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Iran: Political prisoner Hashem Khaster pens open letter, calls for Khamenei to resign

Iranian political prisoner Hashem Khastar
Iranian political prisoner Hashem Khastar

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, February 12, 2021—In an open letter to Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei, political prisoner and teacher activist Hashem Khastar wrote: “With all these executions, political and non-political prisoners, addiction, divorces, and corruption in the country, when are you going to acknowledge what you’ve done to the people of Iran? The people will soon give your answer with raised fists in the streets!”

Khastar, who is the leader of the Association of Teachers Union, describing his conditions in Mashhad’s Vakilabad prison as such: “You’ve created a prison within the prison for me. [Prison authorities] control my phone calls with my family on three points. The agent takes me from the room to the office of the supervisor to make the phone call in front of the head of the prison ward or the prison guard. At the same time, the prison security and the intelligence office listen to my conversation.”

In his letter, Khastar also weighed in on the regime’s foreign policy and wrote, “Your foreign policy can only be compared to that of Hitler’s. Just as he shed blood across the world with his military might, you are now spreading bloodshed and destruction across the Middle East.”

Comparing the mullahs’ regime with the Shah dictatorship, Khastar wrote, “Under the Shah regime, when it came to elections, they presented three black, white, and grey showcase pieces that were completely loyal to [the regime’s] policy and told the people to choose one… In response to the interrogator who told me that the people are widely participating in the elections, I said just as [mullahs’ regime founder Ruhollah] Khomeini who told the Shah, ‘Take your knife off the people’s throat to see who they stand with,’ you do the same and take your knife off the people’s throat to see who they support.”

Khastar has been a vocal critic of the regime and a supporter of the rights of teachers and workers. Khastar had time and again been harassed by regime officials and agents. He has been arrested and imprisoned on several accounts. In 2018, security forces abducted Mr. Khastar and forcibly locked him in a psychiatric hospital.

In 2019, he was arrested and sent to jail for signing an open letter that called for the resignation of Khamenei from power. In the mullahs’ despotic regime, the supreme leader is an unelected official that enjoys lifetime power and has the final say on all matters.

Khastar was sentenced to 16 years in jail on charges of “membership in groups that are disruption national security,” “propaganda against the establishment,” and “setting up a Telegram channel with the goal of disrupting national security.”

The regime’s efforts to pressurize and intimidate Khastar have proven fruitless. He finished off his latest open letter by warning Khamenei, “Your repressive forces can smell the change and they are sure that change will happen… This time, I am warning you from behind bars: resign immediately.”