Former Iranian president says country more corrupt and dictatorial than under the Shah

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr said the ruling mullahs are using religion to “justify oppression, corruption, and repression.” (Reuters)
Updated 07 February 2019
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Former Iranian president says country more corrupt and dictatorial than under the Shah

  • Bani-Sadr, who took office in February 1980, was pushed from power in June 1981 by hard-liners of the clergy who were aligned with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1981
  • He called on the regime to stop its interventions in the Middle East and to pay attention to the needs of the Iranian people

LONDON: The first Iranian president after the 1979 revolution has accused the current regime of becoming more corrupt and dictatorial than the Shah’s rule.
Abolhassan Bani-Sadr said the ruling mullahs are using religion to “justify oppression, corruption, and repression.”
The regime has “emptied religion of its content and filled it with lies and irrationality,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Bani-Sadr, who took office in February 1980, was pushed from power in June 1981 by hard-liners of the clergy who were aligned with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1981. He fled to France and continues to live in exile.
He said Tehran is currently involved in eight wars, and they include the “the economic war, the direct military war in Syria, war through terrorism, the diplomatic war, and the propaganda war.”
He called on the regime to stop its interventions in the Middle East and to pay attention to the needs of the Iranian people.
Talking about the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to protest against the regime during the presidency of Barack Obama, Bani-Sadr said the protest movement has retreated despite growing resentment.
He said protesters were demanding reforms within the regime as opposed to the Arab Spring where people demanded regime changes.
“When people restrict their demands to within the regime, repressive forces are assured that the regime is stable and do not hesitate to follow its orders. If these forces become aware that the regime cannot offer stability, they are more likely to rebel.”


US to leave 200 troops in Syria for a period of time - White House

A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria. (US Army photo)
Updated 10 min 15 sec ago
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US to leave 200 troops in Syria for a period of time - White House

  • The decision was announced after Trump spoke by phone to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

WASHINGTON: The United States will leave “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout, the White House said on Thursday.
President Donald Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the 2,000 American troops in Syria on the defeat of the last remnants of the Islamic State militancy there.
But he has been under pressure from some advisers to adjust his policy to ensure the protection of Kurdish forces who supported the fight against Islamic State and who might now be threatened by Turkey.
“A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a brief statement.
The decision was announced after Trump spoke by phone to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
A White House statement said that the two leaders agreed, regarding Syria, to “continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone.”
They noted that acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford would be hosting their Turkish counterparts in Washington this week for further talks, the White House said.