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In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV's Web site on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Iranian Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, his grandson Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini said that the current Iranian regime was "a dictatorship of clerics who control every aspect of life," and called for foreign intervention to topple the regime.
He said that "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 [doors open]...'"
In the interview, he argued that the "rule of the jurisprudent" was not based on Shi'ite religious principle, but developed for historical reasons having to do with persecution of clerics in pre-revolutionary Iran. He also said that in its current form, the revolution has "strayed from its original course" by abandoning the principles of freedom and democracy, and stated that Iran would gain real power only when it reembraces these principles - not through relying on bombs and weapons.
"I lived through the revolution, and it called for freedom and democracy - but it persecuted its leaders," said Khomeini.
He further said that his meeting with the son of the deposed Shah Reza Pahlavi was "an ordinary meeting with a man who shares my suffering," because of tyranny.
Addressing the issue of the hijab, the veil Iranian women are required to wear, Khomeini said that if he came to power in Iran, he would first "pass a law which makes the wearing of the hijab an optional choice for Iranian women... I am personally in favor of the hijab, but not like this. The hijab is a personal issue. If a woman wants, she may [wear it], and if she doesn't [want it], she may [refuse it]," he explained.
At the end of the interview, he remarked that he believed his father Mustafa to have been poisoned, although, to this day, it is not clear who was responsible.
For the last three years, the Iranian regime has kept Khomeini under surveillance and has banned him from giving interviews to the Iranian media because of his criticism of the regime.
This report was translated by MEMRI.