Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has cast aside earlier reservations about bringing his son to the forefront of Iranian politics and is grooming him to become his designated successor, Iranian opposition sources and Western diplomats say.

Khomeini's apparent move came after the octogenarian cleric sacked his former designated successor, 65-year-old moderate Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri, for questioning the achievements of the 10-year-old Islamic revolution and complaining that Iran was gaining a reputation as a murderous nation.Sunday, the Tehran daily Kayhan, which usually reflects official views, made an unprecedented attack on Montazeri, who official media still say voluntarily resigned his post.