Tehran Given the protests that have been going on for weeks in Iran a grandson of revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) called for reforms. Prominent Shia cleric Hassan Khomeini told the online portal Bayanfarda: “The most sensible way to govern the country is the ‘majority-oriented democracy’ that emerges from the ballot boxes. Other ways involve far more errors and costs.”
The ayatollah’s grandson, who lives in Iran, thus hinted at criticism of the Islamic country’s political system. He had already expressed criticism at the beginning of the protests in mid-September.
In Iran, the parliament and president are elected, but power is concentrated in the supreme religious leader. Since Khomeini’s death in 1989, this has been Ali Khamenei.
Candidates for the presidential election are approved by the so-called Guardian Council. The members are loyal supporters of Khamenei and the political leadership. During the street protests, demonstrators repeatedly refer to Khamenei as a dictator. Hassan Khomeini is also counted among the “men of the system” by many demonstrators.
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The protests were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini. The vice squad arrested her for allegedly violating Islamic dress codes. The woman died in police custody on September 16. Since her death, tens of thousands have been demonstrating across the country against the government’s repressive course and the Islamic system of rule.
Iran threatens jailed demonstrators with severe penalties
The Iranian state is threatening detained demonstrators with severe penalties. Conservative hardliners in parliament called for harsh sentences, including the death penalty, on Sunday.
Over 1,000 inmates charged in Tehran province are awaiting trial in prisons. They are accused, among other things, of sabotage and attacks on security forces.
According to the US-based human rights organization HRANA, 318 demonstrators have been killed in the riots as of last Saturday, including 49 minors.
The EU has so far imposed sanctions on 17 individuals and four Iranian organizations. They are all part of the country’s security apparatus, which sometimes uses deadly force to quell the protests.