Iran's number two religious leader Ayatollah Kazem Shariat Madari called for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem in a press conference on Saturday 91 September).
Iran's number two religious leader Ayatollah Kazem Shariat Madari called for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem in a press conference on Saturday 91 September). The Ayatollah's call for peace came just hours after the country's unofficial Head of State, Ayatollah Khomeini had threatened to take personal charge of the war and harden his stand against the Kurds.
This is not the first time the two Ayatollahs have been near to a head-on collision. Shariat Madari's liberal sentiments have not earned him much praise from Khomeini's supporters in Qom. Although he is one of the most important Shi-??? religious leaders, he is not on the secret Revolutionary Council. The Council that effectively rules iran, and he had not been consulted by Khomeini for some time.
But the Shariat Madari does have strong popular support and is seen by many as the only person capable of persuading Khomeini that democracy is compatible with Islam. The two Ayatollahs have attained the highest levels of Islamic learning and some twelve million Iranians chose the Shariat Madari as their spiritual guide. So although Khomeini may be politically in charge, according to religious law he cannot ignore the formidable influence of the Shariat Madari. Now the seventy-six year old with implicit criticism of Khomeini's policies.
Earlier this month the Ayatollah showed his displeasure with Khomeini by boycotting the elections for the constitutional Council on the grounds that the mosque was acting undemocratically. Shariat Madari has always maintained spiritual leaders should not interfere in government and has himself been careful to keep a moderate distance from political life.