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How to Make Sense of Khamenei’s Contradictory Remarks on Gaza Conflict

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During a meeting with commanders and Basij forces on November 29, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime, aimed to uplift the spirits of his loyal followers. Adopting a somewhat boastful and celebratory tone, he sought to project strength and triumph in the Gaza conflict, stating, “The storm of Al-Aqsa is not something that will be silenced; they should know that this situation will not continue.”

Khamenei also stated, “The historic event of the Al-Aqsa storm was able, in the true sense of the word, to disrupt the calculations of American policies in this region, and God willing, this storm will continue and will disrupt the American agenda.”

Despite previous denials of his regime’s involvement in the October 7 attack, this threat made it evident that Khamenei acknowledges his regime’s significant and decisive role in the ongoing conflict and bloodshed in the region. Moreover, the statement “they should know that this situation will not continue” reveals his dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

Khamenei’s statements, beyond attempting to convey triumph, also contained contradictions. While pledging that the situation “will not continue,” he simultaneously expressed a wish that “it will continue, God willing.”

This inconsistency arises from his confusion regarding regional conditions and developments in the Gaza war, highlighting the crises his regime faces. Additionally, Khamenei displayed callousness by openly expressing a desire for the tragic situation in Gaza, involving tens of thousands of casualties, nearly two million refugees, and a city in ruins.

Nevertheless, the regime’s Supreme Leader then redirected his attention to the regional and Palestinian context, delving into the “solution to the Palestinian issue” and once again advocating for a “referendum for all Palestinian lands,” publicly undermining the two-state solution. This move further highlighted his regime’s isolation, placing him in opposition to the legitimate Palestinian government, international consensus, and the recent Islamic conference.

In another part of his speech, Khamenei focused on Basij and propaganda, asserting that “Basij stands ready to resist any danger, any threat, to maximize the country’s resistance.” This statement suggests his concerns about a volatile society and an impending uprising.

However, Khamenei’s rhetoric about Basij seems to be more of a propaganda effort than a genuine representation, as this tool of suppression is undergoing significant erosion. Ahmad Alamolhoda, a high-ranking cleric close to Khamenei, admitted on November 24, “We are enrolling many people in Basij who are not Basijis, even for a night, not even for a moment.”

Prior to him, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the head of the judiciary, lamented in a televised speech on November 21, stating, “Hezbollah’s members are falling and destroying each other.” He openly acknowledged that Basij forces have become divided and factionalized.
Therefore, despite Khamenei’s attempts to uplift the spirits of forces that have faced both attacks and public discontent in Iran for consecutive years, he found himself compelled to pay a political cost for this. In doing so, he inadvertently revealed his regime’s involvement in acts of terrorism that have contributed to the suffering of people in the Middle East.

While some individuals may attempt to interpret Khamenei’s statements differently based on short-term political considerations and electoral interests, responsible leaders worldwide must prioritize scrutinizing the vulnerabilities within Khamenei’s regime. Holding him accountable for his role in the widespread massacre and destruction in Iran and across the Middle East should be a central focus of their foreign policy agendas.