PARIS: The sister of Iran’s supreme leader has slammed his “despotic” rule and thrown her support behind protests ignited by Mahsa Amini’s death, in a letter published on Wednesday by her son.
“I oppose my brother’s actions,” Ayatollah Khamenei’s sister Badri Hosseini Khamenei, who is believed to be in Iran, said in a letter published online by her France-based son Mahmoud Moradkhani.
“I express my sympathy with all mothers mourning the crimes of the Islamic republic regime,” from the time of its founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini “to the current era of the despotic caliphate of Ali Khamenei”, she wrote.
“My concern has always been and will always be the people, especially the women of Iran,” she added.
Ex-president Khatami also voices support for protests
She accused the regime of bringing “nothing but suffering and oppression to Iran and Iranians” since it was established following the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the shah.
“The people of Iran deserve freedom and prosperity, and their uprising is legitimate and necessary to achieve their rights.
“I hope to see the victory of the people and the overthrow of this tyranny ruling Iran soon,” she said.
Badri Hosseini Khamenei called on the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to “lay down their weapons as soon as possible and join the people before it is too late”.
She lamented that “due to physical ailments” she was unable to take part in the protests.
“My brother does not listen to the voice of the people of Iran and wrongly considers the voice of his mercenaries and money-grabbers to be the voice of the Iranian people.
“He rightly deserves the disrespectful and impudent words he uses to describe the oppressed but brave people of Iran,” she wrote.
Khatami backs protest
Meanwhile, Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has voiced support for the protest movement sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, describing as “beautiful” its main slogan — “Woman, life, freedom”.
Khatami, a reformist who served as Iran’s president from 1997 to 2005 has come out in support of the movement.
The 79-year-old described the slogan “Woman, life, freedom” — the main chant heard at the protests — as “a beautiful message that shows movement towards a better future”.
“Freedom and security must not be placed against each other,” he said in a statement quoted by ISNA news agency on Tuesday, on the eve of Students’ Day.
“Freedom must not be trampled on in order to maintain security” and “security should not be ignored in the name of freedom”, he said.
Khatami also spoke out against the arrest of students who have been at the forefront of the protests that erupted in Iran since Amini’s death in custody on September 16.
The imposition of restrictions “cannot ultimately ensure the stable security of universities and society”, he said.
In his statement, Khatami also called on officials to “extend students a helping hand” and to recognise the “wrong aspects of governance” with their help before it is too late.
Khatami was barred from appearing in the media after mass protests triggered by the disputed 2009 re-election of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2022
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