A former Islamic revolutionary who turned into an outspoken critic of the regime has said that Iran's ruler Ali Khamenei “is the biggest enemy” of the people.
Abolfazl Ghadiani (Qadiani), openly called for Khamanei to step down in 2018, which led to a three-year jail term in 2019, but he was not forced to serve it.
In a new video the BBC Persian aired this week, Ghadiani says that Khamenei and his minions are the real culprits who commit “corruption on earth” and “fighting God”, a reference to Islamic Sharia crimes punishable by death. The regime has accused many dissidents and protesters of these two crimes, and some have received the death sentence.
The former revolutionary and an ex-comrade in arms of Khamenei said the ruler and his soldiers are the clear example of people committing these crimes because “all their zeal and intention is to create fear and terror in society and not allow this society to free itself from their tyranny.”
He argued that protesters are not ‘mohareb’, or God’s enemies, because they defend themselves against regime agents who use violence against them and kill unarmed people.
Ghadiani (76), who is a founding member of a revolutionary group before 1979 called the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution of Iran Organization (MIRO). He and his comrades helped the clerics consolidate power 43 years ago. But he became a critic of Khamenei when in 2009 the Supreme Leader backed the disputed official results of the presidential election that kept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office, and triggered months of protests.
He was arrested and spent a year in prison for demanding the real results of the vote to be announced.
Ghadiani expressed satisfaction that “people have realized that the source of all the calamities is Ali Khamenei himself.”
The former political prisoner attacked Iran’s 83-year-old ruler, insisting, “I will say again that Khamenei is the biggest enemy of the Iranian people, and I have said this from prison. Presiding over the state that kills people is Khamenei. They want to spread fear and terror…”
Perhaps the most important characteristic of the current protests is the clear and persistent rejection of Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Republic. Never before public hatred toward Khamenei was expressed so ferociously and sometimes in vile and disrespectful language.
This has destroyed the last vestiges of any commanding public image he might have had in the past and any semblance of political or religious legitimacy, except for a minority of military officers, Basij members, clerics and other elements still committed to preserving the political order.
Ghadiani in his message has also pointed to a weakening of Khamenei’s power among loyal forces, who he said are telling the Leader to make compromises but have been told “to shut up.”
Ghadiani who in the past believed in reforming the Islamic Republic, said, “Reforms are not possible.” He argued that the reform movement failed to produce any results in 25 years. “Ebrahim Raisi, an illiterate murderer has become president.”
He went on to say that Islamic Republic’s ruling class “is unique in corruption and exporting corruption among its peers and tyrants around the world. They have turned religion into a tool for repression.”