Iran’s supreme leader’s niece urges world to sever ties with Tehran over unrest

DUBAI: Iran’s Supreme Leader’s niece Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a well-known human rights activist, has called on foreign governments to cut all ties with Tehran following its violent crackdown on popular unrest sparked by the death in custody of a young woman.
A video of a statement by Farideh Moradkhani, an engineer whose late father was a prominent opposition figure married to Khamenei’s sister, has been widely shared online after what activist HRANA news agency said was his arrest on 23 November.
“O free people, be with us and tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous and child-killing regime,” Moradkhani said in the video. “This regime is not faithful to any of its religious principles and knows no rule except force and staying in power.”
Khamenei’s office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
HRANA said 450 protesters had been killed in more than two months of nationwide unrest to November 26, including 63 minors. He said 60 members of the security forces had been killed and 18,173 protesters arrested.
The protests, sparked by the death of Iranian Kurdish girl Mahsa Amini after her arrest for “inappropriate dress”, pose one of the biggest challenges to the country’s clerical establishment since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Challenging the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, protesters from all walks of life burned photos of Khamenei and called for the downfall of Iran’s Shia Muslim theocracy.
The video was shared on YouTube on Friday by his brother, France-based Mahmoud Moradkhani, who describes himself as “an opponent of the Islamic Republic” on his Twitter account, and later by prominent Iranian rights activists.
On November 23, Mahmoud Moradkhani reported the arrest of his sister while she was obeying a court order to appear at the Tehran prosecutor’s office. Farideh was arrested earlier this year by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and later released on bail.
HRANA said she was in Evin Security Prison in Tehran. Moradkhani, he added, had previously been sentenced to 15 years in prison on unspecified charges.
His father, Ali Moradkhani Arangeh, was a Shia cleric married to Khamenei’s sister and recently died in Tehran after years of isolation due to his stance against the Islamic Republic, according to his website.
Farideh Moradkhani added in his video: “Now is the time for all free and democratic countries to recall their representatives from Iran as a symbolic gesture and expel the representatives of this brutal regime from their countries.”
On Thursday, the United Nations’ top human rights body decided with a comfortable margin to create a new fact-finding mission to investigate Tehran’s violent security crackdown on anti-government protests.
Criticism of the Islamic Republic by relatives of senior officials is not unprecedented. In 2012, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, the daughter of the late former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was sentenced to prison for “anti-state propaganda”. (

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