A prominent Iranian opposition member and prisoner of conscience has published a trenchant statement against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s rule to mark the second anniversary of the November 2019 protests. Abolfazl Ghadyani, a senior member of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, declared the killings of thousands of protesters that month had been on Khamenei’s direct orders.
He went on to cite ongoing arbitrary detentions, torture and human rights abuses in Khamenei’s Iran, stating: “Khamenei is involved in the massacre of defenseless people in Iran every day... As long as this system of religious tyranny reigns, and as long as the dictator of Iran, Ali Khamenei, rules this country by bayonet force, the Iranian nation will never see happiness."
Ghadyani was handed his latest, three-year prison sentence in March 2019 for “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the regime” after he joined 14 other well-known activists in co-signing an open letter calling for a referendum on the system of governance in Iran. He was previously arrested after the 2009 Green Movement protests and sentenced to two years in prison and 40 lashes.
In his new statement, Ghadyani also described Iran’s economic crisis as the “imposition of poverty” on the people: a form of “systematic violence”, he said, that had paved the way for malnutrition, social ills like addiction, and state corruption.
He was firm on what needed to be done: “Basically, the nature of this system does not give it the capacity to be reformed. It is inherently inefficient and corruptible. Proof of this claim is in the country’s 42 years of decline, and catastrophic super-crises in the economic, political and cultural spheres. That is [also] why the tyranny and repression are getting harsher every day."
The activist then called Khamenei to relinquish his "evil power" or "sooner or later, the Iranian people will overthrow him or his illegitimate successor with a united, nationwide movement."