Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called on foreign governments to cut ties with the Iranian regime in a video statement released two days after she was arrested. Farideh was arrested on Wednesday when she went to the prosecutor’s office to serve on a court summons, as per a tweet from her brother Mahmoud Moradkhani, who lives in France

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In a video shared by Mahmoud two days later, Farideh Moradkhani called on the global community to urge their governments to cut ties with the Iranian regime amid protests sweeping the nation. She urged people to ask their governments to “stop any dealings with this regime.” She also compared Khamenei to dictators like Germany’s Adolf Hitler, Italy’s Benito Mussolini, and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

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“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 Moradkhani is an engineer and a well-known human rights activist. She is known for opposing Iran’s clerical authorities and has served time in prison before. She is the daughter of Khamenei’s sister, Badri, who fell out with her family in the 1980s and fled to Iraq at the peak of the Iran-Iraq war. Farideh’s late father, Ali Tehrani, was a cleric and longtime opposition figure. Tehrani died last month.

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Farideh has gained prominence as an anti-death penalty activist. She was last arrested in January this year. The arrest followed an October 2021 video conference in which she openly appreciated Farah Diba, widow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who was ousted by the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

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According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), she had been released on bail in April. She was arrested on November 23 to start serving an existing 15-year sentence.