Iran’s major uprising has become the longest social upheaval, posing an existential threat to the ruling theocracy and demoralizing the oppressive forces. As officials see the regime’s downfall on the horizon, their infightings increase.
Demonstrations span across Iran, and videos from hundreds of cities show fearless protesters, mainly women, and youth, standing their ground and clashing with the regime’s oppressive forces. In spite of the regime’s brutal crackdown, which has so far left over 400 deaths, Iranian citizens are determined to unshackle their country from the yoke of the world’s top-sponsor state of terrorism.
This perseverance has rattled the regime’s forces, in line with the regime’s increasing international isolation. A video from Tehran, where protests happen every night, shows Hossain Ashtari, the commander of the State Security Forces (SSF), giving a pep talk to a group of its subordinates.
The presidential economic deputy Mohsen Rezaei said today: “The enemy is seeking to strike Iran by disbanding the IRGC and ditching the Supreme Leader.”
As the uprising continues to surge across Iran and state officials’ lies that “riots have settled down” becomes more irrelevant, more and more of the regime’s insiders speak out against the Supreme Leader and lay bare the vulnerability that Khamenei wanted to hide all along.
Questioning the Supreme Leader’s strategy, former intelligence official Abbas Abdi told the state-run Baharnews on October 25: “Principally, having the power to adapt to the circumstances is necessary for survival and evolution. However, one can ask, why is this false proposition still prevalent? Especially in the case of governments, some statements suggest that retreating or making a compromise is equivalent to destruction. So, insisting on traditional positions is considered equivalent to success and victory?”
Comparing the regime to other overthrown regimes in history, Abbas Abdi warns that if the regime continues the same path downward, the regime will face the same fate.
Warning that internet censorship will inflict more costs on the regime, the state-run newspaper Setareh Sobh wrote: “Shutting down the internet accumulates hatred in people’s chests and finally shows itself on the street and is going to be costly for the country. Therefore, restricting access to Instagram and WhatsApp not only silences the protest but also increases the consequences of the protest. It seems that the authorities are lagging behind the demands of the people and this lagging behind causes imbalance. Dissatisfaction renders the protest to sometimes be expressed in the form of violence, which is costly for both the people and the government.”
Signifying the regime’s decision to ban Instagram and WhatsApp, Gholamreza Jalali, head of the regime’s Passive Defense Organization, said: “These two platforms (Instagram and WhatsApp) have shown in the past that they are not subject to the laws of the Islamic Republic and refused to accept the conditions defined for them by the Ministry of Communications. In recent incidents, they coordinated with the enemy abroad and this has been proven. Therefore, the country’s Security Council decided to stop the activity of these platforms.”
During his speech at the Friday prayer sermon, Ahmadreza Shahrokhi, the Supreme Leader’s representative in Khoramabad said: “The managers’ knowledge concerning their subordinates and the ones whose qualifications they approve is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that people have been arrested who work in our administrative system and are in contact with the rioters. They also write things on the internet that provoke rioters. Hence, we need an administrative restructuring in this regard.”
MP Ahmad Rastineh Hafeshjani acknowledged that internet restrictions are the decision of the state and will continue as long as the uprising holds.
The state-run Jamaran website reported: “During 4 weeks of protests that started in Tehran and many other cities, the internet was disrupted or completely shut down in tense times. The popular WhatsApp and Instagram applications were also “filtered” and until today, there has been no clear response from the authorities regarding the lessening of the restrictions. Ahmed Rastineh, a member of the parliament’s Cultural Commission told Jamaran: ‘As long as the security issues are not resolved and peace and comfort of the people are not provided, it is possible that this situation will continue.”
According to Jamaran, the regime’s Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi has refused to give any date and time for when the internet will return to normal.
Ghorbanali Najafabadi, the Supreme Leader’s representative in Markazi province told the state-run Aftab TV network on October 13: “These incidents occurred in the worst timing possible. We are supposed to have school openings after three years of lockdown. Well, now a minor incident happened in a distant corner, for which someone was to blame. Someone might or might not. We don’t know. The judicial system should really determine who is to blame. They opened the country to chaos. After chaos came disturbance, and then a lot of cruelty happened. We had a woman who passed away and the reason is unknown. But more than 40-50 of the country’s best youths were martyred directly and indirectly by bullets or without it.”
“They took out guns and bang, bang. Raided police centers and killed IRGC commanders. They martyred our dear IRGC Defense Unit commander as well as other martyrs. They did this in Tehran, in Sanandaj, and in Saqqez, everywhere. I am really touched by these dear young people who were brutally martyred (referring to the killed security forces). It’s like we are sitting on a tree and we are sawing the main trunk of this tree.”
The state-run Farhikhtegan daily wrote: “This generation doesn’t want a dark future. Authorities cannot guide adolescents to their desired path with restrictions. This generation heard our advice via the TV and radio but changed its path because they have different demands than the previous generation. We cannot change their opinions with an hour or two of talking.”
Mohammad Sadr, a member of the Expediency Council told the state-run Jamaran website: “What has caused this riot is the way we have governed in the last two decades. The Shah did have a strong army and secret police, dominated the state media, and had foreign support. And yet, he abdicated because he didn’t have people’s support. Now young people feel humiliated. A government can’t manage a country with an iron fist.”
Former MP Ali Shakouri-Rad said: “Plainclothes agents enter the protesting crowd and chant ugly slogans. They break and destroy public property, pull veils from women’s heads, set fire to the Quran and the mosque, and sometimes they accidentally get killed among the protesters. But they are considered martyrs, their funerals are shown on the national media, and they are honored.”
Fiercely reacting to the former MP’s comments, the ‘Iran’ newspaper, which the Raisi administration runs, claimed Shakouri-Rad is suffering from dementia.
