Abbas Mohammad Montazeri (1944 – 28 June 1981) was an Iranian cleric and military figure. He was one of the founding members and early chiefs of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He was killed in a 1981 bombing in Tehran.
|Died||28 June 1981 (aged 37)|
|Cause of death||Bombing|
|Resting place||Fatima Masumeh Shrine, Qom|
|Parent(s)||Hossein Ali Montazeri (father)|
Mah Sultan Rabbani (mother)
Career and activitiesEdit
Montazeri was a low-ranking and radical cleric. He began opposition activities to the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, after the June 1963 events that led to the exile of Khomeini. His father and he were both arrested by the Shah's security forces in March 1966. In prison Mohammad was tortured and released in 1968. He left Iran for Pakistan. Then he settled in Najaf, Iraq, in 1971 and stayed there until 1975. Next he lived in Afghanistan and in other cities of Iraq.
He headed an armed group that was based in Syria and Lebanon and fought against Israeli forces. The group was founded by Montazeri and Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur with the aim of assisting liberation movements in Muslim countries.
Montazeri was trained in Fatah camps in Lebanon. In addition, he fought with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and other Palestinian and Shiite armed groups in the country. Montazeri was one of the three Iranian key officials along with Mostafa Chamran and Mohtashamipur who strengthened Iran's commitment to Lebanon. He was called Abu Ahmad by Lebanese people. Montazeri also travelled to Europe during this period.
In 1978 he occupied the Mehrabad airport of Tehran with his 200 armed followers and demanded to go to Libya to search for Musa Al Sadr, a Lebanese Shia cleric who disappeared in Libya in August 1978. He visited Ayatollah Khomeini when the latter was in exile in Paris. Before the 1979 Iranian revolution he was one of the people who promoted the idea of founding the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
During the revolutionary process, he was called "Ayatollah Ringo" and "Red Sheikh". In order to export Islamic revolution to other countries he and Mehdi Hashemi founded one of the earliest groups, the Revolutionary Organization of the Masses of the Islamic Republic or Satja, in the spring of 1979. In December 1979, he organized a campaign to support and join the Palestinian militants. fighting in the Lebanese civil war. His activities in the Satja caused conflicts with the government and he was forced to disband it.
Then he and Hashemi joined the Guards. Montazeri headed a faction of the Guards in Tehran that functioned as a strong arm of the Supreme Leader Khomeini. It was called Freedom Movements Unit. In 1981 this faction was transformed into the office of liberation movements (OLM) which was firstly led by him and after his death, by Hashemi. An account with the name liberation movements was opened in the Melli Bank to get financial support from Iranians. The OLM put into practice the Iranian support for the Shi‘a movements in Iraq and the Gulf as well as those in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Afghanistan.
At the founding and institutionalization phase of the Guards Montazeri became a member of the Revolutionary Guards Leadership Council in 1979 which was formed by the Revolutionary Council to oversee the future tasks of the Guard. He publicly declared in 1980 that the IRGC personnel "were awaiting deployment from Damascus."
Montazeri joined and led the Muslim People's Republic Party and became a member of the first Majlis in March 1980. On the other hand, his party was disbanded after its members were either arrested or executed. In addition, Montazeri served at the supreme defense council and was the prayer leader in Tehran until his death.
Montazeri was one of the most radical followers of Ayatollah Khomeini. Before the Iranian revolution he was close ally of Moammar Qaddafi and advocated strong ties with Libya. And, he did not support the approach of the Amal movement and Musa Al Sadr, because it was non-revolutionary. Montazeri was also a fierce critic of the interim government led by Mahdi Bazargan due to the same reason.
Both Montazeri and his father actively encouraged the rebellion of Shia Muslims against the governments in the Muslim countries and also, strongly argued for the export of the Islamic regime to other countries, often called "Islamic Internationale". The latter goal was mostly achieved through the OLM, and it is one of two pillars of ideology guided the revolution along with the propagation of Islam. In addition, he argued that all Muslims could enter Islamic states without passport or visas.
Montazeri also supported for the development of links with Shia Muslims in Lebanon. He tried to make Iran a key player in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Just three days before his death, he argued for the execution of the ousted prime minister Abolhassan Bani Sadr's followers.
At the initial phase of the Iranian revolution the activities of the Montazeri's group, Satja, led to tensions between Montazeri and both the Guards's leadership and the provisional government. His father, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, publicly reprimanded him and stated that Mohammad had poor mental health because he had been tortured by the former Shah's secret police. Eventually, elder Montazeri disassociated himself from his son’s activities.
Mohammad Montazeri was part of the Libya-friendly group in the court of Khomeini and there was a feud between his group and the faction, called "Syrian mafia", led by Sadegh Ghotbzadeh. Ghotbzadeh's faction was called previously the Liberation Movement of Iran (LMI), and Mostafa Chamran was also part of it. In addition, Montazeri had serious disagreements with Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, cofounder of the Islamic Republican Party.
Montazeri was killed in a bombing at the central headquarters of the then ruling party, Islamic Republican Party, in Tehran on 28 June 1981. The Islamic Republic of Iran suspected various organizations and individuals, including SAVAK, the Iraqi regime, the People's Mujahedin of Iran, the United States, royalist army officers, and "internal mercenaries". It also executed 4 Iraqi agents and Mehdi Tafari for the incident. The death toll in the attack was 73, including Behesti, cabinet ministers and the members of the Majlis. A state funeral was held for the victims on 30 June and a week of mourning was proclaimed. Montazeri was buried in the Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom where his father would also be buried on 21 December 2009.
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