Iran: Regime’s Impasse Intensifies as Domestic Opposition Grows
Any political observer listening to speeches by top officials in the Iranian state hierarchy would hear words like despair, frustration, and disappointment. Some may interpret it as the country’s leadership warning against natural social disorder as a result of the economic hardship that has resulted from international sanctions, but those who care enough to connect the dots will notice the consistency in Iran’s chaotic political environment.
My first piece of advice to you students is to avoid despair and hopelessness. Take care. It means “take care of yourself, take care of your heart, don’t be passive, don’t be disappointed,” said Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, to a handpicked crowd of followers on April 26. However, this “mood” is far from unique. On April 12, during a meeting with the regime’s highest officials, Khamenei expressed similar sentiments.
“Sluggishness is the opposite of arrogance, which is a disease as well as it is miserable,” the Supreme Leader said. “What does sluggishness mean? It is a weak spirit, to feel incapable, to feel helpless, that you can no longer hang on to. The feeling of impasse in everything. Sluggishness makes you feel like you are facing a deadlock and you just say, ‘nothing can be done anymore.’ This is a dangerous poison. For a manager, it is toxic to feel stuck. And the enemies try extremely hard to instill this feeling in all of us in various forms.
By meeting, talking, chanting, doing interviews, via the news, by some operational activities… they try to create despair, passivity, impasse, and the like among their opponents. This is damaging.”But there’s more to this impasse than meets the eye. Khamenei announced a new initiative called “Jihad of Clarification” on February 8 in a meeting with the regime’s Air Force’s staff and chain of command.
“‘Jihad of Clarification’ means we must do something so that no one can talk about the execution of the MEK any longer,” Gholamhossein Mahdavinejad, the Supreme Leader’s representative and Friday prayer leader in Semnan, said on March 11: “‘Jihad of Clarification’ means we must do something so that no one can talk about the execution of the MEK any longer.” It means that the MEK’s crimes, the US’s crimes, and Israel’s crimes must all be explained.”
On March 16, the IRGC-run Fars news agency quoted Abdolhossein Khosropanah, a member of the Qom Seminary, as saying, “Jihad of Clarification is a tool to deal with cognitive warfare.” “We’re dealing with cognitive warfare, which is a type of soft war.” The hypocrites [People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK)], sit behind their computers in Albania and constantly sow doubts in the minds of the youth about values, revolution, and Islam, are a battalion in this cognitive warfare.”
Whether the world believes Tehran’s Western mouthpieces or its delegations in covert and overt negotiations, the Iranian regime faces a fundamental problem at home. State-affiliated analysts and former officials have been warning their security apparatus for years that the real threats are within their borders.
“This is why the group of hypocrites deceives and attracts a large number of young people from all walks of life, from workers to honorable elite students,” the state-run website ‘Rahyafteha’ wrote on May 29, 2020. “These young men, devoid of their will, attack government buildings with bombs and weapons, incite riots and sedition, and sow the seeds of a sinister armed struggle in the hearts of the youth.”
No true superpower feels the need to wage war to demonstrate strength because no democratically elected leader fears domestic opposition. Tehran’s nuclear threats, the unveiling of underground missile cities, and the parade of hordes of militiamen through Iran’s and the Middle East’s streets are failing to deter millions of angry minds and hungry stomachs who are becoming more radical than ever.