Iran's ex-judiciary chief Yazdi dies: state media

Iran's ex-judiciary chief Yazdi dies: state media
2 min read
09 December, 2020
Ultraconservative Mohammad Yazdi served as the president of the Assembly of Experts - a body tasked with appointing the supreme leader - in 2015.
Mohammad Yazdi headed Iran's judicial authority from 1989 until his replacement ten years later [AFP]
Iran's former judiciary chief Mohammad Yazdi, an ultraconservative, died on Wednesday aged 89, the official IRNA state news agency reported.

A student of the Islamic republic's founder Ruhollah Khomeini, Yazdi died due to "illnesses of the digestive system", IRNA said. 

He had been named head of Iran's judicial authority in 1989, a little after the country's current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, took the helm.

Yazdi headed the judiciary for a decade, before he was replaced in the wake of student protests in the summer of 1999.

Reformist media had demanded his departure, criticising a series of trials against individuals close to then president Mohammad Khatami that it decried as politically motivated.

A long-standing member of the Assembly of Experts - a body tasked with appointing the supreme leader - Yazdi served as its president in 2015.

He faced opposition to his stewardship from moderates and reformists aligned with President Hassan Rouhani, and was defeated in his bid for a new term on the 88-member clerical body the following year.

However, the Assembly remained under the control of ultra-conservatives.

In 2018, Yazdi was at the heart of controversy after he penned an open letter attacking one of the country's highest religious authorities, Grand Ayatollah Musa Shobairi Zanjani, then in his nineties, for meeting with Khatami.

Read more: Iran backlash after top cleric meets ban-stricken Khatami

The former president had fallen into disrepute over his support for mass protests that took place in 2009.

An ayatollah belonging to the same clerical association as Yazdi resigned in protest against an attack that he and many other clerics and civilians viewed as totally inappropriate. 

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