The arrest of Ayotollah Khamenei's niece might be the turning point in the Iran protests
Updated: Nov 30, 2022
Even though she is from a rebellious part of the Khamenei family with a historic of objecting to the excesses of the Iranian regime, Farideh Moradkhani's arrest this time as a voluntarily hijab-wearing protestor against enforced hijab by the notorious moral police of Iran is a pivot in the mass resistence.
Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayotollah Khamenei has been arrested for joining the protests against moral policing.
Farideh Moradkhani, a human rights activist and the niece of Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, has been detained by Iranian authorities. She hails from a family line that has a history of resisting Iran's authorities.
According to her brother Mahmoud Moradkhani’s tweet, she was detained on November 23, 2022 after going to the prosecutor's office in response to a summon. Following her arrest, Mahmoud Moradkhani released a video statement of Farideh in which she spoke in support of the anti-government protests in Iran and gave strong statements against the country’s regime.
The ongoing protests in Iran started in September 2022, after the death of Mahsa Amini by morality police for allegedly failing to comply with the head covering laws.
In the video statement by Farideh, she asked the people of the world to help and support the brave men and women of Iran. She urged and asked people around the world to ask their government to cut off ties with Iran. She said, “O free people, be with us and tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous and child-killing regime.”
She questioned the establishment of the United Nations as well, saying, “What has the United Nations done in front of this clear and obvious cruel oppression that is perpetrated on brave Iranians other than a few expressions of regret and short and ineffective statements?” She also stated that the UN preferred their own interests over justice, egalitarianism and world peace and urged the organization to take practical steps against the horrific crimes.
According to Farideh Moradkhani, the Iranian regime has no knowledge of laws or regulations except for using force to maintain its power and criticized the 'laughable' sanctions imposed by the regime. She said, “The brave Iranians are actually at war with all the governments that support these oppressive rulers. The ridiculous and laughable sanctions and then behind-the-scenes transactions worth billion of dollars indicate that Iranians are alone in this stupendous fight for their freedom”.
She called on the free and democratic countries to expel the representative from Iran and consistently stressed not to support the regime that has killed thousands of innocent women, men and children. “What is urgently needed is not to support this regime that killed thousands of Iranians in four days in November 2019 while the world was only watching,” she added.
Who is Farideh Moradkhani?
Farideh, an engineer by profession, is a critic of the regime. She has gained prominence as an anti-death penalty activist and has been active in helping political prisoners through her campaign called “Campaign to Defend Prisoners”
Farideh and Mahmoud Moradkhani are the children of Khamenei's sister - Badri, who had a falling out with her family in the 1980s and escaped to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq conflict. Their father, Ali Moradkhani, was a Shia cleric who has been a critic of the Iranian regime and has been a major face of the resistance in Iran. He spent years in exile because of his opposition to the Islamic regime.
Farideh Moradkhani has been previously arrested by Iranian officials, she was arrested in January this year and was later released on bail. She has been served with charges, facing up to 15 years in prison.
She was also arrested in October 2021, for praising Farah Diba, the widow of Shah Mohammad Rez Pahlavi, who was ousted in the 1979 Iranian Revolution which overthrew the monarchy and established an Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Khomeini.
The current situation in Iran
The death of a 22-year-old, Mahsa Amini sparked widespread protests across the country. The young Iranian woman died after being detained by the morality policy of Iran for failing to comply with the women’s dress code of the country. Protests in Iran have been ongoing for more than ten weeks and show no signs of slowing down.
The protests against the strict hijab laws in the country were later turned into broader political and economic concerns against the regime, calling for the end of the regime as well. These anti-hijab protests were led by women and girls which then gained momentum and later on were joined by every citizen of the country. Women as a sign of protest burned their hijabs, were cutting their hair and were seen roaming without the hijab or any head covering. The slogan for the protests is ‘Women, Life and Freedom’.
The Iranian authorities have reacted violently to the protests. There have been brutal clashes between the security forces of Iran and the protestors. To suppress the criticism and discontent, security forces have beaten, shot, killed and jailed thousands of people. The death toll continues to rise in Iran. About 15,000 people in Iran have received death sentences for taking part in the country's protests and demonstrations.
Children protestors have also been victims of the brutal crackdown by the Iranian authorities. In the course of ten days of protests from September 20 to September 30, 2022, Iran's security forces killed 23 children.
As the protests continued, the trend of throwing away the cleric's turban started, which is still on-going. Many videos went viral on social media, showing people running past the cleric in the streets, tossing away their turbans as turbans are a symbol of the regime - it's worn in Iran as a religious learning rather than political status or authority.
The young Iranians' anger and frustration are expressed through their actions. From singing protest songs, artworks, mass hair cutting movements and other movements, the outage for the Islamic regime can be seen.
Presence of Iran’s protests in FIFA World Cup 2022
Iran's participation in the World Cup in Qatar and the protests that have accompanied it have drawn attention to the unrest and protests in Iran. People of Iran are using the World Cup as a platform to draw attention to what’s happening in their country and to raise awareness of their protests.
Some people held a flag that was used in Iran before the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution, while others were seen wearing shirts bearing the name and picture of Mahsa Amini, whose death caused widespread protests in the country.
Before Iran's opening World Cup 2022 match, protesters were seen outside the Khalifa International Stadium chanting, "Say her name, Mahsa Amini." In this first match, Iranian players also showed their support for the protests in Iran by refraining from singing the national anthem.
Few people were also seen chanting the slogan of the protests - ‘Women, Life and Freedom.’ the protests in Iran seem unlikely to end soon.