Earlier this year, Ali Khamenei, the clerical regime’s Supreme Leader, displayed concern over the fate of his own project. His initiative was a carefully planned consolidation of power that kick-started by the end of 2020 through a tightly vetted parliament, followed by selecting Ebrahim Raisi and his hand-picked cabinet for the executive branch, and ended by reshaping the Judiciary and replacing governors with former commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In his speech, Khamenei directed the leaders of the three branches of power to prioritize “unity” and “collaboration” over rivalry and friction. However, as these intentions failed to materialize, Khamenei spoke out more explicitly on April 22, emphasizing that “People all over the country need to hear this: the three branches of power must work together, support each other, and enhance collective efforts. The Constitution provides a solid framework for these branches to align effectively. If far-reaching collaboration is achieved among them, obstacles and issues will be avoided. It’s imperative for the nation’s officials not to impede one another; instead, they should foster cooperation and a conducive environment.”
For decades, Khamenei has been unable to resolve internal contradictions and has only found a way forward by implementing a strategy of eliminating disobedient elements and tightening his grip on the state. As a result, he only resorts to removal and manipulation, further narrowing the hierarchy of his regime.
On August 7, the state-run website Ham-Mihan addressed the systematic trend of removal and dismissals within the system, likening Khamenei’s regime to a train, stating: “Getting off this train is only a matter of when rather than if. Trying to embark in a circle that tends to narrow doesn’t make sense either. This circle is inherently limited and its capacity is completed quickly and does not accommodate more passengers. Therefore, from time to time, a group must disembark, and this process will continue. Like a hungry snake with a long body that unwittingly begins to eat its own tail, and the more it eats, the smaller it becomes and its capabilities shrink.”
The recent years’ trajectory of the clerical dictatorship under the leadership of Khamenei accurately reflects the validity of these statements. In order to attain his desired “young and hezbollahi government,” which he believed would be able to suppress the inevitable public revolts and escape his overthrow, Khamenei sidelined the so-called reformist faction and even those who branded themselves as “moderate.”
Candidates of #Iran’s sham presidential election, such as Ebrahim Raisi, Ali Larijani, and Eshaq Jahangiri, have for 40 years played major roles in crimes against humanity, warmongering, war crimes, repression, censorship, terrorism, and plundering.https://t.co/J3cnTr9NQ9
— Mohammad Mohaddessin (@Mohaddessin) May 15, 2021
In doing so, he significantly undermined specific inclinations in the Western countries that, under the guise of reform, were sustaining the appeasement approach toward Iran’s terrorist regime.
In order to bring Raisi to power, Khamenei even removed his close advisor Ali Larijani. Not even prominent security figures like Hossein Taeb were exempt from this policy, and speculations about the removal of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the Speaker of the regime’s parliament, also emerged. The parliament, which was purged by the Guardian Council at the end of 2020, is now one of the most ardent opponents of the Raisi administration, and several of its cabinet members have faced impeachment.
Mohammad Reza Bahonar, who was a part of the presidium of the regime’s parliament until he was sidelined in 2016, now says, “Some advocate for purification and insist that one’s principles must be pure, and you must be very aligned with hezbollahi views. They regard people like us as being outside of this circle.”
Another passenger who has been forcefully “disembarked” the train is Hassan Biadi, a former deputy of the Tehran City Council. In an interview on August 6, he sarcastically commented on the fragmentation of the current ruling factions, stating, “It’s interesting that the very group that was in total synchronous has now splintered into different factions. This indicates that their actions have been foolish, delusional, and without a plan, and they haven’t yielded results.”
However, the course of division, fragmentation, and elimination isn’t confined to the later years of the fundamentalist regime alone. The clerical gang that once opportunistically seized the momentum and hijacked the popular revolution in 1979 only united for power sharing, without a genuine commitment to anything that would serve the nation.
Consequently, by facing existential threats from inside or outside, these fragile alliances crumble and shatter. In 1988, when the then Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, saw his regime’s survival jeopardized, he dismissed his own deputy, Hossein Ali Montazeri. Similarly, Khamenei couldn’t tolerate Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who played a significant role in his ascent to power.
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) May 21, 2013
Today, in his pursuit of staying in power, Khamenei spares no one. As Iran’s Resistance Movement gains traction among the people, the regime’s process of contraction and self-destructive tendencies will accelerate even further.
On August 22, 2022, marking the 41st anniversary of the founding of the National Council of Resistance, the NCRI released its yearly statement. This statement summarized the events of the previous year and outlined the organization’s future roadmap.
The statement reads in part, “The clerical regime, aiming to overcome its shattering fractions at the top and protect itself from impending uprisings that imperil its existence and to avert an unavoidable overthrow, has designated Ebrahim Raisi, the Henchman of the 1988 massacre, as its president. Yet, in effect, it has essentially orchestrated its own downfall. It is like a scorpion surrounded by flames that eventually stings itself. The ascension of Raisi to power is the best demonstration of the Supreme Leader’s fear of the uprising and his political demise.”