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.”


Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in border clashes: Gaza ministry

Updated 24 September 2018
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Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in border clashes: Gaza ministry

GAZA CITY: Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in fresh clashes on the Gaza border Sunday, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said.
Imad Ishtawi, 21, was shot in the head, the ministry said, as Palestinians again gathered along the border east of Gaza City late Sunday in the latest in months of often violent demonstrations.
The strip’s rulers Hamas had been rumored to be seeking a lasting truce with Israel but the indirect talks have seemingly stalled, with protests subsequently increasing in number.
In recent weeks the demonstrations, which typically involve burning tires and throwing stones, have also taken place at night, though with far smaller numbers than the regular Friday daytime gatherings.
At least 186 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began on March 30.
One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.
Israel has maintained a crippling blockade of Gaza for more than a decade it says is necessary to isolate Hamas.