PARIS: Iran has arrested a niece of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, her brother and activists said, months after she took part in a celebration praising the widow of the ousted shah.

Farideh Moradkhani, who has gained prominence as an anti-death penalty activist, was detained by security forces on Thursday, her brother Mahmoud Moradkhani told London-based Iran International TV on Sunday.

“We are very worried, we did not have news... we now know she is in Evin prison” in Tehran and under the control of the ministry of intelligence, he said.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said she was arrested on her way home and security forces then proceeded to search her house and confiscated her belongings.

It said she is now in the notorious section 209 of Evin which is run by the ministry of intelligence.

There were no details over why Moradkhani, the daughter of Khamenei’s sister, had been suddenly arrested.

However social media users pointed to a recent appearance in October 2021 on video conference where Moradkhani lavishly praised Farah Diba, the widow of shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who was ousted by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Moradkhani addressed the former empress, who was known as the shahbanu during her husband’s rule, as “dear queen” and called for her to return to the country to lead a “rebirth” of Iranian culture.

The video conference was held to mark the 83rd birthday of Farah, who is now based in France.

Moradkhani is the daughter of Khamenei’s sister Badri who fell out with her family in the 1980s and fled to Iraq as the peak of the war with Iran’s neighbour, to join her husband, the dissident cleric Ali Tehrani who was born Ali Moradkhani Arangeh.

Khamenei has three brothers while one of his sons Mojtaba, who was placed under sanctions by the United States in 2019, is believed to be one of the most powerful figures in Iran due to his work at the office of the supreme leader.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Updated 21 May, 2022

Band-aid measure

A more pronounced impact would have been possible had the cap on energy prices been removed.
21 May, 2022

Bilawal’s defence

BILAWAL Bhutto-Zardari’s robust defence at the UN headquarters of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Feb 24 trip...
21 May, 2022

Yasin Malik’s conviction

THE conviction of veteran Kashmiri freedom fighter and head of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik by an...
Updated 20 May, 2022

TTP peace talks

ANOTHER attempt to sue for peace with the outlawed TTP is being made, again facilitated by the Afghan Taliban that...
20 May, 2022

Beyond the law

THE senior judiciary should take care not to overreach in its zeal to ‘fix’ issues it ideally need not worry...
20 May, 2022

Political musical chairs

YET another political crisis is brewing in Balochistan, where old rivals Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and Sardar Yar...