The sister of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei criticised the "authoritarian" rule in the country, declaring her support for the protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a letter published by her son yesterday appears to show.
Badri Hosseini Khamenei, who is believed to be in Iran, said in a message shared by her France-based son, Mahmoud Moradkhani: "I think it is appropriate now to declare that I oppose my brother's actions and I express my sympathy with all mothers mourning the crimes of the Islamic Republic, from the time of Khomeini to the current era of the despotic caliphate of Ali Khamenei."
"My concern has always been and will always be the people, especially the women of Iran."
Badri Khamenei accused the regime of "bringing nothing but suffering and oppression to Iran and Iranians" since it was established following the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the shah.
"The people of Iran deserve freedom and prosperity, and their uprising is legitimate and necessary to achieve their rights. I hope to see the victory of the people and the overthrow of this tyranny ruling Iran soon," she added.
"Ali Khamenei's Revolutionary Guards and mercenaries should lay down their weapons as soon as possible and join the people before it is too late."
Badri Khamenei wrote: "My brother does not listen to the voice of the people of Iran and wrongly considers the voice of his mercenaries and money-grabbers to be the voice of the Iranian people. He rightly deserves the disrespectful and impudent words he uses to describe the oppressed but brave people of Iran."
Iran has been witnessing protests since the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian of Kurdish origin, at the age of 22 on 16 September, after she was arrested by the morality police for violating the country's dress codes.
While authorities have said more than 200 people had been killed in the unrest, the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO) said security forces killed at least 458 protesters, including 63 children.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, accused the US and its allies of fuelling the protests, most of which Tehran has sought to portray as "riots".