Iran's most senior dissident cleric criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his nuclear diplomacy, saying it has harmed Iran, according to comments released Monday.
Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri made his comments at a time when even conservatives have said Ahmadinejad has concentrated too much on fiery, anti-US speeches and not enough on the economy.
"One has to deal with the enemy with wisdom, not provoke it," the cleric said of Iran's nuclear diplomacy. "This (provocation) only creates problems for the country," he told a group of reformists and opponents of Ahmadinejad Friday in Qom, a holy city 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of the capital Teheran.
However, Montazeri, 85, expressed support for Iran's nuclear program, asserting that Iranians have rights beyond access to nuclear power like the rights to justice and well-being.