Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei during a meeting with a group of clerics in Tehran on July 12, 2023

Old Dissident Says Ready To Go To Jail In Khamenei’s Dictatorship

Sunday, 07/16/2023

A staunch opponent of Iran’s Supreme Leader who received a 10-month jail sentence has said he is ready to go to prison “in Ali Khamenei’s dictatorial regime.”

Abolfazl Qadiani (Ghadiani), a 78-year-old former Islamic-leftist revolutionary and Khamenei’s comrade-in-arms, who has become an uncompromising opponent said, “religious dictatorship is the worst kind of all dictatorships in the world.”

Qadiani belonged to a leftist, revolutionary group that was supporting the Islamic Republic and Khamenei until the disputed presidential election of 2009, when the Supreme Leader backed the questionable re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Qadiani, with many others, protested the results and was jailed to become an opposition figure.

The former revolutionary said that religious dictatorship has combined “bribes, force and deception” to rule, and Khamenei is the epitome of this dictatorship, who worships power.

His stinging attacks on Khamenei became more frequent since 2018 after the first wave of popular anti-regime protests. His use of terms such as “dictator” and “enemy of the people” to describe Khamenei were unprecedented open rejection of the Leader’s long rule by a public figure in Iran.

Abolfazl Qadiani (Ghadiani)

However, the regime has been noticeably cautious in not attacking his home and arresting him without a warrant, as it has done so many times with younger opponents who were not from the 1970s revolutionary generation.

In 2018, Qadiani was put on trial for "insults against the Supreme Leader" and was sentenced to three years in prison, as well as hand-copying books written about Khamenei. His charge was "insults against the Supreme Leader" and another two years for "propaganda against the regime".

The old revolutionary rejected the legitimacy of the court, not having attended his own trial, and the regime did not forcibly arrest him to serve the sentence.

However, he intensified his criticisms during the popular anti-regime protests in 2022 and 2023, saying in May thatthe Islamic Republic should be overthrown, going even beyond earlier criticism that mainly targeted Khamenei. However, he left the door open to a peaceful change saying that if Khamenei resigns and repents, the political crisis may get resolved.

Earlier in March, he directly accused Khamenei of orchestrating a series of poison gas attacks on schools that sent hundreds of schoolgirls to hospitals, arguing that the dictator was taking revenge for the Women, Life, Liberty movement and protests.

"In his false belief, by suppressing the street gatherings, he found an opportunity to take revenge to appease his evil spirit. So, he has targeted the physical and mental health and safety of the brave pioneers of the movement,”Qadiani said, knowing that there could well be retaliation.

In early July, the response came when a court sentenced him to 10 months in prison and now Qadiani says he will be happy to serve the sentence and will voluntarily surrender. He added that it would be a joy for him to spend time with other regime opponents in prison, “despite multiple illnesses I have.”

His 10-month jail sentence is for “propaganda against the regime,” with a 10-day notice period to surrender at the court.

Qadiani in his statement published on Saturday said, “Khamenei’s enmity with the Iranian people has been proven to all…and I will present myself to the court on Saturday July 22.”

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