary have called on Amjad to repent. The agency also reported that clerics at many seminaries all over Iran were planning rallies to protest against Amjad's remarks.

Seminarians mainly live off of funds distributed by religious institutions that receive money from the government budget and are run by clerics appointed by Khamenei.

Meanwhile, the firebrand Friday Prayer Imam of Mashhad, in north-eastern Iran, Ahmad Alamolhoda branded Amjad as "A miserable sheikh and an ignorant simpleton who is stranded as a vagabond in foreign countries."

Alamolhoda made the remarks mindless of the fact that the Islamic Republic's first leader Ruhollah Khomeini also ran his campaign against the monarchy in 1979 from Paris, where Amjad lives now. 

In yet another statement made on his Instagram page on Monday, Amjad wrote: "If Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini the founder of the Islamic Republic had kept his eyes open; he would have noticed like many other high-ranking clerics that there are corrupt brains under some of the clerics' turbans, and then he would have not tried to topple the Shah."

Amjad can make the outspoken comments about Khamenei simply because he is currently living in France. Had he been living in Tehran or Qom or anywhere else in Iran for that matter, he would have certainly been arrested and punished for his remarks.

Almost everyone who has criticized Khamenei during the past three decades has ended up in Jail. At least 14 Iranian opposition figures have been sentenced to several years of imprisonment in 2020 after they released a statement criticizing Khamenei and calling on him to step down.

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