- Published: Sunday, 19 January 2020
For eight years, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei was absent in the Friday prayers sermons of Tehran. Last Friday, however, he stepped on the stage to make his topic speeches especially after the death of his de facto chief deputy Qassem Soleimani, who had led the Revolutionary Guards Qods Force.
But in his speech, there were many unspoken issues. Basically, in dictatorial systems, people read the main words, not from the dictator's mouth but he avoids saying.
With the contradictions and major nodes plaguing the clerical system in all areas, some expected Khamenei to address some of them on Friday, and to give a clear perspective to the authorities and factions active in his government.
But Khamenei, in a repetitive speech, without mentioning the people's main demands, pointed to things that were his primary concerns and threats that he felt, which are shaking the foundations of his regime. It was for these reasons that he arranged to attend the latest Friday prayers.
In his remarks, Khamenei hardly mentioned the country's current major political and economic crises, international relations, the Ukrainian plane crash or the floods of Sistan and Baluchistan. But he tackled a bigger problem, that is, the crisis of illegitimacy that has been symbolized in the people's protest slogans.
Last week, Iranian protesters in some cities and universities came out and shouted, "No to the Shah, no to the [Supreme] Leader, we want neither bad nor worse " and "Down with the tyrant - whether the Shah or the [Supreme] Leader."
Khamenei, who correctly understood the main message of the people, sought to regain legitimacy for himself and his regime by presenting himself on stage and creating another massive crowd.
With the death of Qassem Suleimani, a very serious strategic blow to Khamenei and the mullahs' regime has taken place. In addition to having their power lost in the area, such a blow would be automatically transmitted to the entire Quds Force in the region and subsequently to all its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Basijis within the country, with significant power loss.
By organizing a show for Qassem Soleimani he tried to cover up the effects of the November uprising and regain the atmosphere inside the country again.
But with the massacre in Kerman and then with the crash of the Ukrainian plane, all that was blown by the wind, and student movements were restarted and immediately took to the streets.
Khamenei clearly saw that the movement of the people, although not as extensive as that of November, but was very radicalized and strong, targeting the main pillars of the regime.
The impact of the popular protests early last week was so strong that calls for Khamenei's resignation were prompted by even many regime agents inside the country. In an open letter to Khamenei, Mehdi Karroubi declared:
"Khamenei lacks the requisite wisdom, courage, management, and power to lead." He went even further, in addition to condemning Khamenei for the crime of downing of a Ukrainian plane, he referred to his past crimes, writing:
"Direct responsibility for other incidents, including lack of careful scrutiny of the serial killings, election fraud and bloody repression of the 2009 protesters, the crackdown on the protesters in 2018, and ultimately the repression of the people who have been hurt by the gasoline price hike in November 2019, are Khamenei's responsibility." And he demanded that Khamenei step down immediately.
Faezeh Hashemi also saw the conditions of the country so bad and the Vali-e Faqih (Supreme Leader) so timid that she dared to say to Khamenei: "He must step down." Letters with various signatures calling for Khamenei's resignation have become commonplace and the regime's illegitimacy is so high that after the plane crash, and the scandals about it, 78 journalists sent a letter, shouted and demanded an end to this cycle of lies.
The refusal of some artists to participate in the regime's Fajr Decade programs, and the announcement of the departure of some of the celebrities of this regime, alerted Khamenei so that if he was late, nothing would be left for him and his regime.
But the main reason that prompted Khamenei to organize the latest Friday prayers’ sermon with the presence of, military and administrative agents, was that the rebellion youths burned widely the images of Qassem Soleimani, which he did not expect so soon, and that the people supported these acts.
If we want to unfold Khamenei's untold remarks in the Friday prayers - his view of the killing of 176 innocent people of the Ukrainian plane was that he did not care about it and that the authorities were following his issue.
Another subject that he did not mention was about the latest floods in Sistan and Baluchistan. In his view, such events are normal and ongoing in the country, and he did not even need to name them.
When it comes to people's economic hardships, his only advice to them was that they must wait and should have patience.
Apart from the fact that these subjects have no worth for him, Khamenei emphasized the position of the Quds Force so much that he called them "ideal fighters without borders" who were able to secure the security of his caliphate beyond the country's borders.
He tried to save face about the crises of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) which he is stuck in and profaned the three European countries that lunched the trigger mechanism and claimed Germany gave Saddam's Hossein’s government chemical weapons, and France had helped Saddam by giving Dassault Super Étendard.
But he forgot that these European countries and their appeasement policy had put his most serious enemy, the MEK/PMOI, on the terrorist list for years (subsequently delisted by main courts in Europe and the US) and created the 17 June disaster. And while U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, these same European countries had tried their best to keep the JCPOA alive for his regime.
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