The Iranian regime’s new parliament started its work on Wednesday amid the coronavirus outbreak. The first public session of this parliament showed the regime’s increasing infighting, desperation, and deadlock.
This parliament mainly consists of the members of the faction of the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Khamenei massively purged the rival faction’s candidates, despite their services to the clerical regime for the past 40 years. Although the sham election was met with an unprecedented boycott, Khamenei and his regime officials concealed COVID-19‘s existence to have a larger turnout and turned Iran into an epicenter of this virus.
The question is why?
The regime’s maneuver of “Reformism” with a president like Hassan Rouhani, who had written in his book that he was the first to force mandatory veiling in Iran, failed when people during their uprising in 2018 said, “reformist, hardliner, the game is over.” This so-called “reformist” government, which is only a facade for the regime to encourage the West to carry on the appeasement policy, again failed after the United States withdrew from Iran 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, citing the regime’s malign behavior and reimpose sanctions on the regime.
Khamenei, facing a restive society and international isolation, sees the solution in more oppression, although he clearly knows this will radicalize the Iranian society even more and increase the possibility of a revolution. For this reason, he now intends to use his handpicked parliament to make his regime unipolar, because this regime, after the events within the last two years, particularly after the Iran protests in 2019, is unable to handle the slightest opposition.
In a video conference with his Basiji thugs posing as students on May 18, while expressing his fear of an uprising and the leading role played by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK), Khamenei said: “I believe in a young government who are committed to Hezbollah values [reactionary Islam] that can guide the country through difficult straits … By young, I don’t just mean to have someone who is 32 years old as head of the government. No, some who are young in the same sense even in their old age; Like Qassem Soleimani whom I think of day and night – he was sixty years old, not very young; and if he would have survived for another ten years, and I was still alive, I would have kept him in his position (Commander of the terrorist IRGC Quds force).”
Despite being the regime’s most senior official, Khamenei, in his letter to the new parliament tried distancing himself from the wrong economic and social policies of the last decade, of Which Rouhani was president for nearly eight years and which has increased the society’s restiveness. Khamenei said: “We should acknowledge in the decade of progress and justice; we did not have an acceptable score of justice. This truth should prompt everyone to make a joint effort about improving the poor people’s condition and make this a priority.”
“Along with the judiciary, which guarantees the laws to be implemented, the Majlis [parliament] has other powers and rights. Right to search, accepting or rejecting managers of the executive branch, the right of warning and asking questions and even impeaching the government are among the Majlis’ rights,” Khamenei added in his letter.
In this regard, the state-run Khabar Fori website quoted Mohammadreza Khabbaz, a former regime MP from Rouhani’s faction, as saying: It is highly possible that [new MPs] will impeach Rouhani. Their intention is to take full control of the government. They also have plans to form a government that is aligned with them so that they do not have any problems in implementing their plans. This government is weaker than standing up to the parliament. The interior minister has said many times, ‘we are subordinate to the members of parliament.‘ A government that fails to stand up to the parliament and the illegitimate and irrational demands of its members is weak. Therefore, the government will succumb to the parliament because it will not be able to stand against the parliament at all.”
Fearing this outcome, while reminding the regime’s new parliament that their regime is engulfed with problems, and pointing to the Iran protests in 2018 and 2019 as “incidents,” Rouhani pleaded with the new parliament on Wednesday and said: “Starting the beginning of 2018 and the end of 2019, we faced a new era for the government and we had to change from the strategy of opening and progress to the strategy of endurance and tolerance. The conditions that created the most difficult economic conditions for Iran since 2019. You are aware of the statistics and difficult conditions in which we are. We are facing a very difficult year. We are facing both the enemy’s [U.S.] sanctions and the enemy’s [Iranian Resistance] provocation and the dangerous coronavirus, the government is reaching out to the 11th parliament. It expects brotherhood from the parliament.”
While the regime’s supreme leader might seem close to achieving his goal of having his desired government, he is in a deadlock. On one hand, his new parliament is very much weak because as Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, regime’s Interior Minister has said, this parliament is a result of a sham election which was held in a special security situation due to the “November incidents, death of Qassem Soleimani, the Ukrainian airliner crash disaster and the coronavirus outbreak.” He also indirectly reminded Khamenei that this parliament is a result of a sham election which was generally boycotted. With such a weak foundation, Khamenei could hardly proceed with his elimination process; because the rival faction will not be silent, especially since the cases of looting and crimes of Khamenei’s faction are not secret.
But the main fear of both factions is a nationwide uprising and the Iranian Resistance’s role. Because removing this government, the increasing infighting and any rift at the top of his regime will lead to an uprising and explosion in the society.
In this regard, Khabbaz told the state-run Khabar Fori website: “The government and parliament are two wings of one bird. Just as a bird flies with two wings, our [regime] will fly with two wings of the executive and the legislature. This flight will not occur if one or both of its wings are defective or incapacitated. Even if the two wings are inconsistent or in conflict with each other, naturally the bird will not only fly but will fall. When the two wings are facing each other, the situation in the country will worsen, not only will the people’s problems not be solved, they will increase.”
While the regime is not capable of resolving the economic or social problems, increasing or decreasing oppression will, either way, increase the possibility of the mullahs’ downfall. The mullahs’ regime faces a deadlock and will not find a way out.