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Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, left, talks with Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, in a meeting of top prosecutors from Islamic countries, in Tehran on April 21, 2009

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, left, talks with Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, in a meeting of top prosecutors from Islamic countries, in Tehran on April 21, 2009

JUNE 28, 2009 –  Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (seen here on the right), is one of the most influential political figures in Iran. As the head of the judicial system of Iran, his influence is formidable. He is known in the West for his numerous comments of hate and intolerance, one being the praise he gave to people at an Iranian rally who were chanting “‘death to America” and “death to Israel.”

“The world arrogance and Zionism today are shivering from Muslim vigilance and are on the threshold of annihilation,” he said at the 2006 annual Quds Day celebration.

During his visit this past May to Belarus, the Ayatollah said, “Belarus and Iran should stand against the hegemony of some states together. We should give a new interpretation to such notions as human rights, rights of people, terrorism, fight against terrorism, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, discrimination.”

The Ayatollah’s interpretation of human rights and especially the rights of women, the Bahá’í, Sufi and homosexuals, to name a few, are quite well known. To the Iranians who have recently been arrested for demonstrating against their government, it’s a bone-chilling thought.

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