The niece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini has urged for governments to cut ties with Tehran over its suppression of anti-regime protests.
Farideh Moradkhani, the ayatollah’s niece, asked “conscientious people of the world” to support the protesters and pressure their governments to distance themselves from Iran.
“I ask the conscientious people of the world to stand by us and ask their governments not to react with empty words and slogans but with real action and stop any dealings with this regime,” she said in a video posted by her brother after her arrest on Nov. 23.
Moradkhani’s family has long opposed Khomeini, and her arrest makes her the closest living relative to the supreme leader he has imprisoned. She has been arrested on two previous occasions for activism.
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Protests against the regime have lasted for three months now following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody for allegedly breaching the country’s hijab (headscarf) laws.
The Iranian government has responded to the protests with the utmost severity: Security forces have used live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to try and suppress the demonstrations.
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The country’s foreign ministry said it would not cooperate with any U.N. fact-finding mission to investigate the government’s response after the Human Rights Council voted to appoint an independent investigator.
At least 451 people have died, including 63 minors, with another 18,173 detained since the protests started, according to Human Rights Activists News Agency.
The Iranian courts last week started to hand down death sentences for protesters, citing arson and other such crimes to justify the executions.
Protesters set fire to a museum dedicated to the regime’s founder, Ayatolloh Ruhollah Khomeini, in a very direct act of defiance against the nation’s ruler.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.