After a nine-day delay, remarks from Ali Khamenei’s most recent public appearance were published on his website and by Iran’s state media on June 21. This alone is very revealing and begs important questions. His speech provides insight into the problems facing the Iranian mullahs’ regime.“Today the enemy is focusing its efforts on making the people believe there is no future, that we are facing an impasse and a dead-end.
This is aimed at pushing people into reaching this conclusion that we are on the wrong path and that state officials do not know how to manage the country,” Khamenei said on June 12. From his comments, it is clear that Khamenei’s regime is in a state of turmoil.
It is also abundantly clear that he is responding to the protest chants of recent weeks and months, as Iranians across the country have grown weary of the leadership of regime President Ebrahim Raisi, who was personally chosen by Khamenei to lead the regime last year. Daily, protesters chant the following in every Iranian city:
“Death to Raisi!” “[Raisi] is a liar!” “Death to this deceiving government!”This decision to not publish Khamenei’s noteworthy remarks was reportedly made by regime officials nine days ago. The regime officials were forced to publish Khamenei’s unprecedented remarks due to the rapid pace of events in Iran and the widespread protests by Iranians from all walks of life.
Khamenei also attacked those in charge of state media, criticizing their reporting on a recent theft from a safe at a significant Tehran bank as well as the negative coverage of state police units that raised concerns. The response of Khamenei to theft is unprecedented in the history of the regime, raising questions about the sensitivity of the items taken from the safe accounts and necessitating public statements from Khamenei himself.
Although the rising number of protests in Iran is what prompted Khamenei’s comments, the regime’s own ranks and files were Khamenei’s intended audience. This is especially true for senior regime officials who have developed strong opinions against Raisi and his cabinet as a result of the growing protests. Concerning divisions among regime officials, including those in his closest circle, Khamenei is working to mend them. The recent comments made by members of the Majlis (regime’s parliament) are, to put it mildly, quite telling.
Seyed Naser Mousavi Laregani stated on June 21 that pensioners and retirees “deserve more respect” and “should not feel compelled to take to the streets following incompetent decisions made by an inexperienced minister.”
“The cost of various goods is rising hourly… The government hasn’t offered any market-related solutions and isn’t considering changing the status quo. Sadif Badri, a different Majlis member, stated on June 19 that “people are being crushed under heavy economic pressures due to officials’ mismanagement.”
This response is not unique to these statements and comes from a Majlis that was purportedly hand-selected by Khamenei and his apparatus with the intention of supporting Raisi’s government. A second cabinet minister may soon be impeached or forced to resign after Raisi’s labour minister was recently forced to resign. One Majlis member even went so far as to express gratitude for the Labor Minister’s resignation and expressed hope that the “other remaining incapable and incompetent ministers… also show the same courage and call it quits.”
Raisi was Khamenei’s final shot, and if Raisi fails, Khamenei’s position as the regime’s supreme leader will unquestionably come to an end. In addition, Khamenei’s most recent speech suggests that his government is at a major standstill and that Raisi represents the end of the mullahs’ rule.