The son of Iran’s Supreme Leader’s representative in Manchester is currently running as a Liberal Democrats candidate for a seat in parliament ahead of next week’s elections.
Ali Avaei, who has been a member of the party for more than a decade, immigrated to the UK in 2001 and is running for the Newcastle upon Tyne Central constituency. However, according to Radio Farda, a station which broadcasts in Iran but is funded by the US government, “many Iranians on social media have raised alarm, not just because his father is the representative of Iran’s authoritarian ruler, but also because his uncle Alireza Avaei was a long-time judicial official in Iran accused of involvement in human rights violations.”
The oppositionist website also reports that “Some Iranian critics have called Ali Avaei with the derogatory label “Aghazadeh”, a Persian word roughly meaning “prince”. The term is used for children of influential Islamic Republic regime insiders who enjoy many privileges, including studying or relocating abroad.”
According to the Liberal Democrats’ website, Avaei who worked previously as a pharmacist, believes the biggest threats to modern society “comes from environmental issues and helps to combat this by campaigning for recycling, reducing waste and cutting energy consumption across the community.”
In an interview with Manoto, a London-based Persian language TV station, Avaei said he is an “independent individual” and added that his party has a problem with all Middle Eastern governments and their aim is to bring these regimes closer to liberalism.