In the hierarchy of the clerical regime, Azari Qomi stands higher than many of the regime's leaders, including Ali Khamenei. Following Khomeini's death in 1989, Azari Qomi was one of the theoreticians and staunch advocates of the principle of Velayat-e Faqih, supreme rule of the jurist-consult.
In 1995, Azari Qomi strongly opposed Khamenei in his efforts to impose himself as Marja'-e Taqlid (source of emulation). Due to his outright opposition and that of a number of other senior mullahs in Qom, Khamenei failed in appropriating the position of Marja'. At the time, Azari Qomi resigned from the Assembly of Experts and has been under virtual house arrest since.
Feuding among the mullahs even in Qom's Seminary School, the stronghold of the mullahs, prosecution of mayors of the various districts of Tehran on the charge of embezzlement, and the summoning of Gholam Hossein Karbastchi, Tehran's mayor, who helped stuff the ballot boxes in favor of Khatami in the May election sham, reflect intensified hostilities within the clerical regime and the mullahs' extreme weakness. The regime's current state is reminiscent of the disintegration of the shah's regime in the final years of his rule.
Following the presidential election farce which led to a troika leadership for the regime, power struggle has been raging at the top. Last week, during the ceremonies on the anniversary of the occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran, supporters of Khamenei attacked the pro-Khatami demonstration and beat up some of the participants.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
November 10, 1997