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Iran to use plane for moon sighting

September 23, 2006

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TEHRAN, Sept 22: Iran will employ an aeroplane to spot the moon for the start of Ramazan to ensure there is no dispute, Iranian media reported on Friday.

After a fatwa from supreme leader Ali Khamenei two years ago allowed the use of technical assistance to spot the moon, an official in his office said the authorities would this year be going even further to call it right.

“Since seeing the crescent with an ‘armed eye’ was allowed by the supreme leader, this year, as the year before, we are going to use the best equipment and means available for our experts to spot the moon.

“And for the first time this year we are going to use the aeroplane,” said Ahmad Marvi, an official responsible for communicating between the supreme leader’s office and religious seminaries.

Two years ago Ayatollah Khamenei had ruled that ‘looking at the moon with technical aids is valid’, prompting moon-watchers to reach for telescopes to spot the crescent of the new moon more effectively.

Last year, some clerics in Qom announced the end of Ramazan a day before the office of the supreme leader, sparking confusion.

Iranian religious officials expect Ramazan to start on Sunday or Monday — depending on when the new moon is spotted by the airborne observatory.—AFP