After the election ended in Iran, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, claimed victory. How will this affect the divides among the senior ranks of his regime?
Politician and theoretician of Khamenei’s faction, Amir Mohebian, claims the election results prove there is no rift amongst the ruling elite and Iran’s populace. He stated to Iran’s state-run IRIB TV station on May 21st, “All the powers, all the dissidents, all the oppositions, all of them continue to present one main argument of rifts amongst the ruling elite and the general public. The more this divide, the more they will be able to make their move. And the more the ruling elite will rely on foreigners to remain in power, as I mentioned. What’s important is the fact that these elections showed there is no such rift in Iran.”
An indication may be found in Khamenei’s first speech after the election, as he refrained from congratulating Rouhani.
Rouhani used his first remarks after the election, to IRIB TV on May 20th, to pursue his own interests. “Yesterday you said no to those who invite us to the past or stopping the status quo,” he said. With this very specific sentence, Rouhani moved toward deepening the rift.
Editor in chief of Kayhan Daily, Hossein Shariatmadari, also known as Khamenei’s mouthpiece said,“One can easily reach the conclusion that the vote of Mr. Raisi was at least twice the statistics announced, meaning nearly 30 million. The reason is when he was able to obtain 16 million votes in a very limited time period of 40 days. Certainly if he had Mr. Rouhani’s four-year period, there would literally not be many votes left for his rivals.” He wrote this in a Keyhan editorial on May 21st.
State-run Javan daily, associated to the Revolutionary Guards paramilitary Basij, said of Rouhani, “He should know nearly half of the voters voted against him.”
Raisi accused the Rouhani faction of vote fraud, in an attempt to delegitimize the entire vote count. Keyhan daily, reported on May 21st, that he said, “Various ill measures during the elections, and obvious violations prior and during the elections were amongst the dark moments, derailing this process from its legal path. We will follow up in this regard.”
Mohammad Sadegh Kushaki, another member of Khamenei’s faction, inadvertently alluded to the regime’s fear of a possible repeat of 2009-like uprisings. “In 2009 after the election results were announced, those who claimed to be populists revolted against the republic, violated laws and took to the streets instead of resorting to legal protests. Adopting such methods, which was advanced by field elements of the enemy, including the Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) and other dissidents to overthrow the establishments. For nine months they plunged the country into tensions and unrest,” he said.
Clearly the rifts continue, and according to the May 21st “Hemayat” daily editorial, steps have been taken to deepen such divides.
Look to future developments to further prove this.