LONDON: Badri Hosseini Khamenei, the sister of Iran’s supreme leader, said on Wednesday that she soon hopes to see the overthrow of her brother’s “tyranny,” adding that he “has brought nothing but suffering and oppression” to his people.
Khamenei’s family have been fierce critics of the Islamic regime since 1979, after the revolution deposed the last shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Khamenei and her husband, Ali Tehrani, regularly spoke out against the government while in exile in Iraq during the 1980s, The Times reported. Upon their return to Iran in 1995, her husband, who died in October, was imprisoned for 10 years.
According to The Times, Khamenei has since refrained from publicly denouncing the regime while living in Iran.
However, she is now openly condemning the authorities’ violent crackdown on the nationwide protests.
In a damning letter posted on Twitter by her France-based son Mahmoud Moradkhani, Khamenei wrote: “I think it is appropriate now to declare that I oppose my brother’s actions and I express my sympathy with all mothers mourning the crimes of the Islamic Republic regime.
“I am sorry that due to physical ailments I cannot participate in protest movements as I should. But in heart and soul, I am with the people of Iran.
“Our family’s opposition and struggle against this criminal system began a few months after the revolution.
“The crimes of this system, the suppression of any dissenting voice, the imprisonment of the most educated and the most caring youth of this land, the most severe punishments, and the large-scale executions began from the very beginning.”
Khamenei’s daughter Farideh Moradkhani was arrested for the third time last month after calling on all foreign governments to stop supporting Tehran.
The activist described her uncle’s regime on Nov. 25 as “murderous and child-killing” in a video posted on Youtube.
Addressing this, Khamenei added: “When they arrest my daughter with violence, it is clear that they apply thousands of times more violence to other oppressed boys and girls who are subjected to inhumane cruelty.”
Khamenei also said that her brother was not listening to the “voice of the people in Iran,” but was instead taking note of “mercenaries and money-grubbers.”
She called on Revolutionary Guards to lay down their arms and join the people “before it is too late.”