Iran: Regime Infighting Intensifies as Protests Spread Across the Country
Iranian oil workers went on strike and participated in anti-regime demonstrations as part of the country’s ongoing uprising. Parallel to the growing and escalating unrest, the regime’s internal conflicts, and officials’ contradictory statements have appeared with more frequency.
ُُThe enemy’s game
“In recent incidents, some [regime insiders] played the enemy’s game. It is regrettable to see some ambiguous statements in favour of the current unrest and rioters,” said Ahmadreza Shahrokhi, the leader of the Friday prayers in Khorramabad, on October 7, according to state TV.
The scale of the demonstrations is growing, revealing a tumultuous society and exposing the regime’s failure to put down what many consider to be Iran’s democratic revolution. The leaders of the three government branches met on Saturday, October 8, and it became clear that the regime is in a deadlock.
The state-run media
According to their statement, which was carried out by State TV, “the heads of the three government branches underlined national unity for the continued development and progress of the country and considered it necessary to maintain calm for economic activities and businesses.”
This declaration comes at a time when authorities shoot unarmed protesters, interrupt people’s online activities, and keep wasting the nation’s resources on terrorism, nuclear weapons, and missile programs.
The declaration also demonstrates that the crisis-plagued regime lacks any answers as nationwide protests sweep the nation. On October 8, the regime’s Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri stated that the “enemy zealously pursues spreading chaos.” Bagheri and other officials use the term “enemy” to refer to the Iranian people and their organized opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
“The very few scenes of chaos in some parts of the country, and the enemy’s focus on the ethnic and religious minorities, all indicate the enemy has waged a full-fledged war on [the regime]. In this war, the evil [MEK] and other terrorist grouplets act as the enemy’s pawns,” Bagheri was quoted as saying on the state-run Entekhab website on October 8.
Iranians view the ruling theocracy as their enemy
Indeed, the crimes committed by an occupying force pale in comparison to what the mullahs have done to the Iranian people over the past four decades, which is why Iranians view the ruling theocracy as their enemy. While the regime brutally persecutes protesters, officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have praised them, confirming that the regime’s only enemy is the Iranian people.
Some officials, however, call for more violence as the protests go on. The Entekhab website cited MP Ismail Kouthari as saying on October 10 that “security forces should be held accountable if they fail to uphold their responsibilities [in repressing protesters].”
There have been numerous statements in support of the Iranian people’s revolution as well as widespread condemnation of the atrocities committed by the regime. These are necessary but insufficient. However, the international community should go beyond condemnations and declarations. It should recognize the Iranian people’s right to self-defense and overthrow the regime in its entirety. Any delay in recognizing this right would allow Iran’s clerical regime to continue violating human rights with impunity.