The Iranian regime’s official website published a speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in which he warned various regime officials and entities about criticizing regime President Ebrahim Raisi and his administration. He made an unprecedented statement on June 12: “Whoever pushes the nation into being pessimistic about the country’s officials is, willingly or unwillingly, working in favor of the enemy!”
While Khamenei’s orders usually galvanized his supporters, members of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) who are close to Khamenei were seen literally lashing out at Raisi just one day after his remarks published on June 21.
“Mr. Raisi! The prices of various goods are skyrocketing… Mr. Raisi, your corrupt and inefficient bureaucratic system is suffocating the nation, claimed Majlis member Ali Asghar Anabestani. Even more aggressively, a different Majlis member singled out Khamenei. “Aside from our criticism of Khamenei himself, why should we be terrified of being disqualified if we voice critique about the apparatus associated with the Supreme Leader?” asked Hashem Sabaghian.
A senior religious official in the mullahs’ government named Naser Makarem Shirazi harshly criticized Raisi’s administration as well. “People are fed up with high prices. Rent and mortgage rates are skyrocketing. People are angry and asking why are senior religious figures silent while we have time and again issued warnings to the Raisi administration,” he said.
Why are those closest to Khamenei, including those chosen for the “young Hezbollahi administration” and the “revolutionary Majlis,” criticizing Raisi and Khamenei just one day after the regime leader’s most recent warnings? This is the same Khamenei who, in 2020, carried out a significant political purge and nearly exterminated the entire faction linked to the then-regime president Hassan Rouhani.
Just one day later, Khamenei went one step further by barring former Majlis speaker Ali Larijani and Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the regime’s first supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini, from participating in the regime’s sham presidential election, paving the way for Raisi’s selection. Again, the question is: Why are the regime’s own officials putting more pressure than ever before on Khamenei and Raisi? Why is Khamenei unable to silence them?
These facts demonstrate unequivocally that Khamenei’s plan to invest in Raisi and develop him into his successor has failed miserably. Despite Raisi’s long history of horrifying executions and human rights violations, the regime’s Supreme Leader wanted to intimidate Iran’s unruly society to put an end to all demonstrations and have Raisi make empty promises to the Iranian people in order to temporarily silence them
However, Iran has seen a rise in protests and uprisings ever since the day Raisi took office. Even the head of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Hossein Salami, has referred to the current wave of demonstrations as the “epicenter of all enmities” against the mullahs’ government. On the other hand, protesters of all backgrounds from all over Iran regularly chant “Death to Raisi!”
This is a blatant sign that Khamenei’s plan has run aground and that the regime and the Iranian people and their organized resistance are losing ground inside Iran. Significant unrest is occurring within Khamenei’s ranks and file as a result of his previous hegemony eroding. Khamenei’s warnings and directives are not even being heeded by those in his office and inner circle.