Opinion

Eliminating Hassan Rouhani to overcome the regime’s incurable crises

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(Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

In a speech for a group of Basijis, Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is at the core of the political system, claimed that the only way for the regime to survive the crises that it is going through was “a young and Hezbollah government”. Meanwhile, he introduced Qasem Soleimani as a role model for this young government even though he is 63 years old.

Following his remarks, several Principlists MPs accentuated the need for Hassan Rouhani’s resignation. “My impression of Khamenei’s speech was that it is time for Rouhani to resign, right now!”, stated the Iranian MP Behnam Fathi.

By disqualifying 90% of current MPs for the last parliamentary elections, the Guardian Council unified the Parliament’s political alignment with a strong presence of Khamenei’s inner circle MPs. Khamenei’s comments that were later supported by his loyal MPs, showed his intentions to follow the policy for Rouhani’s resignation. The supreme leader is in such a critical situation, that he can’t wait another 15 months for the end of Rouhani’s presidency term.

During the November uprisings, where at least 1500 revolutionary young people were killed, the primary slogan was “Down with the dictator, whether is King or the Supreme Leader”. This was a clear message about the illegitimacy of the regime and a call for change. Moreover, following the intentional downfall of the Ukrainian flight, students chanted “Commander in chief should resign!”.

The uprisings exhibited the total loss of support from citizens toward the regime. This situation pushed a large part of the middle class into a lower class causing widespread public dissatisfaction. It is expected that the current situation will inevitably lead to a new uprising. 

The regime has always relied on two fundamental pillars: A terrorist war abroad, and repression inside the country. Before his death, Soleimani was the keeper of both pillars. He carried out his mission by fighting wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen to secure Iran. Khamenei had always said that “if we hadn’t fought in Syria and Iraq, we would have fought in Tehran”. 

Besides Soleimani’s death, the economic sanctions imposed on Iran prevented the regime from financing international terrorism and the proxy militias abroad. Therefore, its strategic plan started to crumble and inevitably formed a new balance with the people. Now, the regime not only must fight in Syria but on the streets of Tehran, and Khamenei is preparing himself for facing another uprising and internal conflict.

“There were young Muslims at the beginning of the revolution who had revolted for the Islam, but because of their inadequate knowledge, they were attracted to eclectic groups”, continued Khamenei’s speech. By eclectic groups, he meant the People’s Mujahidin of Iran, sworn enemies of the regime.

Raja News, a state-run news agency, stated in a headline “The Mujahedin and the dormant cells that arise”, where it analyzed Khamenei’s speech. It commented: “Following the withdrawal of the Mujahideen from Iraq and their deployment in Albania due to their security concerns in Iraq, they once again put all their energy, capital, and capabilities on the launch of destructive operational teams inside Iran”.

“Since the Mujahideen turned their operational teams in Iran into dormant cells, my concern today is the younger generation, who have become somewhat skeptical of the revolution because of some of the shortcomings, flaws, and misguided approaches we have taken, as well as the prevalence of some interpretations that are incompatible with the notion of the revolution. And that is a big risk that we need to be aware of”, stated Mohammad Reza Aref on March 31st at Hamshahri Online.

In the meantime, some popular resistance units manifest the public dissatisfaction that is spreading every day. The regime’s intelligence minister, Mahmoud Alavi, said that they had arrested at least 116 resistance units in 2019. Moreover, the Director-General of Intelligence of East Azerbaijan confirmed that the resistance units have been expanding much more than before. All these have forced Khamenei to think of a solution for survival.

The Iranian regime, like other classical dictatorships, is forced to adopt contractionary policies in times of crisis when its existence is threatened. Due to the immutable nature of the medieval dictatorship of Velayat-e-Faqih, there is a tendency to further consolidation of power and the elimination of forces that are not entirely loyal to Khamenei’s fascist methods.

However, it can’t be certainly said that Khamenei will end early with Rouhani’s presidency term or whether he will be able to do it. However, we can confirm that any decision he makes doesn’t change the fact that the regime is in an absolute stalemate. Otherwise, Khamenei would not have said such a thing which ended exposing the extremely turbulent situation.

Hamid Enayat

Hamid Enayat is an Iranian analyst based in Europe. Human rights activist and opponent of his country's regime, he writes on Iranian issues.
Hamid Enayat

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