In its Monday editorial, the Kayhan newspaper, the Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s mouthpiece, warned about “opening the way for the enemies.” In the article, its managing editor Hossein Shariatmadari paid tribute to Qassem Soleimani, the regime’s eliminated terror mastermind, who “smartly warned that never send a message of friendship to the enemy with your actions, and don’t open the way for the enemy by distorting the vision of the revolution.”
The article is a response to a joint statement by the Assembly of Clerics and Assembly of Qom Seminary Teachers.
The statement, published on January 31, warns about the “internal inefficiencies” of the regime that has “caused the people to become wary and pessimistic toward the principles of the  revolution.” The statement warns that “with every passing moment, the republic fades away and republic-conforming Islam becomes marginalized.”
The statement is an acknowledgment of the reality for the past four decades: “The Islamic Republic,” which was founded with the promise of combining the values of democracy and Islam, has in effect lost the last vestiges of democracy if it ever had any. But what makes it significant is that it comes from two institutions that have very deep ties and fealty to the ruling establishment.
These are people who have been supporting the regime in every decision and crime for the past 43 years. And now, as Shariatmadari warned, they are repeating the words of the regime’s enemies, acknowledging that the regime is the exact opposite of “Islam” and “republic.”
Of course, this is not the first time that regime insiders are making such statements. In the past weeks, the alarm bells are being rung from inside the seminaries, with clerics calling for the separation of religion and state.
On January 24, Hashem Hosseini Boushehri, the head of the Assembly of Qom Seminary Teachers, warned, “Some clerics… are hitting at the roots and saying religion is separate from politics.”
Ahmad Khatami, a senior member of the Guardian Council and a Tehran Friday prayer leader, lamented on January 23, “Some members of the seminaries and religious authorities… are sending the wrong signal by calling for the separation of religion and politics.”
Mohammad Taghi Fazel Meybodi, a member of the Assembly of Researchers and Teachers of Qom Seminary, admitted on January 4 that “many believers don’t have a positive view toward the presence of clerics in government” and they don’t want the mullahs “to be part of the ruling elite.”
And Taghi Rostamvandi, the deputy interior minister, said on January 16 that there are “tendencies toward governance patterns that can be interpreted and non-religious” and called the trend “extremely dangerous and alarming.”
The growing tensions within the regime’s ranks reflect public hatred toward the mullahs’ rule. Officials are constantly warning that the people are infuriated about the role of the mullahs in the country’s politics and economy. Millions of people see the contrast between their impoverished plight with the lavish and opulent lifestyle of the mullahs; they see their non-existent freedoms to the privileges that the mullahs enjoy. They can easily connect the dots and see the role of the so-called clergy in destroying the country’s economy and culture.
The gap between Iran’s people and rulers has grown to the point that even the mullahs are admitting that their regime is neither Islamic nor a republic. And while Khamenei’s loyalists try to warn that such remarks are paving the way for “foreign enemies,” the true enemies of the regime, the Iranian people, and their resistance movement are paving their way toward regime change and the establishment of freedom.