EDITORIAL: Iran: What Khamenei Said – and What He Did Not Say
In a meeting with a group of students, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei talked about on the current state of the regime and made policy recommendations for his officials.
Remarkably, missing from Khamenei’s remarks were the ongoing uprisings in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of protesters have been calling for the ouster of the mullahs’ regime from their country.
Continued protests in Iraq and Lebanon herald the beginning of the end of one of the two main pillars of the regime’s survival, i.e., meddling in other countries and exporting terrorism and fundamentalism.
Last week, as protests raged in Iraq and Lebanon, a paranoid Khamenei hastily called on both regime to “remedy the insecurity,” adding, “The people of Iraq and Lebanon should know that their priority should be security. The peoples of these countries should know that their demands can only be met in the context of legal structures.”
Predictably, Khamenei’s remarks further enraged the people of Iraq, who have revolted against Tehran’s meddling in Iraq Khamenei’s brazen interference had the opposite effect as the Iraqi youths and people set fire to his and the notorious Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani’s pictures. Videos of protesters spitting and throwing shoes at pictures of Khamenei and Soleimani were widely distributed on social media.
On Sunday, Iraqi protestors stormed the Iranian regime’s consulate in Karbala, one of Shiite Islam’s holiest cities and shut it down.
Khamenei’s remarks underlined his desperation in the face of dramatic changes in the regional equilibrium and on the international scene.. In his remarks, Khamenei warning the ruling factions against entering into negotiations with the US, characterizing it as detrimental to the viability of the regime.
Boasting that the regime has developed high-precision missiles with a “range of 2000 km”, Khamenei said: “If we enter into negotiations, the Americans would push for the issue of our missiles… If our officials ever accepted that, the country would receive a serious blow, and if they don’t, the current situation would continue.” He said those who think negotiations with the US will solve all of our problems are 100 percent wrong.
The U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 saying that it did not do enough to prevent the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear bombs and curbing its destructive policies in the Middle East region. In past few years, the Iranian regime used the economic windfall of the nuclear deal to fund its ballistic missile program and ratchet up its terrorist intervention in the countries of the Middle East.
On the same day that Khamenei was discussing his regime’s crises, his foreign minister Javad Zarif, was busy giving his own account of the irremediable problems the regime faces in the Majlis (parliament).
He reiterated his devotion to the regime and its leader, saying, “Look at what the U.S. Secretary of State has said. I’m renowned for being a diehard defender of the establishment. You have heard what the U.S. State Secretary has said about me, which is my honor… After years of living in the west, I’m not enamored of negotiating with the westerners. “
While Khamenei tried to dissociate himself with any failure pertaining to negotiations, his record paints a totally different picture. In 2015, while Zarif and Hassan Rouhani were in the midst of hammering the final details of the JCPOA, Khamenei tried to take credit for the entire process and presented himself as the initiator of the negotiations through “one of the respected members of the region.”
He also described the nuclear negotiations as “heroic flexibility” and claimed to have managed every single detail of the entire process. But now that the JCPOA and the idea of negotiating with the West is falling apart, he’s trying to lay the blame on Rouhani and his foreign minister. This effort will only further widen the regime’s internal schism.
The other reality is the regime’s collapsing hegemony in the region, especially in Iraq and Lebanon, countries that Iranian officials have described as the “strategic depth” of the regime. As the avalanche of protests continue to bear down, Khamenei and his regime find themselves increasingly cornered and without a way out.
What Khamenei said—and didn’t say—tell much about the strategic deadlock that is closing in on his regime and the deadly crises he and his regime are faced with.