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Son Of Senior Iranian Cleric Arrested After Criticizing Islamic Establishment

Son of prominent ayatollah Sadegh Shirazi, Hossein, arrested by security forces in the city of Qom on March 6. Undated.

Iranian authorities have detained an Iranian cleric who recently accused the Iranian establishment of being repressive and unjust.

The detained cleric, Hossein Shirazi, is the son of the 75-year-old Ayatollah Sadegh Shirazi -- a senior cleric who is said to have followers in Iran and Iraq.

Both have been critical of the Iranian clerical establishment.

A London-based representative of Ayatollah Sadegh Shirazi told the BBC's Persian Service that Hossein Shirazi was detained in the holy Shi’ite city of Qom on March 6 after attending a class on Islamic theology.

During a lecture in February, the 47-year-old Hossein Shirazi reportedly likened the Islamic republic’s principle of Velayat Faghih -- or the rule of a single jurist -- to the regimes of "Pharaohs" in Egypt. He also reportedly accused Iranian leaders of tyranny.

According to some reports, the younger Shirazi was summoned to appear before the Special Clergy Court in February after that lecture.

Hard-liners have accused Ayatollah Sadegh Shirazi, a Shi’ite source of emulation, of promoting "British Shi'a" and receiving funds from Britain and Saudi Arabia.

His followers say he has come under pressure because of his independent stance on issues and for his criticism of the Iranian establishment.

Based on reporting by the BBC and Mehr