Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been arrested after calling on foreign governments to cut all ties with the Iranian government.
Moradkhani was arrested on Wednesday when she went to the prosecutor’s office in response to a court order, according to a tweet from her brother Mahmoud Moradkhani.
In a video statement shared by her brother ahead of her arrest, Moradkhani called on people around the world to urge their governments to cut ties with the Iranian regime amid protests sweeping the country, and to asking their governments to “stop all dealings with this regime”. .”
“O free people, be with us and tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous and child-killing regime. This regime is not loyal to its religious principles and has no laws or rules except violence and maintaining its power in any way,” she said.
“Now, at this critical moment in history, all of humanity sees the Iranian people, empty-handed, with exemplary courage and bravery, fighting with the evil forces,” she said. “At present, the people of Iran bear the burden of this heavy responsibility only by paying with their lives.”
Farideh Moradkhani said Iranians are at war with governments that support the Iranian regime, and called on democratic countries to recall their representatives from Iran and expel Iran’s representatives from their own countries.
“What is urgently needed is not to support this regime that killed thousands of Iranians in four days in November 2019 while the world just watched,” she added.
Farideh and Mahmoud Moradkhani are the children of Ali Tehrani, a cleric and longtime opposition figure who was married to the sister of the Supreme Leader, Badri Hosseini Khamenei. Tehrani died last month.
Farideh Moradkhani has been arrested by the regime before. She was arrested on her way home on January 13. According to human rights groups, Iran’s security service reportedly searched Moradkhani’s house after her arrest and confiscated some of her belongings.
The ongoing protest movement in Iran was initially sparked by the death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police in September.
The unprecedented national uprising has gripped more than 150 cities and 140 universities in all of Iran’s 31 provinces, said Volker Turk, head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
According to Turk, more than 14,000 people, including children, have been arrested in connection with the protests. He said at least 21 of them are currently facing the death penalty and six have already received the death penalty.
Iran’s security forces’ violent response to demonstrators has shaken diplomatic ties between Tehran and Western leaders.
On Saturday, Khamenei praised the country’s Basij paramilitary force for its role in the deadly crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
Meeting with Basij personnel in Tehran on Saturday, Khamenei described the popular protest movement as “rioters” and “thugs” backed by foreign troops, and praised “innocent” Basij fighters for protecting the nation.
The Basij, a wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has taken to the streets as protests have increased.