The approach of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution that brought the Islamic Republic to power has regime officials fearing that change is inevitable in 2019 with reformists warning that the regime has already collapsed.
Though the various factions cite different aspects of the change, they share one doubt; what the future has in store for the Islamic Republic in its 40th year.
Stability or Collapse?
In recent comments carried by Mehr state-run News Agency, a senior cleric with close ties to Iran’s Supreme Leader said that “the enemies of the Islamic Republic were laying the ground to implement a new sedition” in 1398, the Persian year that starts on March 24, 2019.
“The sedition is channeled from the society and may be in the cultural and economic spheres and its origins come from the enemies that want to use this path to achieve their goals,” Ahmad Alamolhoda, Khamenei’s representative in Mashhad added.
“The enemy is setting up a plot to instigate a sedition in 1398 through the use of personalities,” the senior cleric who is also the head of Friday Prayers in Mashhad said adding that the people had to stand by the regime and continue “their 40 year revolution.”
“Various groups should not cause the people to give up their support for the system for various reasons,” he added in obvious fear of Iranians disenchantment with the regime.
Officials are also concerned that the regime, which came to power on a religious platform 40 years ago, has lost its religious appeal.
The grandson of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, recently complained that the regime had lost its religious foundations.
“Our religion is like a cartoon, and all the proportions have been mixed up,” Seyed Hassan Khomeini said.
“Everyone is looking (to use Islam) for business. Everything that people expect of us is not what we read in books. Today we face a society whose expectations go beyond what we read in the books; the problem lies with those who should have taught us this, but did not,” the young cleric added.
Reformists from the faction of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also voiced their concern for the future.
In a recent controversial interview with the daughter of the late former chairman of the Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Faezeh Rafsanjani said that the regime was only able to stand “through intimidation” and suppression.
Speaking to Mostaghel Daily, Faezeh Hashemi addressed the concerns of the “political elite” about the regime’s collapse and said that the regime had already collapsed.
“In my opinion, in substance, the collapse has already happened. It’s only the physical collapse that has not happened and I deem it very probable that it will happen,” said Hashemi, who is also a former member of Iran’s parliament.
“In terms of substance, the collapse has already taken place because wherever you look, there is failure. Whatever you address is empty in terms of management and guidance,” she said.
“Everything has been abandoned, and no one is thinking about a solution to the problems. And where there are efforts to solve problems, they only worsen the problems,” Hashemi added.
Referring to the government’s policy of suppression and violent crackdown on protesters and critics, she contradicted herself and said that the “possibility of a physical collapse was low in light of the severe pressures and confrontations that had taken place, and the fear” of what would happen if the current regime collapsed.
“The economic and social problems are increasing day by day,” Hashemi said pointing to the growing turmoil in Iran.
“Just to achieve your basic rights, you have pay a big price,” she said adding that the society was suffering from “anger, depression, despair, indifference and abandonment.
“We have a glamorous appearance and an undeveloped and sub-third world essence. This is not a good sign,” she said.
In February, the former Commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, who is the current secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council also expressed concern over the regime’s future saying that corruption and the government’s inefficiency would act like a bomb and would lead to an internal collapse if not dealt with seriously.
In comments carried by the Mehr state-run News Agency, Mohsen Rezaie said that “a government could have a powerful appearance, but be falling apart from the inside.”
The signs of the regime’s collapse are not only apparent from statements made by regime officials but by the increasing protests by all walks of life on the streets of Iran.
The diversity of the social groups that participate in Iran’s protests stem from the fact that there is not one social group in Iran that has not been harmed by the regime’s 40 years of suppression and corruption.
The New Year will definitely see a fresh confrontation between the Iranian people and the regime which will ultimately achieve change in Iran.