Kadivar: You are right that the Shiite theocracy in its present form has failed -- a fact that few have expressed as clearly as my teacher in the last few months. Incidentally, when Grand Ayatollah Montazeri had his falling out with Khomeini, three months before the supreme religious leader's death in 1989, he said: This state is so different from the one we dreamed of and worked to create. Still, it is not Islam which has failed, but rather a particular interpretation of Islam. I also want to express that there hasn't been a revolution in Iran yet. The opposition is becoming increasingly clear in the formulation of its objectives and more daring. Still, we need to remain patient. I do not know when, exactly, but I am convinced that the regime will collapse.
SPIEGEL: Can the West do anything to support a democratic reform process?
Kadivar: The tightening of sanctions is not the right path ahead. They affect the people more than the government. A military attack is something I categorically reject. Perhaps Western countries should stop treating Ahmadinejad's government as the legitimate government of Iran. Otherwise, I think the reforms must be pushed forward from inside the country.
SPIEGEL: Do you still keep a picture of Khomeini on the wall in your apartment in Iran?
Kadivar: I took the Khomeini portrait down a long time ago, and neither have I put up a photo of my mentor, Montazeri. It has been replaced with a Koran verse: God is greater than anything.
Interview conducted by Erich Follath