Tensions in Qom as Khamenei pays unexpected visit

The city of Qom (140 km south of Tehran) has been under tight military control since Wednesday morning while the clerical regime's leader, Ali Khamenei, paid an unexpected visit to the city, according to reports from Iran. Large contingents of Revolutionary Guards and Ministry of Intelligence agents have been dispatched to Qom from Tehran.

Khamenei's trip to Qom yesterday morning and his meeting with a group of mullahs and theological students was arranged out of fears that the city may witness antigovernment disturbances and demonstrations during the traditional Shiite mourning ceremonies on Wednesday and today, according to the reports. Khamenei is reported to have threatened dissident clerics and seminary students with severe consequences. Senior Shiite clerics in Qom are said to have given Khamenei a cold shoulder and treated him with contempt.

At the same time, hundreds of Revolutionary Guards and Ministry of Intelligence agents surrounded the home of Hossein-Ali Montazeri, once Khomeini's designated successor. A group of the clerical regime's agents gathered outside Montazeri's home and chanted "death to Montazeri" and "death to whoever opposes the vali-e faqih (supreme leader)."

Despite the beefed-up security and military presence in Qom, reports from the city said that slogan writings and distribution of antigovernment leaflets, especially against Khamenei, continue throughout the city.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 7, 1998

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