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Source: RFE/RL

May 23, 2023

Dissident Ghadyani Says Iran May Be Ripe For Revolution Amid Executions

Abolfazl Ghadyani, a prominent Islamic revolutionary-turned-dissident, says that Iran may be ripe for a revolution to overthrow the Islamic leadership as anger turns to rage over the execution of protesters, oppressive policies, and poor living standards.

The 78-year-old Ghadyani, a senior member of the reformist party the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution of Iran Organization, said in a published statement on May 22 that the most peaceful path for political change in Iran would require Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to "willingly resign, ask for national forgiveness, and make way for a democratic system of governance.

"He added, however, that the likelihood of this was nearly impossible given the nature of totalitarian leadership and previous historical trends."

Let [Khamenei] out of the way of the nation so that the people can hold a free referendum to restore the system," said Ghadyani, who is known for his close ties to prominent opposition figure Mir Hossein Mosavi.

"Let them implement their wish, which I believe is a secular democratic republic system based on human rights, and start rebuilding the country."

Ghadyani said the recent executions of three young protesters -- Saleh Mirhashemi, Saeed Yaqoubi, and Majid Kazemi -- were further evidence of Khamenei's 'tyrannical rule' and that such crimes serve only to harden public resolve to bring about change.

In the face of steady protests around the country since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini's death in custody for a dress-code offense last September, Iranian authorities have warned of harsh penalties for participants in the unrest.

Several protesters have been condemned to death and at least seven of those convicted after what rights groups have called "sham trials," have been executed, including the three young men last week.

A harsh critic of Khamenei, Ghadyani has been summoned repeatedly and imprisoned by Iranian authorities. He has published multiple letters and notes critical of Khamenei in recent years.

Ghadyani also made headlines recently when he announced he was refusing to honor a summons to the Tehran Revolutionary Court because it lacked legal legitimacy.

He has also accused Khamenei of being behind a wave of suspicious illnesses striking mainly girls at schools.

Some have accused the government of releasing poisonous gas in schools as retribution for the role young women and students have played in the "Woman, Life, Freedom" protest movement.

Tens of thousands of Iranians -- led by women and students -- have joined protests since Amini's death in September 2022 calling for authorities to respect their human rights and women's rights.

Many have blamed Khamenei for Amini's death and the deaths of protesters at the hands of security forces, who have cracked down brutally on public expressions of frustration.

More than 500 people have been killed in the crackdown, according to rights groups. Several thousand more have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
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