Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 4, 2021—In a speech on Sunday, Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei addressed security officials and warned about “the hard threat of the enemies,” including the “enemy within” and said, “Security is our most important issue.” Khamenei stressed that security forces, including the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the State Security Forces (SSF, the Basij, and others must be “a shield against the threats of the enemy.”
As Khamenei made his remarks, teachers, pensioners, and workers (Khamenei’s “enemy within”) held protests rallies in various cities across Iran and were chanting slogans against the regime and its destructive policies.
In Tehran, teachers held a large rally in front of the Majlis (parliament). Similar protests were held in Isfahan, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Zanjan, Kerman, and other cities. “Teachers will die but won’t give in to disgrace,” the protesters were chanting, expressing their will to continue to push for their just demands despite the regime’s lack of attention to their needs and its repressive measures to stop their protests. The teachers are struggling with unemployment and low wages and are struggling to make ends meet. Government officials continue to ignore their demands despite months of protests.
At the same time, pensioners and retired government employees and workers held protests in Tehran, Ahvaz, Isfahan, Rasht, Kermanshah, Khorram Abad, Mashhad, and Qazvin. The protesters were chanting, “We will only get our rights in the streets,” a reference to the government’s continued ignorance toward their demands.
These kinds of protests movements are happening across Iran every day and involve all segments of the society. And every day, the protests are growing in size and number, which is causing much concern for regime leaders and officials. Khamenei, who is constantly warning against the “enemy,” knows very well that these protests are laying the groundwork for much bigger trouble for his regime. He and other regime leaders still vividly remember the 2019 protests, in which popular protests brought the mullahs’ regime to the verge of collapse.
Other regime officials are expressing the same worries in other terms, including the commander of IRGC forces in Qazvin, who said on Saturday, “The conflict has been transferred from beyond our borders to within our home.” The regime has a long history of using terrorism to cause mayhem in the countries of the region as a tool to maintain order at home. But with the conditions in Iran growing worse and worse due to the regime’s corrupt nature and structure, even the export of terrorism is not helping the mullahs maintain their hold on power.
Why can’t the regime overcome its frustration? The reality is that to solve the crises that are plaguing Iran, the regime must start by addressing the real problems of the people, tend to their economic needs, improve their living conditions, give them freedom and a share in their country’s future. In other words, the regime must tone down its corruption and repression and give the people some breathing room.
But Khamenei, who has been the regime’s unchallenged and undisputed leader since 1989, knows full well that corruption and violence are the foundations on which his regime has been built. Backing down from these two fundamental tenets will be the undoing of his regime, and thus his only option is to double down on suppressing the society. And this desperate policy is more vivid than ever in his decision to appoint the much-hated Ebrahim Raisi, renowned for his role in executing thousands of prisoners, as the regime’s president. With Raisi, Khamenei hopes to consolidate his power and further bolster his violent security forces against Iran’s increasingly restive society.
But therein lies Khamenei’s unsolvable dilemma: After four decades of violence and repression, the mullahs’ regime has exhausted every last ounce of effectiveness that its security forces ever had. By ignoring the people’s demands and responding to their needs with firearms, batons, torture, and prison, the regime has been postponing a problem that has been building up since the mullahs rose to power in 1979. Today, the people of Iran have nothing to lose and thus nothing to fear. They are returning to the streets every day despite the heavy presence of security forces, despite the regime’s constant threats to arrest and harass protesters, and despite the unbridled spread of the coronavirus, exacerbated by the regime’s criminal policies. The people of Iran are the regime’s main “enemy,” a fact that Khamenei knows full well. And while Khamenei orders his security forces to assemble a shield against the enemy within, he also knows that it’s only a matter of time before the growing tides of popular outrage will break through the dams of the IRGC, the Basij, and other repressive forces.