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

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.”


Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks to resolve disputes

Updated 22 September 2020

Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks to resolve disputes

  • Erdogan called for a regional conference that would gather all sides involved in the dispute — including Turkish Cypriots
  • The two neighboring NATO members have been locked in a tense standoff over energy exploitation rights

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey and Greece are ready to resume talks in a bid to overcome a dispute over maritime boundaries and rights to exploit oil and gas resources, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Tuesday.
The statement followed his video conference meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel.
During the meeting, Erdogan called for a regional conference that would gather all sides involved in the dispute — including Turkish Cypriots — and said the “momentum” for dialogue should be protected,” according to the statement.
The two neighboring NATO members have been locked in a tense standoff over energy exploitation rights in an area between Turkey’s southern coast, several Greek islands and the war-divided island of Cyprus. Turkey sent a research vessel into the disputed waters this summer.
Following mediation efforts by Germany and others, Turkey pulled back the research vessel to port and both countries eased their naval presence and halted military exercises, paving the way for a dialogue.
It was not clear when and how the talks would begin. Erdogan told Merkel and Michel that “steps to be taken by Greece” would determine the course of the talks.
Greek-Turkish talks to resolve disputes were last held in 2016.
The Turkish leader also said he hoped that the next European Union summit would breathe new life into Turkish-EU ties, including allowing Turkish citizens visa-free travel rights to Europe and sealing a new agreement on migration.
EU members Greece and Cyprus had been pushing for EU sanctions against Turkey at the Sept. 24-25 summit meeting to due Turkey’s search for energy inside Cyprus’ economic zone. But the summit has been postponed for a week because Michel has gone into quarantine after a close collaborator was diagnosed with COVID-19.