TEHRAN (AFP) – The grandson of Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has spoken out against military interference in politics, in rare public comments ahead of elections, the press reported on Sunday.
Hassan Khomeini, a mid-ranking cleric who is the most prominent of Khomeini’s grandchildren, said his late grandfather had wanted the military to stay out of politics.
“One of the most important criteria for following the path laid out by the imam (Khomeini) is the presence, or not, of the military in politics,” he said in an interview with the Shahrvand weekly published on Sunday.
“Those who claim to be loyal to the imam should be very sensitive to this order, which was directly given by him.”
Hassan Khomeini is in charge of the care of the mausoleum of the late leader outside Tehran and is a leading figure in Iran’s Islamic system despite holding no official position.
He rarely makes comments, let alone such outspoken remarks, in public. With both Ayatollah Khomeini’s sons now dead, Hassan Khomeini is seen as the main family heir.
His comments come after the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jaafari, gave his backing to conservatives in the March 14 parliamentary elections but it was not clear if the interview was made after those remarks.
Hassan Khomeini said: “It is a criteria of fidelity to the line of imam Khomeini.
“If a soldier wants to enter into politics, he needs to forget the military as the presence of a gun in politics means the end of all dialogue.”
The Revolutionary Guards are Iran’s ideological army and many of its former members now hold prominent positions in government, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Hassan Khomeini’s comments on the army come just days after he bitterly criticised the disqualification of over 2,000 mainly reformist candidates from the election.
“This blade has not only decapitated you, it took off the heads of numerous friends in all the social groups and that is regrettable,” Hassan Khomeini was quoted as telling reformist leaders on Friday.
“No-one can prevent the people from deciding their future,” he added, according to the ISNA news agency.