Objects of Emulation are senior Ayatollahs in Qom in Iran.
Christopher de Bellaigue writing in the New York Review of Books in the middle of 2002 reports:
At the revolution's outset, most of the half-dozen "Objects of Emulation" who were living in Iran and Iraq either opposed the principle of clerical rule or remained silent about it. Qom's subsequent resistance to attempts to impose on it a uniform reading of political Islam has much to do with the pluralistic tradition of the seminary. Seminarians are free to join the study circles of the "master" they most admire. He can teach pretty much what he wants, provided he does not disseminate contentious views outside the seminary.
... which sounds very reasonable and,as he says, "pluralistic".
Compare and contrast this from last December; Mentally-ill girl who was sold for sex faces death penalty in Iran.
A teenage girl with a mental age of eight is facing the death penalty for prostitution in Iran. The trial comes only four months after the hanging of another mentally ill girl for sex before marriage in a case that has prompted a human rights lawyer to prepare a charge of wrongful execution against the presiding judge.
The girl, known as Leyla M, is in prison while the Supreme Court decides on her "acts contrary to chastity", among the most serious charges under Iranian law. Under the penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be executed.
Possibly a little dissemniation of "contentious views outside the seminary", might be appropriate here.
Axis of Evil?