A sister of Iran’s supreme leader has declared her opposition to her brother’s regime and called on military forces to join protesters “before it is too late,” according to a letter shared by her son on Wednesday.
“I think it is appropriate now to declare that I oppose my brother’s actions and I express my sympathy with all mothers mourning the crimes of the Islamic Republic regime,” Badri Hosseini Khamenei said in a letter shared on Twitter by her France-based son Mahmoud Moradkhani.
She called on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to “lay down their weapons.”
“Ali Khamenei’s Revolutionary Guards and mercenaries should lay down their weapons as soon as possible and join the people before it is too late,” the letter, dated “December 2022,” read.
“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 [ex-Supreme Leader Ruhollah] Khomeini in suppressing and killing innocent people, I cut off my relationship with him,” she said.
Protests have swept across Iran since September 16 when 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died three days after collapsing in police custody.
Demonstrators have been calling for the downfall of the regime in the protests which have become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.
“The people of Iran deserve freedom and prosperity, and their uprising is legitimate and necessary to achieve their rights. I hope to see the victory of the people and the overthrow of this tyranny ruling Iran soon,” the letter said.
“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,” it added.
Last month, authorities arrested Badri Khamenei’s daughter, Farideh Moradkhani, after she declared her support for the protests and called on the international community to cut ties with the Islamic Republic.
Moradkhani has been critical of the regime in the past and was arrested on two other separate occasions – earlier this year and in 2018.
“Like all Iranian mourning mothers, I am also sad to be away from my daughter,” Badri Khamenei said in the letter.
“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.”
Iranian security forces have killed hundreds and detained thousands in the protests, according to rights groups.