Influential Cleric Tells Khamenei Iran's 'Current Situation Cannot Continue'
Radio Farda June 27, 2020
One of Iran's most high-ranking and politically prominent clerics has warned the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that his regime's popularity and legitimacy has been seriously damaged mainly because of injustice as well as economic and cultural problems.
In a letter to Khamenei on Saturday June 27, the 79-year old cleric from Qazvin, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha said that "What many people think and say, and their living standards are not consistent with a political system known to the world by its Islamic nature."
Khoeiniha, a former Prosecutor General, and an ex member of the Majles and the Assembly of Experts, is known for masterminding the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and taking over 50 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days.
Khoiniha said he is sharing the letter with the nation, hoping that his account of the country's situation would prompt Khamenei to contemplate and do something good for the people.
He said in the letter to Khamenei, which was published by Ensaf News and re-run by many other Iranian websites on Saturday, "Increasing inflation and declining incomes have created backbreaking problems for the people that have led to abnormal behaviors and have given way to many concerns for the people about the future of their children."
"At the same time, many others are also unhappy about the country's political and cultural situation which are marked by undeniable injustice," said Khoeiniha.
Characterizing Khamenei as "the main player" in Iran, Khoeiniha implicitly pointed at Khamenei's responsibility over problems and shortcomings, adding that the current problematic situation are not simply the outcome of decisions made by managers who are transitional.
He stressed that "From the point of view of the people", the highest authority is the main player in all or most of the country's affairs, adding that the continued that "the current situation cannot continue."
Khoeiniha said elsewhere in his letter that that "the people believe the highest authority in the country's management should have prevented the cultural, economic and social chaos the country is facing today."
Khoeiniha said at the end, "If the current way of running the country's affairs is based on conventional calculations and known views about governance, there are numerous other experts who should be allowed to criticize this method of government and call for reforming it without fearing possible consequences."
Despite the criticism, Khoeiniha wrote that "if decisions made in recent decades are based on a knowledge only certain individuals are bestowed with, then what is happening to the country and its citizens is an inevitable destiny to which I shall succumb and surrender."
The call on Khamenei to allow critics voice their concerns comes while almost everyone who has openly criticized Khamenei, including 14 well known dissidents, ended up in jail in 2019.
On the other hand, Khamenei has shown that criticism does not influence his decisions. Saturday morning, during a teleconference with Judiciary officials in Tehran, he praised former Chief Justice Sadeq Larijani who has been widely criticized for financial corruption charges faced by his former deputy and many have also implicated Larijani in the case.
Regardless of the extremely polite tone of Khoeiniha's letter, it is still not known what kind of reaction awaits him. He is a die-hard left wing cleric and the leader of the left wing Militant Clerics Association and a seasoned politician who used to have a following among Iranian left wing students.
When his newspaper, Salam, which was highly critical of the government, was shut down in 1999, thousands of students took to the streets in protest which led to the biggest clash between the police and students in Iran's history as well as leading to one of the biggest political crises the Islamic Republic has ever faced during the past four decades.
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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