DUBAI - Senior Iranian clerics have criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will be resurrected alongside Jesus Christ and the hidden imam who Shi'ite Muslims believe will rise up to bring world peace.
Iran declared a day of national mourning on Wednesday after the death of Chavez, who shared the Islamic Republic's loathing for what they both called US imperialism.
Ahmadinejad was among at least two dozen leaders traveling to Venezuela to attend Chavez's funeral on Friday.
In a condolence letter posted on his personal website on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said he was certain that Chavez "will return" along with Jesus Christ and Imam Mahdi, who devout Shi'ite Muslims believe went into hiding in the 10th century and will reappear one day to spread justice in the world.
But Ahmadinejad's comments angered some religious officials in Iran.