A former ally and now vocal opponent of the Supreme Leader says Ali Khamenei’s insistence on hijab enforcement is a bid to keep him popular among the hardliners.
Abolfazl Qadyani (Ghadyani), a staunch revolutionary in the 1970’s and 80’s and become a critic of Khamenei after the Green Movement, said in an article on Monday that the relentless hijab crackdown is “political haram”, branding the regime as “illegitimate rule”.
He coined the term “politically haram” from a speech given by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on April 4 when he said “discarding hijab is haram (sin) based on Sharia and also politically”, emboldening officials to embark on stricter measures.
Green Movement, also referred to as the Persian Awakening or Persian Spring by the western media, refers to a political movement that arose after the June 2009 presidential election and lasted until early 2010 in which people were protesting against the results of the rigged election that kept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office.
It was the biggest revolt against the regime until the current wave of uprising ignited by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Ahmadinejad’s main rival Mir-Hossein Mousavi has been under house arrest since 2011.
“His insistence on imposing hijab has only one reason: seeking legitimacy in the body of the religious-traditional part of Iranian society,” Ghadiani said.
The former revolutionary and an ex-comrade in arms of Khamenei said that the Supreme Leader "knows well that the achievement of his 30-year-old rule was nothing but the spread of poverty, injustice, corruption, and economic, political, and judicial banditry."
Ghadiani, who was a political prisoner both during the monarchy and the Islamic Republic, claims that Khamenei seeks to project this idea among a small fraction of the religious community, who still trusts the Islamic Republic is redeemable.
Abolfazl Qadyani (Ghadyani)
"Women whose hijab is not their personal choice will not give in to such an illegitimate and unreasonable whim, even if the regime growls and closes businesses and drags women and men to the court of justice," he said.
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.
Ghadiani, who in the past believed in reforming the Islamic Republic, said earlier in the year that “Reforms are not possible,” arguing that the reform movement failed to produce any results in 25 years. “Ebrahim Raisi, an illiterate murderer has become president.”He also said 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.”
Several figures who used to be proponents of the regime have started criticizing the Islamic Republic in recent months, especially following September 2022, when the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement began. The regime has killed well over 500 people and arrested nearly 20,000 protesters to prove that it did not kill Mahsa Amini.
Iran’s Sunni leader Mowlavi Abdolhamid, who has been delivering historic speeches every Friday in the past several months, said earlier in the day that "If the solution to people's problems is to arrest and detain, then arrest and imprison all of us.”
“If the people's problems are solved by arresting the protesters and politicians, I request them to hand themselves over to the prison so that the people's problems are solved," he said.