BAGHDAD — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s niece is calling on people to pressure their governments to cut ties with Tehran over the violent crackdown on anti-government protests.
In a video uploaded by his France-based brother, Farideh Moradkhani, urged “the conscientious people of the world” to support the Iranian protesters. The video was shared online this week after Moradkhani’s reported arrest on November 23, according to US-based rights watchdog HRANA.
Moradkhani is a lifelong activist whose late father was an opposition figure married to Khamenei’s sister is the closest member of the supreme leader’s family to be arrested. The branch of the family has opposed Khamenei for decades and Moradkhani has been imprisoned several times for her activism.
“I ask conscientious people of the world to stand with us and ask their governments not to react with empty words and slogans but with real actions and to cease all relations with this regime,” he said. she said in her video statement.
The protests, now in their third month, have been brutally suppressed by Iranian security forces using live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to quell protests. At least 451 people were killed, including 63 minors, according to HRANA. Another 18,173 people were arrested, reports the rights monitor.
Despite the repression, the demonstrations continue and are dispersed in the cities.
The unrest was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in Tehran for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. It quickly turned into the most serious challenge to the establishment of Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran has also said it will not cooperate with any UN fact-finding mission to investigate the deadly crackdown on protests, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday. The UN Human Rights Council voted to establish the mission last week.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not engage in any cooperation whatsoever with the political committee called ‘investigative committee’,” Kanaani said.