Born in Najafabad, Iran. Obtained his religious education in Isfahan, Burujird, and Qom. A student of Ayatollah Muhammad Husayn Burujirdi (d. 1962) and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (d. 1989). Imprisoned 1963–70; exiled to Najafabad, 1970–73, and then to Tabas (1973), Khalkhal (1974), and Saqqiz (1975); transferred to Evin Prison (1975). Released in 1978. Was acknowledged as Khomeini's successor in 1985 but dismissed from the succession by Khomeini four years later over policy differences. Currently an important voice of opposition to Iran's clerically dominated government.