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Ayatollah Montazeri, on the other hand, has now passed into legend, and his power has grown many times over.  The regime he first helped create, and then condemned as a satanic failure, now faces a mass movement inspired by his courage, and his relentless honesty.  It is one of history's neat paradoxes that the remaining Green leaders also worked to create the Islamic Republic and then, recognizing its evil, turned against it.

Some of us who have long fought against the terrible regime in Tehran were fortunate to have received wise observations from Montazeri over the years, and I am confident that, with the passage of time and the changes that will take place in Iran, scholars will marvel at the international dimensions of the Grand Ayatollah's understanding and the range of his activities.  The leaders of the regime knew some of this, which is why they so feared him, but I doubt they have even a glimmering of understanding of his true role, even well into his ninth decade.

He did all this while formally under house arrest in Qom.  Now freed from that contemptible captivity, he is free to exert his leadership with even greater energy.  Perhaps even the feckless "diplomats" in our own capital will move beyond the pro forma expressions of sadness to do what he wished:  support freedom for his oppressed people.

UPDATE:  Don't miss the great coverage from Josh Shahryar, who is terrific. Always.  The dead tree crowd was better than usual today, but can't compete with the best bloggers.