In his column on the Saudi news portal Elaph, Iraqi journalist 'Udai Hatem, who was persecuted by the Iranian regime and even forced to leave Iraq after criticizing Iran's presence and policies there, published an open letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, calling him "the worst dictator the human race has ever known." While recounting the persecution he and his family suffered at the hands of the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, Hatem accuses these militias, and their patron, the Iranian regime, of perpetrating crimes against the Iraqi people even worse than those of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He adds that the anti-Iran protests that have broken out in Iraq, led by Shi'ite elements, have exposed the true face of the Iranian regime and turned the climate in the country against it. He concludes by predicting that the day is near when the Iranian people themselves will rise up and overthrow their regime.
'Udai Hatem (Source: Elaph.com)
The following are translated excerpts from his column:
"You may not know me, just as you do not necessarily know all [the rest] of the victims of the terrorist militias you deploy in Iraq and in the other unfortunate countries that have become theaters for your score-settling with the East and the West and for barricades that keep threats away from your throne and your country…
"Addressing you fills me with shame, even if it is only to expose some of your crimes and your terror. But no disgrace that has befallen Iraq and the Iraqis throughout the history of their civilization can compare to the disgrace that has befallen them now, when their county has become just another small farm of the Iranian [ruling] jurisprudent [i.e., Khamenei]!! My only comfort is that you would have never defiled the Land of the Two Rivers [Iraq] had the American forces not brought you there in 2003 and allowed your militias and parties to take control of Iraq with iron and fire.
"I am now completing my sixth year [in exile, after] your militias forced me to leave my homeland, my house and my family, not for committing any crime but for clearly and openly opposing your influence and your attempt to impose a contemporary version of the Rule of the Jurisprudent in Iraq. Today all I can do is cry out the slogans 'down with Khamenei and long live Iraq… down with Khamenei and long live freedom of speech' in order to fight the assassinations and intimidation employed by your militias against journalists, activists and even ordinary citizens that spoke out against your influence in 2013 and early 2014. Back then, most Iraqis and Arabs probably hadn't yet heard of the [Iraqi] Hizbullah Brigades militia or even about the Thar Allah and Asaib [Ahl Al-Haqq militias], although they were [already] spilling plenty of Iraqi blood. This is because they perpetrated their crimes quietly, and former [Iraqi] prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki covered for them by providing them with badges [identifying them as part of Iraq's] National Security [Service], intelligence [forces] or other security apparatuses.
"I am one of hundreds and perhaps thousands of Iraqis who suffered the blood-soaked crimes of these militias early on. The truth is that I never, in my worst nightmares, dreamt that you, Khamenei, and your militias would be worse, crueler and more criminal [even] than Saddam [Hussein]. He at least refrained from kidnapping or arresting children, as your militias did to my daughter when she was not yet 10 years old. They invaded my home seeking to kidnap and murder me, but failing to find me, they kidnapped my daughter [instead], disregarding her young age, her fear and her cries. These militias perpetrated the same cowardly crime with the children of many [other] journalists and activists, using them to bargain [with the journalists and activists], pressure them, silence them or make them change their positions.
"I cannot forget those miserable and bitter days when I was left alone, without support, after elements loyal [to Iran] issued a fatwa calling to kill me. For those who do not know, the militias' clerics - similar to the array of jurisprudents [employed by] ISIS and Al-Qaeda - issue these fatwas before [their militias] kill someone they regard as an enemy, [someone] who cursed Khamenei or Khomeini or came out against the [Iranian] regime of the Rule of the Jurisprudent.
"In the course of 2013 and early 2014 I managed to leave Iraq and escape these criminal militias, which had no mercy even for my children. Were it not for the intervention of a senior cleric in Najaf, I may have lost them. [Even] today, when I have spent years in forced exile, these terrorist militias have not stopped warning and threatening [me]. They threaten even those who have left Iraq by [threatening] their families, friends or even colleagues still [in the country], so as to blackmail them or force them to keep silent… You are thus forced to stay away… in order to save your life from the silencers of the death militias. But this is a life without essence or hope, and your live it without [really] experiencing it and then wonder how time has passed by so quickly… You follow the news of your family, both happy and sad, [from afar]… your heart quaking with fear of losing your remaining loved ones while you are far from them …
"Do you [Khamenei] understand the magnitude of the tragedy of a person who is prevented from returning to his homeland to see his mother on her deathbed, [all] because of a madman [i.e., Khamenei] who claims authority over all Muslims and purports to represent the Mahdi, the Hidden [Imam], and to defend Islam and the Muslims, while in practice he is the one who destroyed Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and before them Lebanon, expelled their peoples, and went so far as to threaten them with death if they came back to their homeland, even for a visit. Do any disasters compare to those of the Iraqis?
"Khamenei, while you try to distract the Iraqis and the Arabs who have been exiled [from their countries] with [your] sectarianism and false slogans, you continue to rob Iraq's resources and steal the livelihood of the Iraqis and of other peoples and countries to augment your wealth and your sons' banks accounts in Switzerland, Russia, China, Britain and South Africa. According to the lowest estimates published by the office of [former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi] Rafsanjani before his death, which have also been confirmed by Western media, your son Mojtaba is worth over $60bn.
"Despite all your attempts, and the attempts of your media mouthpieces, to associate you with power, sanctity, frugality and piety, the Iraqis have exposed your true face and understood very well that you are the worst dictator humanity has ever known and the greatest criminal among all the tyrants in the history of the world. You perpetrated massacres and mass extermination against unarmed young people in Iraq who did nothing except take to the streets to demand employment and a source of livelihood. You issue fatwas for your militias and allow them to murder even children and destroy entire families just because a father, a son or a daughter dared to protest against your parties and militias or tweeted something against them. When your apparatuses of oppression lured Iranian journalist Ruhollah Zam [back to Middle East] and executed him,[ii] this was nothing but an attempt to intimidate and alarm even those who live far from your regime and your influence, and keep them from exposing your crimes and the crimes of your regime and your militias even with a few words on social media.
"Perhaps in 2013-2014 only a few [Iraqis] were opposing your parties and militias, and therefore it was possible to suppress them. But today Iraqis from Baghdad to Basra are crying out loud and clear: 'down with Khamenei'… No matter what you do, you will not be able to go back to the previous situation, so you have no choice but to flee Iraq [and try] to preserve your regime in Iran. But if your power leads you to perpetrate crimes, and arrogance renders you blind, you are bound to lose Iran as well, and much sooner than you think, for the public that is protesting today [in Iraq] is the Shi'ites, who have publicly declared that they do not believe in the Rule of the Jurisprudent, which contravenes the rules of conduct mandated by the laws of Shi'ite [Islam]. Soon the Iranians will realize this too, and then you will be overthrown and flee [the country] even faster than the Shah did in 1979."
 Elaph.com, December 29, 2020.
 Ruhollah Zam was an Iranian dissident who was executed in December 2020 for inspiring anti-regime protests through his Telegram channel. Zam had been living in France at the time of his arrest. The Iranian media claimed that agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had lured him back to the region in a "complex operation." News.sky.com, December 12, 2020. According to colleagues of Zam, he was told that Iraq's most prominent Shi'ite ayatollah, 'Ali Sistani, wanted to meet him and help him raise funds to establish a television station. At the insistence of a colleague, who was apparently also acting under pressure by the IRGC, Zam flew to Iraq, and two days later the IRGC reported that he had been arrested. Sistani's office denied any involvement in the affair. Bbc.com/Arabic, December 12, November 18, 2020.