DUBAI (Reuters) – The niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a human rights activist, has called on foreign governments to sever all ties with Tehran over the violent crackdown on protests sparked by the death by Mahsa Amini.
Farideh Moradkhani spoke in a video widely shared on social media since the announcement by the militant news agency HRANA of his arrest on November 23.
“O free people, stand with us and tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous, child-killing regime,” she said in the video.
“This regime is not faithful to any of its religious principles and knows no rules, except force and the maintenance of power.”
Ali Khamenei’s office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
According to HRANA, as of November 26, 450 protesters have been killed in more than two months of unrest across the country, including 63 minors. The agency added that 60 members of the security forces were killed and 18,173 demonstrators were arrested.
The protests, sparked by the death of young Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini after her arrest for “inappropriate dress”, are one of the greatest challenges to the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution.
The video was shared on YouTube on Friday by his brother, France-based Mahmoud Moradkhani, who describes himself as “an opponent of the Islamic Republic” on his Twitter account, and then by other defenders of Iranian rights.
On November 23, Mahmoud Moradkhani reported the arrest of his sister on her way to the Tehran prosecutor’s office by order of the court. Farideh Moradkhani was arrested earlier this year by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, then released on bail.
She is in Evin security prison in Tehran, HRANA said, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for unspecified reasons.
“Now is the time for all free and democratic countries to recall their representatives in Iran as a symbolic gesture and expel the representatives of this brutal regime from their countries,” she added in the video.
Her father, Ali Moradkhani Arangeh, was a Shia cleric married to Ali Khamenei’s sister and recently died in Tehran after years of isolation due to his positions against the Islamic Republic.
The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday voted to launch an independent investigation into the repression of protests against the regime in Iran.
(Dubai office; French version Kate Entringer)