In his yearly Nowruz address, Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei implicitly admitted that his regime is in a bad situation, complaining that some critics try to “create a negative impression… and show that we are headed for a dead end.”
In an effort to reverse the miserable and declining state of the religious dictatorship, Khamenei claimed that recent circumstances and developments had been in his and his system’s favor. He deliberately ignored the explosive social conditions underlying multiple nationwide uprisings, as well as the growth of organized resistance against his regime.
The speech specifically hypocritically portrayed the opposite situation of the regime:
“I had heard some people say that the situation of the Americans has changed today since 2015 and 2016 when the JCPOA was signed. The situation has changed, so the JCPOA must change. Yes, I agree, but it has changed the situation in favor of Iran, not in favor of US and not in your favor!”
The supreme leader’s remarks raise three key questions:
- What is the goal of this propaganda?
- Has the situation changed?
- If so, has the change favored the Velayat-e-Faqih or the advocates of regime change?
Khamenei’s remarks are reminiscent of those delivered at the US Senate on March 3, 2021 by Wendy Sherman, the US president’s nominee for deputy Secretary of State who participated in negotiations that led to the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.
“Biden’s approach to the nuclear deal with Iran necessarily stems from the situation we are in now,” Sherman said. “The situation has changed, the geopolitics of the region has changed, and therefore our approach must change in line with these changes.”
To cover up the miserable situation of a regime on the brink of the overthrow, Khamenei has no choice but to reverse this equation with propaganda. This fact has been reinforced by Khamenei’s failure to revive the policy of appeasement or bring about the lifting of sanctions in the months since the Biden administration took office.
Has the situation changed since the year of the JCPOA’s approval?
A simple comparison
In 2015, the year of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action:
- The dominant policy of the United States and European countries was to appease the clerical regime in Iran. Although six resolutions were passed in the Security Council against the regime, the negotiators were looking for an intermediate solution and giving concessions to the regime to contain it.
- The regime had not yet confronted nationwide uprisings as it would in January 2018 and November 2019.
- The restive state of Iranian society was not apparent for the world as it is today, when conditions appear to be on the verge of explosion.
- The Velayat-e-Faqih system was able to encourage the policy of appeasement by promoting the false notion of the existence of reformists inside the regime.
- The regime’s terrorism was spreading effectively in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere under the leadership of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, who was killed in January 2020.
- The main opposition, the MEK, was headquartered in Iraq and subject to repeated missile and terrorist attacks, as well as other pressures.
- The policy of appeasement has been completely marginalized and the regime’s economy has reached a point of suffocation. Not only has the new administration in the United States not lifted sanctions, but it has also asked unconditional compliance of the nuclear deal from the regime. Hussein Raghfar, a regime economist, wrote in the state-run daily Ebtekhab:
“The country’s economy has been a victim of the country’s oligarchy for the past few decades, and now the government is on the same path, and if this path and trend do not change, the situation in Iran will worsen in the future.”
- The great social uprisings, with their clear expression of popular demand for regime change, shook the earth under the feet of the mullahs. These uprisings have made the regime fragile and hopeless.
- Iranian society is ready for the uprising and overthrow of the regime. In this atmosphere, even a simple protest could explode the society and bring people to the streets.
- The January 2018 uprising did irreparable damage to the false narrative of a reformist trend inside regime institutions. Protesters throughout the country rejected that narrative with slogans that targeted both “reformists” and “hardliners” and declared “the game is over.”
- The MEK, as the main constituent of the NCRI, the democratic alternative to the regime, have emerged from the oppressive siege with its resistance units active in all cities across Iran. Young Iranians are joining those units in great numbers and on a regular basis.
- The regime’s export of terrorism and its strategic depth in Syria, Iraq, and other countries of the region were dealt a great blow by the loss of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the terrorist Quds force.
With this simple comparison, it is easy to see that Khamenei is wrong. The situation has changed not in favor of religious fascism nor in favor of the policy of oppression, but in favor of Iranian people, their resistance against the regime, and other forces supporting a popular movement to change the government in Iran.