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.”


Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

Updated 19 July 2018
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Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

GAZA: An Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip killed a member of the militant Hamas group on Thursday and wounded three others, Hamas sources and medical officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed it had carried out an air strike targeting Hamas militants who were about to launch balloons rigged with flammable material over the border into Israel.
Hamas sources said the casualties were security men working at an observation post near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Fires caused by incendiary helium balloons and kites launched by Palestinians in Gaza have ravaged tracts of farmland in Israel in recent months. Israel has vowed to stop the attacks, even at the risk of wider conflict.
Weekly clashes at the Israel-Gaza border have kept tensions at a high for months. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during protests at the frontier held every week since March.
Israel says Hamas has been orchestrating the demonstrations, dubbed The Great March of Return, to provide cover for militants' cross-border attacks. Hamas denies this.
Cross-border violence surged on Saturday when Palestinian militants fired more than 100 rockets into Israel and the Israeli military carried out dozens of air strikes in the Hamas-ruled enclave.