By Arash Karami, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
The funeral for Ayatollah Abbas Vaez Tabasi, the former custodian of the shrine of Imam Reza, was held March 5 in the holy city of Mashhad.
It was a significant funeral not only because of who attended — Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, all traveled from the capital, Tehran, to the northeastern city to attend — but it was the end of one of the longest tenures since the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
With the passing of Ayatollah Tabasi there is now a vacancy for being custodian of one of the wealthiest charitable foundations in the country, Astan Quds Razavi; the position will be highly coveted for its religious and material significance.
Tabasi fell ill with respiratory problems Feb. 26, just as Iran was holding parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections. He was a member of the Assembly of Experts but did not run in the elections. Tabasi’s grandson announced his passing on Telegram on March 4. He was 80 years old.
Born in the city of Mashhad to a religious family, Tabasi entered the seminary at the age of 16 and immediately excelled. According to Tabnak news, he studied under a number of learned clerics, and the leading cleric of Iran at the time, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Borujerdi, had recognized Tabasi’s talent.