Senior Iranian cleric Mesbah-Yazdi dies

Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, a close ally of Iran’s supreme leader, has died at the age of 86, state media reported on Friday.

Mesbah-Yazdi died due to a gastrointestinal illness, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. He was hospitalized in Tehran at least twice in recent months due to illness.

Mesbah-Yazdi was a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, a clerical body that supervises, appoints and in theory, can sack the supreme leader.

He was also a close ally and staunch supporter of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and held the controversial belief that opposing the supreme leader amounts to “shirk” (polytheism).

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