There’s no honor among thieves

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, April 30, 2021—In December 2020, Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei warned about division among various currents within the regime. “Unity must not disappear,” Khamenei said on December 16, 2020.

Now months later the regime is confronted with unprecedented internal conflicts that get worse every day.

Regime president Hassan Rouhani previously warned that the regime is in critical conditions due to the upcoming sham presidential elections in June and the Vienna talks on Iran’s nuclear program. However, the internal conflicts have come to the point that the regime’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on April 23, titled, “They (the 5+1 countries) are unified while we are dispersed.”

Last week the “leaked” audio recording of Iranian regime Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif increased the struggle for power between different regime factions. In the audio file, Zarif acknowledged that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) dominates the regime’s policies, especially the foreign strategies that have resulted in various terrorist crimes in the region and across the world.

This has resulted in unprecedented turmoil within the regime. On April 29, Rouhani dismissed Hessamedin Ashna, his security adviser and head of the regime’s Center for Strategic Studies, in an effort to contain the crisis developing following the release of Zarif’s recording. Ashna was responsible for interviews of Rouhani and his ministers.

The regime’s Judiciary opened a judicial case and according to the state-run television on April 29, it has put a travel ban on 20 officials affiliated with the Center for Strategic Studies who are potentially connected to the publication of Zarif’s audio file.

Coupled with other crises the regime already faces at the domestic and international levels, Zarif’s audio file has triggered a new round of infighting among regime officials and currents, with the so-called principalists accusing Zarif and Rouhani of treachery, and Rouhani downplaying the situation and stressing his government’s role in potentially achieving international sanctions relief.

But what the entire episode reiterates is that the reformist-hardliner standoff is a masquerade. The bickering between regime officials and factions has absolutely nothing to do with the people’s rights and grievances. It is the result of an endemic conflict between keeping the regime afloat and jockeying for a bigger share of political power and a bigger cut of the economic pie.

Now that the regime’s domestic and international crises are reaching a boiling point, regime officials are quick to throw each other under the bus and blame others for ongoing problems. As the saying goes, there’s no honor among thieves.

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