With the economic factor playing a major role in the ongoing popular uprising, addressing the economic problems of the country would seem to be the most obvious solution. There are many qualified professionals, technocrats, and skilled individuals inside the establishment who are able to fix the economy. However, the economy does not seem to be a priority of the current administration.
Instead, its’ survival has become its priority. Its resources have been used to fund its proxies, like the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen. It has even considered using non-Iranian Shia militias to protect itself.
The people’s ongoing uprising, as well as the Iranian establishment, are also concerned with who will succeed the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Iranian President Rouhani is believed to desire the supreme leadership position.
But the establishment has tried to push him out. It had hoped to undermine Rouhani in the 2017 election. After he was re-elected the establishment began to pursue its strategy of undermining him by discussing the economic issues from a realistic perspective.
However, this emboldened the Iranian people begin protesting about their economic hardships and the suppression of their fundamental human rights.
Iran’s economic problems can be traced back to the Supreme Leader’s apparatus. The embezzlement and corruption cases that continue to be revealed, all appear to be linked with Khamenei’s office.
Still, Rouhani avoids open confrontation with the Supreme Leader, as well as with Ali Larijani, the speaker of the parliament. A smooth relationship with these two figures is vital for his aspiration to the supreme leadership position.
But, the Supreme Leader’s image is suffering. He has become the key target for the protesters. Instead of using opportunities to make a positive change, he stubbornly clings to old, outdated dogma. Khamenei relies on his hardliner allies.
For instance, during the recent parliamentary discussion on the FAFT, Larijani wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader to inquire about his personal opinion. Khamenei replied that he had already given his opinion to him (Larijani) during a conversation. He essentially refused to clarify his position on an important national issue.
Hardliner Khalil Muvahid sent thousands of threatening messages to MPs, warning them not to vote in favor of the FAFT. When Larijani claimed that he had the approval of the Supreme Leader, Muvahid stated, “If it is proven that the Supreme Leader did actually approve [of the plan to] join the FAFT, I would be the first person to reject his leadership.”
Ordinary Iranians are becoming aware of their fundamental rights. This ever-increasing awareness has focused the Iranian people on getting their freedom back and enjoying their fundamental rights to the full. They are calling for the overthrow of the current ruling system in its entirety, and looking to the Iranian Opposition and support from the West in this endeavor.