Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a meeting in Tehran, August 13, 2018. (AP)

June 13, 2019

A group of civil, political and trade activists inside Iran have signed an open letter demanding that the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, to resign, and calling for changes to articles Iran’s Constitution concerning the powers of the Supreme Leader. The full letter is published below.

Fellow countrymen and women,

For years, social and cultural luminaries and civil society activists have given heart-wrenching accounts of the need for structural and fundamental changes to the social, political, cultural and economic order of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In their speeches, narratives and thoughtful and innovative analyses, these compassionate and patriotic activists, as well as warning the country’s authorities, have repeatedly urged them to respect the peoples’ vote, to take advantage of emerging political opportunities while obeying civil law and international humanitarian norms, to change their current methods which are worlds away from the desires of the Iranian people, and to reform the deficient and barren bedrock of the Islamic Republic. The authorities have also been urged to capitalize on, and benefit from, sound democratic examples and norms, lest Iran regress and collapse into the trap set by Ali Khamenei and his deputies.

Alas, to no avail.

Throughout these many destructive years, our educated and patriotic friends have tried time and again, using the most altruistic practices, to deter the heads of the Islamic Republic, and in particular the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, from their ruinous, larcenous and deviant ways. Lamentably, these activists have been imprisoned in the most brazen and bitter manner, only to be killed or tortured and severely maimed.

The woeful history of the past 40 years demonstrates that our leaders feel no accountability to the Iranian people. Iran’s rulers insists upon their deviant and irredeemable ways and on perpetuating a cult of personality around the Supreme Leader. Indeed – the alteration and expansion of Article 110 of the Iranian Constitution, governing the scope of powers of the Supreme Leader, especially Articles 112-113 and 176-177, is a testament to these charges.

For example, under the Constitution the people must choose two governing powers, the executive and legislative branches. But due to the arbitrary expansion of the Leader’s powers, including the authority to hand-pick malleable members of the Guardian Council, parliamentary elections have become subject to the whims of the Supreme Leader. As a result, Parliament and nearly all its members are safeguarding the Supreme Leader’s position. If the President tables a single petition for additional oversight, the Parliamentarians swiftly declare, “Not only does the President lack this power, but Parliament lacks it too.”

We believe all signs point to the existence of a President and a Parliament who are mere “facilitators” – and that the people cannot choose their own leaders except those who are putty in the hands of the Supreme Leader.

This situation contradicts the first law of the Iranian Constitution. There is no “Republic” in the Islamic Republic – there is no freedom. Not only are the Iranian people denied their role in selecting the heads of key branches of the government, but any attempt to redress this denial of their rights will be fruitless without the resignation of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the amendment of the Iranian Constitution, especially Article 177.

Constitutional rules and regulations may appear to support the rights of the people in Chapter III – “The Rights of the Iranian People” – but in truth they have been abandoned by unaccountable authorities and relegated to the realm of the forgotten.

We live in a country blessed with natural resources and a wealth of human capital. All of these riches are being destroyed. In the opinion of the undersigned, it is time time for the people, activists, intellectuals, and sympathetic luminaries of Iran to set aside the pursuit of self-interests that has hastened the destruction of Iran’s culture, civilization, and wealth.

We urge others to join us in calling for fundamental change to the Constitution and to explicitly demand the resignation of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – who daily expands the scope of his undeserved power – and together to be pioneers in the advancement of this national movement.

With great hopes that these altruistic demands can build a nation; free of the ideas of despots; free of a rubber-stamp Parliament; free from an indifferent government; free from a subservient judiciary; and toward a just and civil society for the people of Iran.

This movement is a national and non-aligned movement. We expect freedom-loving and Iran-loving compatriots to aid us without looking to their own benefit and with full awareness of the urgency of this historic moment in a momentous age.

We, the undersigned, do not aspire to any specific cause or agenda and we present this movement to the Iranian people so that we may all, with an iron will, arise for our legitimate rights and free ourselves from systematic oppression and unaccountability.

With hopes for the freedom and triumph of the Iranian people,

1. Banoo Gowhar Eshghi (Mother of Sattar Beheshti)

2. Banoo Hoorieh Farajzadeh (Sister of Shahram Farajzadeh, victim of 1388)

3. Mohammad Karimbeigi (Father of Martyr Mostafa Karimbeigi)

4. Engineer Hashem Khastar

5. Mohammad Mahdavifar

6. Dr. Mohammad Maleki

7. Javad Laal Mohammadi

8. Mohammad Nourizad

9. Mohammad Hossein Sepehri

10. Abbas Vahedian Shahroodi

11. Dr. Kamal Jaafari Yazdi

12. Reza Mehrgan

13. Mohammadreza Bayat

14. Zardosht Ahmadi Ragheb

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.