Khamenei’s Fear Of Defection And Tension In His Regime – OpEd


In fear of a popular uprising in Iran, Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei saw the Gaza war as a solution to protect his regime against the people. Additionally, to instill fear in society he has resorted to widespread executions to extinguish the flame of uprising. Alongside these actions, he intends to advance the project of consolidating his power within the regime in hopes of strengthening the morale of his loyal forces.

After nearly two months into the tragic Gaza war, Amir- Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic republic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) air force, addressed the IRGC Basij forces in a speech that reveals the regime’s severe fear of collapses and tensions within its file and rank.

On December 1, Hajizadeh said, “In these forty years, we have experienced extensive defections from all sectors, from the highest-ranking religious authorities, to ministers, lawyers, and commanders… Let’s not think that we are exempt! We must first guard ourselves by being committed to our Basij identity, our revolutionary spirit, and our faith. First, we must take care of ourselves.”

He described this issue as the most significant threat and primary concern of the regime in explosive societal conditions, adding, “This is the most important issue. First, we must understand ourselves, and then we can help others… Let’s not think that death is only for our neighbors. It’s not like that. We must take care of ourselves”.

By recalling the tens of thousands of school students whom Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the mullahs’ regime sent to the minefields during the Iran-Iraq war, Hajizadeh said, “Be precise in identifying the front of truth and falsehood. Sometimes, the atmosphere becomes turbulent, and the place of values and anti-values gets swapped… The largest group that participated in the war fronts from various sectors of the country were the students and youth. We also have the highest number of martyrs from this group. We have 36,000 martyrs, a significant portion of whom were youth. Well, at that time, judging right from wrong was very easy.”

Hajizadeh is not the only one worried about defection and tension within the regime’s forces. On November 24, on the state-run Sahand network, Ebrahim Jabbari, advisor to the IRGC Commander-in-Chief, said, “Today, we are facing an attack in the realm of perception and cognition. Individuals who were by our side, who were with us until yesterday, who believed in the clergy and religious authorities, have changed.”

The inefficiency of the regime’s warmongering policy and its fear of future uprisings and the spread of internal crises are causing tremors through the regime’s ranks. On November 21, the head of the judiciary, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, said, “If all of us, including the masses, are not aware of the sedition, conspiracies, soft war, hard war, and combined war, if the necessary vigilance is not present, we will be hit from a place that we do not know where it was and how we were hit! We will be caught off guard!… Sometimes, we even see loyal forces at each other’s throats.”

On November 29, Khamenei warned his military and Basij commanders about turmoil within the regime’s ranks. Khamenei said, “Avoid unreal polarizations in the country… Those who accept your principles, your religion, your revolution, and your guardian jurist are your brothers. There might be a difference in preferences… They are fighting over nothing. Avoid that! You are Basijis, don’t do it.”

Khamenei is indeed afraid of his regime coming apart at the seams as the people and their resistance continue to gain momentum and his regime continues to face setbacks.

Shamsi Saadati

Shamsi Saadati writes for the PMOI/MEK.

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