June 14, 2006


Khomeini's grandson slams Tehran regime (UPI, 6/14/06)

The grandson of Iran's revolutionary Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini says the republic has devolved into a dictatorship that should be toppled by other countries.

Speaking to the al-Arabiya network on the 17th anniversary of the republic's founding by his late grandfather, Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini denounced the "dictatorship of clerics" leading the fundamentalist Islamist state.

"My grandfather's revolution has devoured its children and has strayed from its course," he said.

He went on to suggest U.S. President George Bush should send troops to occupy Iran, al-Arabiya said.

"Freedom must come to Iran in any possible way, whether through internal or external developments. If you were a prisoner, what would you do?" Khomeini told the network.

Unlikely Pair Emerges as Foe Of Iran Regime (ELI LAKE, June 13, 2006, NY Sun)
Hossein Khomeini emerged in the fall of 2003 as one of the least likely enemies of the Islamic Republic that his famous grandfather helped create in 1978 and 1979 during the country's revolution, when he visited Washington and New York in September and October to give speeches and interviews calling for an armed intervention to depose the ruling clerics. But soon after his visit to America, the young cleric went back to Iran at the urging of his family and kept his thoughts on regime change at least to himself.

When Mr. Khomeini returned to Iran, many of his close followers had assumed that he had been lured back to the country for the safety of his family. A senior researcher yesterday at the London based Center for Arab-Iranian Studies who has been in touch with the grand ayatollah's grandson, Alireza Nourizadeh, said he was able to return safely to Iran only after Khomeini's widow and Hossein's grandmother, Batol Saqafi Khomeini, sent a stern warning to Iran's supreme leader.

"She sent a message to the director of Ayatollah Khomeini's personal office, a man named Mohammadi Golpaygani. The message was, 'My grandson is going to come back. If anything happens to him, even if he has been taken for questioning, I will not be silent,'" Dr. Nourizadeh said.

Dr. Nourizadeh added that Mr. Khomeini lived with his grandmother in Tehran for three weeks upon returning to Iran and then began a mentorship with Iran's most senior cleric and a harsh critic of the mullahs, Ayatollah Ali Montazeri.

The tutelage of Mr. Montazeri has not tempered the opinions of the young Khomeini. When asked by al-Arabiya about his earlier calls for America to invade, he said, "Freedom must come to Iran in any possible way, whether through internal or external developments. If you were a prisoner, what would you do? I want someone to break the prison."

By contrast, the son of the Shah, Reza Pahlavi, is not such a hardliner. In this week's issue of Time Magazine's European edition, Mr. Pahlavi said he could not imagine an American invasion of Iran. "I cannot foresee any military action which could be feasible," he said. "The thought of foreign tanks rolling into Tehran is beyond imagination. No Iranian could tolerate an invasion. It would be an attack on our homeland. Even limited air strikes: If you want to alienate people, strike the first blow." [...]

During Mr. Khomeini's 2003 visit to Washington he asked author and columnist, Christopher Hitchens, to inquire of Mr. Pahlavi whether he would renounce his claim to the throne in Tehran.

Mr. Hitchens yesterday said Mr. Khomeini "said he heard nice things about him, that he would be ready to work with him on a democratic secular outcome on condition that he renounced the Pahlavi claim to the Iranian throne. And so I put this to young Reza and he would not do that. It was quite clear, he said he did not claim to be the Shah of Iran. But that's not what the message inquires. He wants to know if you renounce the claim."

Mr. Hitchens remembers pressing Mr. Pahlavi on the specific point of renouncing the throne, and Mr. Pahlavi would not abdicate, nor would he criticize some of the human rights abuses of his father's old regime.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2006 7:11 PM

Competing Ayatollahs? We might need a scorecard.

I always thought the only reason Khameini wound up on top after Khomeini died is because his name was so similar to Ruhollah's.

But how did Khomeini's grandson get to be an Ayatollah if he is young (I presume he is about 35)? I thought he would just be a run-of-the-mill mullah.

Posted by: ratbert at June 15, 2006 11:41 AM
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