Yahya Elahi, the regime’s police commander in Lorestan Police Force said: “One of their (the protesters’) strategies is to target the pillar of the state. Their opposition and enmity are toward the principle of our system. The sacred police organization was attacked by the enemy several times. You have seen and witnessed in other seditions that they occasionally target the IRGC, the Quds Force, the army of the Islamic Republic, and the Basij, and one day, they will attack the nation.”
Acknowledging the exhaustion of the regime’s oppressive forces because of the protester’s perseverance, Mohsen Mansouri, the governor of Tehran, said on October 8: “We appreciate the efforts of the police to ensure our security. Some police forces did not go home for several days during the riots.”
These words, as they revealed the miserable state of the regime, triggered some reactions in public opinion and therefore, Mansouri was forced to walk back and explain himself.
On October 9, Mansouri said: “My words in appreciation of the round-the-clock presence of our police agents were misrepresented and the contents published in some domestic and foreign media are false and contrary to reality.”
“My speech indicated the round-the-clock efforts of the police force, as far as I said, many of these dear people have not gone home for several days, because they are faithful and truthful to their mission, 24 hours a day,” he stressed.
The state-run Daneshjou news agency also quoted Tehran’s governor as saying: “We are in a particular situation in Tehran. It is like in other parts of the country and some pre-planning has somehow been in place. From the security and political point of view, it is a very special and complicated situation. They launched a full-scale and combined war in the country.”
Ali Saeedi, Head of the Political and Ideological Office of the Commander in Chief, said: “In every country, different sections of society gather and speak out. But in Iran, any section that comes to the streets to make demands, in some way, strikes the state. Why should it be like this?”
Desperately trying to refrain from the organized resistance, Alireza Nadali, the spokesperson of Tehran City Council, warned: “I pledge to all families to take care of their children so that they are not played by the MEK and separatist groups or their disguised mercenaries.”
Vahid Jalalzadeh, the head of the National Security Commission of the regime’s parliament, said on October 8: “I will soon send a letter to my counterparts in Europe, telling them ‘You should cut off the anti-Iran networks on the internet so that the Internet can be reconnected in Iran.”
Ebrahim Hosseini, Khamenei’s representative in Fardis said: “Using the internet and satellite networks, the enemy has recruited soldiers in every one of our houses…we have abandoned the people then we tell them to shut up and don’t say anything and not to protest.”
Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, Khamenei’s representative in Arak said: “They took the hypocrites (regime’s term to slander the MEK in Iran’s society) and brought them to Albania. All the facilities of the Americans were at their service. They were granted asylum, they were able to organize themselves, to create facilities, satellites, internet, hundreds of networks are put at their disposal, and they are used as tools.”
Mehdi Arabpour, Supreme Leader’s representative in Kerman said: “Our enemies have become united in one thing, and that is the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran… Some of these people are the MEK who are well-known to the nation… Among them were a number of people at a young age. These are the same youth who do not have enough information about the revolution and the country. They are defenseless. They came to help the MEK and they are abusing these young people. As his excellency (supreme leader) has said, they should definitely be punished.”
According to state TV, Mehdi Rahimabadi, Supreme Leader’s representative in Birjand stated: “One of the very dangerous lures targeting our youth is planned by the infiltrators and the MEK. Parents have a very serious responsibility to make sure their children don’t end up in their traps.”
Morteza Aghatehrani, Chairman of the parliamentary Cultural Committee said on October 7: “We warned that if the internet is not managed, we will face many problems. We must understand the danger of an abandoned virtual space and don’t offer the field to the MEK. For 2 years, some representatives did not allow us to manage the internet, while some also push from the outside.”
As various factions inside the regime occasionally trash each other due to conflict of interests, some have revealed that most of the state officials have sent their offspring to Western countries. They have attained dual citizenship and are paving the way for their parents to join them in case of the regime’s downfall. In other words, despite years-long preaching and chanting about the destruction of the West, Iranian state officials would run to safety by “Global Arrogance” when the time comes.
In 2019, the IRGC Brig. Gen. Morteza Mirian acknowledged in a televised interview that “Today, nearly 4,000 children of state officials live in the United States, Europe, and Canada.”
In his remarks in Parliament on September 26, MP Mojtaba Zolnour admitted fear had infiltrated the regime’s seminary, and recent protests have caused much stir among mullahs. He called on the “Special Court for Clergies” to deal with these “traitors” and encouraged the demoralized regime forces to “wear a burial cloth and come to the battlefield.”
In an interview with state TV on September 26, Mohsen Ghadiri Abianeh, a close figure to the regime’s supreme leader, also acknowledged the exacerbating fear in the regime’s ranks.
“Some officials, who were once ministers or members of parliament, have believed the system is about to collapse. They show their true colors now,” he said.
“Hold your ground, and do not doubt your path,” he said, as later reported by the state-run Tasnim news agency. Ashtari’s remarks laid bare the vulnerability and frustration of the regime’s forces.
In another video, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, the regime’s Judiciary Chief, who had shown his teeth earlier in a statement threatening protesters, extended his regards to the “exhausted forces,” who haven’t “slept for days on!”
Women are especially responsible for shattering the atmosphere of fear and disbelief. As women, your role is to restore hope and courage among people and reinforce the power in youth to counter the regime’s clampdowns.#IranProtests#Iran pic.twitter.com/qLGKttdIVF
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 3, 2018
A Historical reminder
General Abbas Gharebaghi, the Shah’s last Minister of Interior, acknowledged in his memoir that the regime’s oppressive forces were “melting like snow.” This is indeed the fate of all dictatorial regimes in the face of the bright sun of revolution. Thus, the escalating fear inside the regime, only ten days into the uprising, foretells a bright future for the people of Iran.