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Increased Infighting Reflects Depth of Crisis in Iran’s Regime

Infighting in Iranian regime's Parliament (file photo)
Infighting in Iranian regime’s Parliament (file photo)

In recent days, infighting by the Iranian regime’s rival factions has reached new heights. These infightings indicate the regime’s and society’s critical situation.

This new round of infighting by the mullahs’ regime started following remarks by the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on October 12 during which he sarcastically told his regime’s president Hassan Rouhani and his faction to “not be afraid.”

“Some people [Rouhani] speak of ‘rationality.’ But what they really mean by that is ‘fear.’ When they say ‘be rational,’ they mean ‘be afraid, be passive, and run away from the enemy.’ No, cowards are not allowed to speak of rationality.”

Rouhani reacted to this by sarcastically comparing Khamenei with the Prophet of Islam, saying: “Even the Prophet ruled on the basis of law and treaties.” In Iran, under the mullahs’ rule, the supreme leader is above all the laws and regulations.

Rouhani’s remarks increased the infighting. The state-run Keyhan daily, known as Khamenei’s mouthpiece, on Thursday wrote: People expect work, not the rewriting of history.

The regime’s Parliament: Peak of the infightings

Ali Asghar Anabestani, MP of the regime Majles, on Thursday referring to Rouhani’s new mask, said: “The country has been left on its own, and people are desperate in providing their needs, and they are struggling under the poverty line. Yet, the president is busy saving himself. Shame on you for ashaming our nation.”

Mojtaba Zolnouri, head of the parliament’s National Security Commission, said: “The overwhelming majority will not be satisfied with less than your dismissal and punishment. By your logic, [Khamenei] should order you to be executed a thousand times to satisfy the hearts of the people.”

Although Zolnouri threatened Rouhani, he also referred to the people’s growing hatred of the regime. During the two nationwide Iran protests, people chanted “Reformist, hardliner, the game is over” and they boycotted the regime’s sham parliamentary elections.

The officials IRNA news agency on October 16 wrote: “If the will of the people is the criterion, major changes must take place. In addition, it seems that if the punishment of the officials is on the agenda, many of them will be ahead of Rouhani.”

The state-run Ebtekar daily, close to Rouhani’s faction, on Sunday warned the rival faction of the consequences of their threats against Rouhani. “The hardliners try to fish in the troubled water of our society, where [people] criticize the daily economic and social situation. Now instead of criticizing the government, [those from the rival faction] chose insults. Aren’t they igniting a fire whose smoke goes into their own eyes?” the article said.

The state-run Seday-e Eslahat, or Voice of Reform, lashed out at the members of parliament on Sunday: “Rouhani’s performance in the second term of his presidency is not defensible and his inaction has ruined his image. But what have you done for the people since June? [Since the new parliament started working.] What decision have you made in favor of the people that you are attacking Rouhani?”

“Why are you insulting Rouhani? If you say his action brought the country to this point, why wouldn’t you impeach him?” the article added.

Reason for regime’s increasing infighting

Of course, this Parliament is unable to impeach Rouhani. The major Iran protests rattled the regime’s foundations. Thus, Khamenei tries to prevent any incident that could lead to an uprising. The impeachment of Rouhani and the widening rift at the top could result in an uprising.

But, if the rival faction is unable to take any action against the government, why do they openly call for Rouhani’s execution or impeachment?

Iran is engulfed in crises. After having failed in blaming sanctions or the “enemy” for the country’s economic and social hardships, now each faction tries to blame the other. In a nutshell, both factions are terrified of the restive Iranian society and its looming explosion.

The regime in its entirety is unable to manage its crises, such as the economic and COVID-19 crises. Both factions know that the ultimate result of these crises is the regime’s downfall.

In other words, as Ebtekar daily wrote on Monday, “social observation shows it does not matter to most people whether reformists or hardliners work in government or parliament.”

As the state-run Diplomacy Irani website wrote on Friday: “There is now a much more serious platform for riots and protests than last autumn … The country is on the verge of complete collapse and we cannot ignore this potential threat.”