WASHINGTON - The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, who led the Islamic revolution in Iran which brought down the Shah’s rule, claims that the current Iranian regime is “a dictatorship by the religious who control every aspect of life,” and calls on foreign powers to interfere and defeat it.
In an interview with the Arab television station al-Arabiya on the occasion of 17 years since the death of his grandfather, Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini claims that in its current form, the revolution “veered of its original path” and neglected its principles of freedom and democracy. Furthermore, he said that the current rule of law in Iran is not based on Shiite religious principles, but rather developed for historical reasons connected to the persecution of religious figures in pre-revolutionary Iran.
“Iran will accumulate true strength only when it re-adopts the principles of freedom and democracy. Power is not achieved by bombs and weapons,” Khomeini said.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), which tracks media in the Arab world, and translated the interview, claims that in the last four years Khomeini has been held under strict surveillance in the city of Qum, which has prevented him from giving interviews to Iranian media for fear he would criticize the regime. But Khomeini’s grandson, 48, managed to share his message to the world through the Arab communications network.
“My grandfather’s revolution devoured its children and deviated from its path,” he said. “I lived through the revolution and its calls for freedom and democracy, but now it is chasing its leaders.” As an example of his claims, he cited the story of Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani.
“He was frequently jailed during the days of the Shah, and after the revolution he was pursued by the regime because he criticized their violations of the law. As a result, he was forced to hide because he expressed his protests.”
Meeting with the Shah’s son
In the interview, Khomeini tells of an unusual meeting he had with the son of the Persian Shah – actually a meeting between the leader of the revolution’s grandson and the son of the ousted ruler. He describes the meeting: “It was a normal meeting with a man who shares a common suffering with me. The reason we suffer is similar, and it is called tyranny.” He stressed that the same tyranny hurts both of them despite the differences in their political approach.
Khomeini said that if he reaches the government, he intends to introduce many changes in the lives of his people. For example, he claims he would cancel enforced veiling for women and make it a personal choice.
The Iranian regime chains women by forcing them to wear veils in the ugliest fashion – that’s to say, black. Khamanei suggested allowing women to choose more colorful headscarves. “Girls who come out of school and young women leaving university look depressingly gloomy. I personally support veiling, but not in this fashion. Veiling is a personal matter. Many women, relatives of my grandfather Khameni did not wear veils.”
In the interview Khomeini explains the call of US President George W. Bush to conquer Iran. “Freedom needs to come to Iran in any way possible, whether by internal development or external interference. If you were a prisoner, what would you do? I want someone to break into this jail and open the doors.”