Former supporter and now opposition figure Abolfazl Qadiani says Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali “Khamenei should step down as a final solution to the Islamic republic’s problems.”
In an article published on opposition website Kalameh on Saturday July 7, former reformist Qadiani, who lives in Iran, called the Islamic Republic “a religious dictatorship.”
Qadiani is a leading member of the Islamic leftist political organization IRMO (the Islamic Revolution’s Mujahedeen Organization), a group that strongly supported the Islamic Republic until 2009 when they fell out with Khamenei after the disputed re-election of populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The group also initially contributed to the forming of the Islamic Republic’s internal security system as many of its members said in various interviews.
After falling out with Khamenei, many of the organization’s leaders, including Qadiani ended up in jail for a few years and one of their outspoken members, former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh spent more than seven years in solitary confinement.
Qadiani in his article attributed “the fundamental inefficiency and corruption of the regime” to Khamenei.
Meanwhile Qadiani lashed out at Iran’s “corrupt Judiciary which is an outcome of a religious dictatorship that has promoted embezzlement and forgotten about economic productivity.”
He said “the level of widespread corruption in the Islamic Republic is unprecedented in Iran’s contemporary history.”
Qadiani also criticized Iranian reformists, who still believe the regime is capable of reforming itself, saying “they want to reform a corrupt and flawed structure,” and charged “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’s ouster and call on him to step down. Otherwise, he warned, Iranians may have to face a fate like what dictators such as Muammar Qaddafi and Saddam Hussain created for their nations.
Qadiani had harshly criticized Khamenei previously, once in a letter from his prison cell in 2012, and once again in an open letter in April 2018, when Qadiani likened Khamenei to Joseph Goebbels, a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945. He accused Khamenei of telling “big lies” about freedom of speech in Iran.
Until 2012 Qadiani still wrote to Khamenei and called on him to correct his regime’s path, but later, he addressed the nation and political groups demanding a change in the country’s Constitution that would put an end to the role of Velayat-e Faqih (Guardianship of the Supreme Jurisconsult) officially known as Supreme Leader.
According to Qadiani, articles 3 and 5 of the Constitution, allow a change that would turn the Islamic Republic into a democratic system with no figurehead such as the Supreme Leader.
Qadiani also criticized Khamenei in April for the large number of political prisoners in Iran, depriving the nation of the right to choose their own candidates in elections, ruling without being accountable, and thus creating a despotic religious regime.
He also said that the Iranian regime “cannot be reformed,” and opined that the kind of reformism that succumbs to the regime’s excesses cannot bear any fruit. He accused such reformists of having an unwanted part in imposing a war on Iran.
In recent years, Iran’s reformist movement has been put under pressure, as Khemanei’s camp has at times dealt harshly with them, increased its crackdown on dissidents and failed to deal with corruption. Many have begun to question If the system can be reformed at all.
However, Qadian’s public call for Khamenei to step down is one of the most unexpected manifestations of how Khamenei’s rule is losing its base of support among those who were once fervent devotees of the system.