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Former Supporter Calls For Khamenei To Step Down

Guests attending the "Ashura Evening" mourning ceremony at Ayatollah Khamenei's invitation in the "House of Leadership". File photo

An outspoken Iranian former political prisoner has once again lambasted the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisting that his "concentrated power" and "leadership for life" are the main sources of widespread corruption across the country.

In an essay published on the dissident website “Kalameh” November 28, former regime supporter turned political activist Abolfazl Qadyani writes, "As the economic and political crisis in Iran is worsening along with people's opposition to the religious dictatorship, specifically against Khamenei, the intelligence arms of tyranny, which are in a permanent state of fear, increase the level of suppression, believing that it is the only solution to the problems confronting the ruling establishment.”

"Their permanent fear originates in the fear of losing control and power," the 73-year-old argued. “They are scared of losing the usurped power that is entangled with the despot's existence."

Qadyani, a co-founder of the political group Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution of Iran Organization (MIRO), helped the clerics consolidate power after the downfall of the monarchy nearly forty years ago. The MIRO strongly supported the Islamic Republic until 2009, when the group fell out with Khamenei after the disputed re-election of populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Many of the organization’s leaders, including Qadyani, were given prison sentences for their public criticism of Khamenei, and one of their most outspoken members, former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh, spent more than seven years in solitary confinement.

"The fear of losing power is a permanent nightmare that blurs the dictator's sight and forces him toward immoral and unlawful moves in the hope of retaining power and increasing his dominance over the nation,” Qadyani wrote in his essay.

Describing lifetime appointments as the “mother of all corruption,” Qadyani notes, "The power in Iran, as everybody knows, is monopolized by velayat-i Faqih (the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist), therefore, since the Supreme Leader is under nobody's supervision and not accountable to any institution, he is responsible for spreading the corrupt products of the concentrated power for life across the land.”

Abolfazl Qadyani, former regime supporter who turned to a reformist and then to opponent of ayatollah Khamenei.
Abolfazl Qadyani, former regime supporter who turned to a reformist and then to opponent of ayatollah Khamenei.

The only way out, Qadyani suggested, is resistance and protest.

Qadyani described the president of the Islamic Republic as the “butler” of the Supreme Leader, since he cannot freely choose members of his own cabinet.

If people constantly protest the concentration of power in one single person and resist tyranny, Qadyani said, "ultimately, a point where the tyrant surrenders to the nation's will and holds a referendum for the establishment of a secular republic would not be out of reach.”

To back up his argument, Qadyani listed fifteen cases of the recent protests across Iran that were ruthlessly suppressed as the signs of fear among the Supreme Leader's intelligence arms.

In an earlier essay published on the same website July 7, Qadyani called the Islamic Republic a religious dictatorship, and said the only solution was for Khamenei to step down.

Qadyani, himself a former pro-reform activist, also criticized Iranian reformists for their steadfast belief that the regime can reform itself.

“They [reformists] want to reform a corrupt and flawed structure,” he wrote, “they are either not reformists or simply cherish an impossible dream.”

He called on all political activists, including those in the reform camp, to demand Khamenei step down. Otherwise, he warned, Iranians may face the same sad fate as Libyans and Iraqis whose dictators were forced from power.