Khamenei's sister says she hopes people overthrow Iranian regime

Badri Khamenei says she cut off ties with her brother after attempts to bring him 'the voice of the people' failed

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The estranged sister of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has spoken out against her brother in solidarity with her detained daughter and protesters who have been been arrested and abused.

"I hope to see the victory of the people and the overthrow of this tyranny ruling Iran soon," Badri Khamenei said in a written statement shared by her son on Twitter on Wednesday.

Iran has faced mass protests since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was killed in police custody after so-called morality police detained her over the way she was wearing her hijab, on September 16. Estimates of the death toll in the security crackdown vary widely, but activists say as many as 500 have been killed. Iran has admitted to the deaths of 200 people and says that 50 of its security forces have been killed.

Ms Khamenei is the wife of Ali Tehrani, a prominent anti-government activist who was imprisoned twice in the 1980s before being given a third sentence ― nine years in jail ― for his opposition to the regime.

Their daughter, Farideh, was reportedly arrested last month after speaking out against the ayatollah and his "child-killing regime".

"Like all Iranian mourning mothers, I am also sad to be away from my daughter," Ms Khamenei's statement said.

"When they arrest my daughter with violence, it is clear that they apply thousands of times more violence to other oppressed boys and girls who are subjected to inhumane cruelty."

Ms Khamenei says she has tried speaking to her brother, to no avail.

"As my human duty, many times I brought the voice of the people to the ears of my brother Ali Khamenei, decades ago. However, after I saw that he did not listen and continued the way of Khomeini in suppressing and killing innocent people, I cut off my relationship with him," she said, referring to the architect of Iran's 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, who ushered in more than four decades of theocratic rule.

A protest in Tehran after the death of Mahsa Amini in September. EPA

"My concern has always been and will always be the people, especially the women of Iran. I believe that the regime of the Islamic Republic of Khomeini and Ali Khamenei has brought nothing but suffering and oppression to Iran and Iranians," Ms Khamenei said.

There are doubts whether the morality police has been disbanded, but head of the Iranian studies unit at the Emirates Policy Centre, Mohammad Al Zghool, says that is not the case.

"At a press conference this week, Iran's Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri told reporters the 'guidance police' has nothing to do with the judiciary," Mr Zghool said.

"The guidance patrol was closed from the same place it was initially established", Mr Montazeri had said.

Explaining the confusion behind this statement, Mr Zghool said "there has not been an official statement suggesting that the morality police has been disbanded. Now, it is up to police to go after issues that fall under the morality police's purvue".

"This means that the hijab is no longer a major issue for police, but a marginal one, because security, traffic and political gatherings are also among the duties carried out by security forces," he said.

Updated: December 07, 2022, 3:31 PM