Iran reformist calls for change ‘before it’s too late’

A handout photo provided by the office of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (HO / KHAMENEI.IR / AFP)
Updated 30 January 2018
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Iran reformist calls for change ‘before it’s too late’

TEHRAN: A prominent Iranian reformist under house arrest for the past seven years lashed out at the country’s supreme leader Tuesday, urging him to bring major reforms “before it is too late.”
Mahdi Karroubi, 80, lost his bid for the presidency in 2009 and helped lead mass protests against alleged election-rigging that eventually saw him confined to his home without trial.
In an open letter published on a blocked reformist website on Tuesday, Karroubi called on supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to “accept responsibility for your policies of the last three decades.”
“I urge you, before it is too late, to open the way to structural reforms of the system,” he wrote.
He said recent protests over economic conditions were inevitable given the depth of “injustice, corruption and discrimination.”
At least 25 people were killed in the unrest that hit dozens of towns and cities over the new year.
Karroubi called on Khamenei to stop blaming foreign “enemies” for the unrest and release those arrested during the protests.
“The system is going downhill to such an extent that it feels endangered by a few thousand people demonstrating,” he wrote.
“Instead of repeating accusations of links with the enemy and instead of harsh confrontation, listen to them.”
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said Tuesday that “fewer than 300” people were still in detention in relation to the unrest.
Karroubi also criticized the involvement of the Revolutionary Guards, a security force directly loyal to the leader, in political and economic affairs.
The “catastrophic outcome is clear to everyone today,” he wrote.
“More than 50 percent of the country’s wealth is in the hands of state bodies over which there is no supervision... Poverty and unemployment are plaguing the country.”


Day into emergency rule, Sudan's Bashir names vice president and PM

Updated 23 February 2019
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Day into emergency rule, Sudan's Bashir names vice president and PM

  • President Omar Al-Bashir declared a one-year nationwide state of emergency on Friday
  • Protesters frustrated with economic hardship have demonstrated for more than two months

KHARTOUM: Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir appointed a first vice president and a new prime minister on Saturday, a day after declaring a state of emergency to counter the most sustained protests since he came to power 30 years ago in a military coup.
Mohamed Tahir Ayala, the former governor of Gezira state whom Bashir had previously touted as a potential successor as president, was appointed prime minister. Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf became first vice president while retaining his defense portfolio.
Bashir declared a one-year nationwide state of emergency on Friday and set up a caretaker administration. He replaced all state governors with military officials.
Urging his opponents to join a "path of national reconciliation" and dialogue, he called on parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would have allowed him to seek another term in 2020.
There are no signs that has calmed matters, with the National Consensus Forces, one of the main opposition groups, saying the state of emergency was aimed at countering a "popular revolution" and vowing to push ahead until he is toppled.
Defense Minister Ibn Auf previously served as the head of military intelligence.
Earlier this month, he became the second of several top officials to strike a conciliatory tone towards the protests, saying that young people caught up in the recent turmoil had "reasonable ambition".