Iran’s regime is embroiled in a major crisis stemming from the United States’ ‘maximum pressure’ campaign including new sanctions, Arab countries’ position against its regional warmongering, and the explosive situation of Iranian society. The regime’s increasing factional feuding is reflective of this crisis.
The Iranian regime is grappling with three major issues:
First is the international crisis over its nuclear and ballistic missile program that has led to biting sanctions against the regime’s oil industry.
Second is the regional crisis, a result of the regime’s regional meddling, terrorism and warmongering, and its establishment of proxy groups, all of which have united Iran’s neighbors against the regime.
Just last week, four Arab countries – Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain – in a joint statement, once again underlined the Iranian regime’s destructive role in the Middle East. The regime’s attack on Saturday on the Aramco oil facility in Saudi Arabia drew international condemnation notably from senior U.S. officials, with President Donald Trump ordering his Treasury Secretary to impose new sanctions on the regime.
The third crisis, which arguably is the root of the other crises, and which the regime fears immensely is the existence of a frustrated and angry society that could erupt at any time and lead to the downfall of the regime.
This situation rapidly turns every social problem that stems from the mullahs’ tyranny into a crisis for the regime. Take for example the self-immolation of Sahar Khodayari in protest to her arrest for trying to enter the Azadi Stadium to watch a soccer match. Her tragic death rapidly turned into a vast social issue, forcing the mullahs to take a position. In their most recent sermons, the regime’s Friday prayers leaders have echoed the regime’s panic and fear of social discontent which could erupt at any moment.
On September 13, Hossein Panahian, the Friday prayers leader in Tehran, lashed out at the rival faction, saying social issues have become bipolar and can enflame society at any time. Addressing the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani, he said: “We expect the respectable president to prevent his circle from mischiefs that would enflame the country.”
If Iran were a normal state, foreign pressure would likely rally solidarity among the regime’s ranks, but pressure on a body full of holes and gaps would certainly lead to its destruction.
The comments this week by the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei were another important sign of the critical situation and discord in the regime. Khamenei had remained silent for a considerable period. In his latest position, he evaded the crisis stemming from the attack on the Saudi oil facilities and simply discussed the issue of negotiations. His comments indicated that his regime is at a terminal impasse. His regime has to choose between death and suicide out of fear of death.