Niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader urges world to cut ties with Tehran over unrest -online video

DUBAI, Nov 27 (Reuters) – The niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a prominent rights activist, has called on foreign governments to cut all ties with Tehran over its violent crackdown on popular unrest sparked by the death in police custody of a young woman.

A video of a statement by Farideh Moradhani, an engineer whose late father was a prominent opposition figure married to Khamenei’s sister, was widely circulated online after her arrest on November 23, activist news agency HRANA said.

“O free people, stand with us and tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous and child-killing regime,” Moradhani said in the video. “This regime is loyal to none of its religious principles and knows no rules except force and the maintenance of power.

Khamenei’s office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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HRANA said 450 protesters had been killed in more than two months of nationwide unrest as of Nov. 26, including 63 minors. It said 60 members of the security forces were killed and 18,173 protesters were detained.

The protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for “improper clothing” represent one of the biggest challenges to the country’s clergy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Jalal Mahmudzadeh, a member of parliament from the predominantly Kurdish city of Mahabad, said on Sunday that around 105 people had been killed in Kurdish-populated areas during the protests. He was speaking during a debate in parliament, quoted by the Entekhan website.

Challenging the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy, protesters from all walks of life burned pictures of Khamenei and called for the fall of Iran’s Shiite Muslim theocracy.

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The video was shared on YouTube on Friday by her brother, France-based Mahmoud Moradhani, who describes himself as an “opponent of the Islamic Republic” on his Twitter account, and then by prominent Iranian rights activists.

On November 23, Mahmoud Moradhani reported his sister’s arrest as she was serving a court order to appear at the Tehran prosecutor’s office. Farideh was arrested earlier this year by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and later released on bail.

HRANA said she was in Tehran’s Evin Security Prison. Moradhani previously faced a 15-year prison sentence on unspecified charges.

Her father, Ali Moradhani Arangeh, was a Shiite cleric married to Khamenei’s sister and recently died in Tehran after years of isolation for his stance against the Islamic Republic, according to his website.

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Farideh Moradhani added in his video: “Now is the time for all free and democratic countries to withdraw their representatives from Iran as a symbolic gesture and expel the representatives of this brutal regime from their countries.”

On Thursday, the UN’s top human rights body decided by a wide margin to set up a new fact-finding mission to investigate Tehran’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

Criticism of the Islamic Republic from relatives of senior officials is not unprecedented. In 2012, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, the daughter of the late former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was sentenced to prison for “anti-state propaganda”.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom Editing by Tom Perry and Mark Heinrich

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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