Hujjat al-Islam al-Sayyid Hadi Khamenei, a mid-ranking Iranian Shi'i religious scholar and brother of the current supreme leader of the republic (Rahbar-e Jumhur) , al-Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei, by Wednesday of last week (June 17) was arguing that a body representative of all sides should review the disputed Iranian presidential election results, and hear candidates' complaints. Hadi is a member of the Association of Combatant Clerics based in the shrine city of Qum (Qom), a large and some say growing body of Reformist religious scholars critical of the existing ruling political system. He met with representatives of candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi on Tuesday, June 16, and said that this impartial body should include representation from all sides, from representatives of his brother to Mousavi and the other three candidates, and members of the parliament and judiciary. Such a mix would prevent any one side from dominating or prejudicing the impartial review. The body's findings would be presented to the general public.
A public advocate for the Reformist camp, Hadi has been physically assaulted and seriously injured by pro-regime elements, such as members of conservative student organizations (nicknamed "Hizbullahi," which may explain unfounded rumors that LEBANON's Hizbullah is in Iran to quash demonstrations, which is also a rumor being spread by ideological right-wingers in the U.S., Canada, and Israel) and Basij militiamen. His first newspaper, Jahan-e Islam, was banned in 1995, and his second newspaper, Hayat-e No, was banned in January 2000.
Hadi , unlike his older brother, is a leading member of the Reformist camp, and worked as an advisor to former two-term president (1997-2005) Hujjat al-Islam al-Sayyid Muhammad Khatami, also a Reformist. In the past, Hadi has said that the powers exercised by the supreme leader were excessive and should be reduced, and he has publicly opposed the power of the Guardian Council (for more on the bodies in the Iranian government, see HERE) to disqualify candidates from running for parliament and the presidency. Hadi himself was barred from running for a seat on the Assembly of Experts, which elects and can remove the supreme leader, in 1998 by the Guardian Council, which said that he lacked the necessary "theological qualifications." This is hypocritical, since 'Ali Khamenei also lacks the scholarly requirements and requisite education to be supreme leader according to the original requirements in the 1979 Constitution. For more on this issue, see the "Comments" section of yesterday's post HERE.
In 2000 at Tehran University, Hadi publicly criticized the Guardian Council's disqualification of hundreds of Reformist politicians, including sitting parliamentarians, from running for election or re-election that year. He said that the move endangered Iranian democracy, distorted the results (since conservative candidates outnumbered Reformists on the ballots), and was an improper use of power.
Given their very different views on politics and social issues, and their often contentious relations in public, one must assume that those Khamenei family get-togethers must be the epitome of "awkward."