In their Friday prayer congregations, which serve as a platform to state the ruling regime’s official policies vis-à-vis current issues facing the country, the prayer leaders again displayed their fear of the organized opposition, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), and a looming uprising due to the social and economic crises.
The Friday prayer leaders are carefully handpicked and in effect act as the mouthpiece of the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“A serious menace is the [MEK]. We confronted them at the beginning of the revolution. This is a perilous movement that sometimes lures people with good backgrounds. You saw that at the beginning of the revolution, this movement instigated street riots and clashed with the system,” said Hassan Alidadi, Khamenei’s representative in Kerman, southeast Iran.
“We have experienced many seditions [a term the regime uses for uprisings]. We had the MEK’s sedition, the [students] sedition [protests] in 1999, and the 2009 [uprisings]. The latter was a huge challenge for the country, resulting in the system’s collapse. This sedition caused us many damages, and many [of the regime’s] sacred institutions and individuals [such as the Supreme Leader] were questioned,” said Reza Noury, Khamenei’s representative in Bojnourd, in Khorasan province.
“They pursued a multi-dimensional campaign. The maximum pressure [campaign] sought to instigate protests and have people topple the regime. They wanted to put pressure on people, so they confronted the system. They wanted to topple the [regime] without shooting a bullet or going to war. They had three methods. The first method, the maximum pressure, was their economic leverage. They also had political and intelligence methods to cause riots in Iran. The media started their propaganda, and they continue,” said Seyed Hashem Bushehri, Khamenei’s representative in Qom.
While referring to the country’s social and political grievances, Bushehri also warned the regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi. “And for the 2022 budget…. people have expectations about the rampant inflation, decrease of salaries, national currency’s value and their purchasing power, and their business problems as well as the banking system’s issues,” he said.
“Were we able to get rid of the 2009 sedition? We did [oppress] it at that time. But after that, 42 years after the revolution, we hear the news of officials’ shortcomings. But when we delve into people’s economic and living problems, we realize that the [opposition] tries to aggravate these problems. So, the sedition has not ended, and it’s luring. This is a war, and it won’t be easy,” said Mehdi Rahim-Abadi, Khamenei’s representative in Birjand.
Such warnings will have very little impact, if any, on resolving the irremediable crises facing the regime, especially in view of the appalling conditions millions of Iranians must endure, not least extreme poverty, starvation and lack of adequate welfare and social services. These, coupled with endemic corruption, ineptitude, and mismanagement, will only fuel further anger and pave the way for more uprisings in the near term.