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Detained Opposition Leader Demands Answers From Khamenei

Former reformist parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi speaks during a press conference in Tehran in 2008, before his presidential run and house arrest.
Former reformist parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi speaks during a press conference in Tehran in 2008, before his presidential run and house arrest.

In a letter written under house arrest in Iran, one of the Green Movement opposition leaders, Mehdi Karroubi has called upon the influential Assembly of Experts (AE) to stop showering the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader with “praise and eulogy” and make him accountable for three decades of policies that have pushed the country into its current situation.

The letter, published on Sunday, September 2, by Saham News close to Karroubi, has lambasted AE members for bowing to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and showering him with praise.

The constitutional role of AE is to supervise the Supreme Leader.

“In the absence of effective supervision of AE over the Leader and institutions directly controlled by him, including the Guardian Council, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Baseej militia, judiciary, state radio and TV, as wells numerous foundations and economic entities across Iran, the country and its people have been irrevocably damaged during past three decades.”

Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament, has also insisted, “I explicitly say that under such management, the country has been pushed back to the pre-Constitution Qajar dynasty era.”

Urging AE members to abide by their “legal and religious” duties, Karroubi has called upon them to use their rights to “supervise and question” the Leader and end the country’s “regretful current situation.”

AE members are dutybound to make the Leader accountable, Karroubi has reiterated, adding, “Ali Khamenei has to explain Iran’s policies in the past three decades and say why the country has reached its current situation.”

Karroubi’s letter is published at a time when Iran is struggling with economic hardship, the national currency (rial) has significantly lost its value against the U.S. dollar and prices are skyrocketing.

Meanwhile, Washington’s withdrawal from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers and re-imposition of US sanctions, as well as the Islamic Republic’s regional policies have deepened concerns over Iran’s economy in coming months.

Referring to AE members Karrubi says, “If the ‘experts’ are ‘experts’ indeed, they should question the Leader’s strategic policies during past three decades...and table a comprehensive report on their supervision over the leader’s performance and the institutions under his direct command.”

“Why don’t you demand the leader to explain the reasons behind the involvement of IRGC, Baseej militia and Police in banking, selling oil and…” Karroubi has asked AE members.

Meanwhile, Karroubi has urged the AE to investigate the role of Friday Prayer Leaders and military and economic entities under Khamenei’s direct supervision in pushing the country into the current regretful situation.

“Why don’t you raise questions about the interference of IRGC commanders in political and economic affairs of the country?” Karroubi has insisted, adding, “Why have you kept mum against the interference of a number of Friday Prayer Leaders in the country’s executive affairs?”

In the meantime, Karroubi has urged AE members to investigate the cases of an opposition leader’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard who is under house arrest, prominent detained lawyers and human rights activists, Nargess Mohammadi, Abdolfattah Soltani, Qassem Sho’leh Sa’di, as well as the case of imprisoned Gonabadi dervishes, students, workers, teachers and women.

Lambasting the Islamic Republic’s judiciary, Karroubi has lamented, “Iran’s justice department is in ruins and people are witnessing justice slaughtered on a daily basis.”

Referring to the need to amend the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, Karroubi has argued, “29 years after being amended, the constitution definitely needs another amendment in favor of putting the ruling establishment under the nation’s supervision and forever end the era of power being monopolized by a single individual,” Karroubi has noted, reminding, “People should practically, not verbally, become the master of their destiny.”

Karroubi and former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi were Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main challengers in the 2009 presidential election. Ahmadinejad was officially declared the winner, but the challengers protested the outcome calling it an “engineered result”.

Their protest led to more than five months of demonstrations that left dozens killed and hundreds imprisoned.

Later in 2011, Mehdi Karroubi, Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard were extrajudicially confined to their houses after they called for street demonstrations in solidarity with the Arab Spring.

In another letter published in January, Mehdi Karroubi had directly criticized Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying that he should be blamed for the country’s chaotic political, economic, cultural and social conditions.

Several analysts at the time suggested that the letter was the death blow to all hopes for lifting the house arrest.

Later, Karroubi said that the saga of house arrests would never end until the death of one of the two sides involved in it [Karroubi or Khamenei].