Khomeini Kin Assails Fundamentalist Rule
September 26, 2003
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- The grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, symbol of Iran's Islamic revolution, said Friday his countrymen live in a depressed state that will persist until they are freed from strict fundamentalist rule.
Hossein Khomeini, who bears some resemblance to the man who launched the uprising against the pro-American shah's government 24 years ago, said the lack of organized resistance to the mullah-led system makes him pessimistic about the prospects for change in his homeland.
"The Iranian people want democracy," Khomeini said. "Religion and government cannot be one and the same."
Dressed in traditional Iranian garb, Khomeini spoke through a translator to a large gathering of Iranian exiles and American experts on Iran at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
His grandfather's revolution overthrew a pro-Western monarchy and made Iran one of the world's most vigorously anti-American countries. "Death to America" rallies in Tehran and elsewhere were commonplace.
Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989, but his revolution lives, with like-minded clerics making virtually all key decisions. Iranians elected a moderate president in 1997, but his powers have remained limited.
Hossein Khomeini, 45, spent time this past summer in Iraq, where he praised the U.S. ouster of Saddam Hussein's government and said he believes the Iranian people would accept American military intervention if no other way existed to achieve freedom.
"The U.S. invasion is really a blessing for the people of Iraq," he said. In contrast, he said, "Iranians are frustrated, not hopeful but lacking a movement to bring about their yearning to be free."
"The regime stifles the psyche and the soul, creating hateful individuals," he said. http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/breaking_news/6870666.htm