Yousef Saanei

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Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei (born October 1937 – 12 September 2020) was the first head of the Guardian Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran for 1980–1988. He is currently teaching Qom seminarians and is considered a leading reformist cleric.



  • It is my interpretation from the Koran that all people have equal rights. That means men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims too, and in a society where all people have equal rights, that means all people should make decisions equally. … This doesn't mean that we're changing God's law, It just means we're reinterpreting laws according to the development of science — and the realities of the times.
    • As quoted from interviews in Tehran (June 2000), published in Sacred Rage (2001) by Robin Wright, p. 280.


  • There is complete consensus on this issue. It is self-evident in Islam that it is prohibited to have nuclear bombs. It is eternal law, because the basic function of these weapons is to kill innocent people. This cannot be reversed … You cannot deliberately kill innocent people.


  • Undue enmity with enemies does not serve the interests of the system. Enemies must be dealt with wisely and prudently.

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