By INU Staff
INU “(Iran’s Supreme Leader) Khamenei should step down as a final solution to the Islamic republic’s problems,” said former supporter, and now opposition figure, Abolfazl Qadiani. On July 7th, Qadiani, previously a reformist who lives in Iran, called the Islamic Republic “a religious dictatorship.”
These days, Qadiani leads the Islamic leftist political organization IRMO (the Islamic Revolution’s Mujahedeen Organization). The group were strong supporters of the Islamic Republic, but fell out with Khamenei in 2009, after the disputed re-election of populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The IRMO were also initial contributors to the formation of the Islamic Republic’s internal security system, according to what many of its members have said in interviews.
Many of the organization’s leaders, including Qadiani himself, served time in jail, after the falling out with Khamenei. An outspoken member, former Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh, spent more than seven years in solitary confinement.
Qadiani pointed at Khamenei for the “the fundamental inefficiency and corruption of the regime.” He also criticized 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 called out Iranian reformists, saying “they want to reform a corrupt and flawed structure,” and charged “they are either not reformists or simply cherish an impossible dream.”
All political activists, including those in the reform camp, must demand Khamenei’s ouster and call on him to step down, warned Qadiani, or else Iranians may face a fate like what dictators like 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. Another time, in April 2018, he sent in an open letter that compared Khamenei to Joseph Goebbels, the German Nazi politician, who was also Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945. He accused Khamenei of telling “big lies” about freedom of speech in Iran.
Qadiani maintained an amicable correspondence with Khamenei, asking him to correct his regime’s path, until 2012. 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.
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, according to Qadiani.
Qadiani also pointed out the large number of political prisoners in Iran, and that the nation hadn’t the right to choose their own candidates in elections, as well as the lack of accountability of leadership.
Iran’s reformist movement has been put under pressure in recent years, as Khemanei’s camp has dealt harshly with them at times, increasing its crackdown on dissidents and failing to deal with corruption. Many question whether the system can be reformed at all.
But, Qadian’s public call for Khamenei to step down is surprising, and displays the many ways in which Khamenei’s rule is losing its base of support, even among those who were once its followers.