State Media Criticism of Regime Increases as Widespread Dissatisfaction Grows
Over the past few months, Iranian state media outlets have become increasingly critical of the regime. The remarkable change in tone demonstrates that dissatisfaction with the Iranian regime is so universal that the mullahs are no longer able to censor their own media from broadcasting it. This represents a massive failure on the part of a repressive regime that depends on complete control of its people to maintain its rule.
On May 26, the state-run Etamad Online website posted an interview with Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, President of the Iranian Flour Makers Association and Chairman of the Food Industry Associations Association. His remarks were an example of some of the recent overt criticisms of the regime that have been carried by state media.
Mr. Reza discussed the corruption that has led to a massive inequality in the distribution of wealth. He said: “As an employer, we add 30 percent to workers’ wages each year, until at the end of the year, the financial turmoil and financial oligarchy that exists, take 50 percent out of the pockets of the workers. We put money in their pockets, they (the regime) take it. In Iran, rich people came into being who, I have never seen before. The accumulation of wealth is in the hands of a few. I have seen buildings where the cost of the elevator is as much as the wealth of 40 workers. This is discrimination and the money of theft. This hatred does not go unnoticed by the workers and leads to workers’ revolutions. This hatred becomes a social grudge.”
Reza explained that resentment had grown so deep that another revolution is inevitable. “I remember on the day of the revolution, some people went to houses and took houses and sat in houses and apartments and … they said who said they belonged to them? I see that day and it is as clear to me as the daylight that they will capture this “Busty Hills” (place of regime’s extremely wealthy people). I mean, as someone who knows and looks at society, and I see that this hatred is growing,’ he said.
The MEK Iran has written frequently about the inevitability of the regime’s overthrow. Economic resentment sparked the 2017/2018 Uprisings, as well as the November 2019 Uprisings. More than 80 percent of the Iranian people live below the poverty line, while regime leaders and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) control 40 percent of the country’s wealth.
Reza also railed against government corruption. “While we have not yet used the municipal services, the municipality wants money, under the table, on the table, or both. They commit extremely large corruption. They gave legitimacy to theft. As long as you give money to the delegates and then suffocate the delegates with money, in this country, nothing will be on the right way. Whoever is a sponger does not pay taxes, whoever is a thief does not pay taxes. This is a country with so much wealth. Whatever they steal, it doesn’t end,” he said.
Reza’s complaint is in reference to Revolutionary Guards members and other officials who manage the foundations affiliated with regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The foundations are not taxable, and the officials who manage them are powerful and corrupt enough to demand bribes. Because they answer only to Khamenei, no one can hold them accountable for their actions.
Finally, Reza discussed the regime’s treatment of workers. Workers in Iran have almost no rights, and it is routine for paychecks to be delayed for months. Those who protest for delayed wages or basic rights are imprisoned, flogged, or even tortured. Reza warned about the effects of flogging workers. He said: “A poor teacher or worker has been flogged for just demanding his rights, and the one who does not give the workers’ rights owns a palace. The palace of the Shah is nothing in front of what they [the regime] are building.”
Reza ended with the same prediction that has been voiced by the MEK Iran: “Ladies and gentlemen! Be witnesses in this interview, I said that one day the poor will burn down these palaces.”