By Arash Karami, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
On the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranian officials and the media typically release statements and make speeches about the legacy of the leader who led the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
This year, for the 27th anniversary, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) conducted a rare interview for the occasion with Khomeini’s grandson Hassan, who is often referred to as the “remembrance of Khomeini” and is tasked with carrying the legacy of the Khomeini name. In the interview, the grandson made controversial remarks about Islam, the hijab and a former president currently under a media ban.
Hassan Khomeini, who registered to run in the Assembly of Experts elections but was controversially blocked by the hard-line Guardian Council, has had a difficult relationship with hard-liners. His political and religious views have mostly been in line with Reformists, though his avoidance of partisan politics and his position as custodian of Khomeini’s mausoleum and thus his legacy has shielded him from the harsh attacks other Reformist-minded clerics received.
That the hard-line IRIB would interview Hassan Khomeini on the anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s death is also a rare occurrence. According to Hassan’s website, the last time IRIB interviewed him for the occasion was in 2007. Hassan Khomeini even joked with the IRIB interviewer about this, saying, “Finally you stopped avoiding [me] and after years invited me to a TV [interview].”
During the two-hour interview, Hassan Khomeini was mostly invited to discuss his memories of the final years of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s personal life, and his religious and political views. However, Hassan Khomeini took the opportunity on a few occasions to present his own views on controversial domestic issues.