Fear of an uprising from the citizens of Iran, as well as a power struggle between the regime’s factions, has escalated concern to a high level among Iran’s senior officials.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently spoke at a gathering of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) members, and highlighted the sensitivity of this subject. “If there are any laws broken or immoralities during the elections… the elections will end against our interests… anyone seeking any measures against the country’s security will most certainly face a harsh slap in the face,” he said.
Khamenei added, “One of the enemy’s most important objectives, or maybe their most important short term objective, is to be able to endanger the country’s security… their long term objective is the Islamic establishment in principle.”
Is Khamenei referring to the protesting people, when he uses the word, “enemy”? He further warns the election candidates to “not continue any of the enemy’s half-finished or failed measures, as this is in favor of the enemy.”
According to Javan Daily, a newspaper allegedly associated to the IRGC Basij force, which cited an element linked to Khamenei’s faction, on May 9, a warning was issued to all regime officials not to unveil each other’s embarrassments. “You are sitting on a powder keg ignited some time ago… I warn you about the large masses of anger and rage behind your city walls… about the millions, young and old, who are broken and damaged. Rest assured when the storm comes you will not have the chance to run. All paths will be blocked… you won’t even reach the plane’s stairs like the Shah… the real threat lies in blind and burning domestic protests,”
Brigadier General Eskandar Momeni, second-in-command of Iran’s police, also expressed his concern. “The monafeqin (a term used by the Iranian regime for the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran - MEK) and enemies of the states have prepared to launch unrests, seditions and riots across the country… We witnessed this in the 2009 sedition. Therefore, we must be very careful in this regard and prevent such a wave in the society,” he said.
Tasnim news agency wrote on May 11 that Momeni went on to describe the police anti-riot units as “the most professional, fastest and most experienced unit across the police apparatus”, and the most effective force to quell “disruptors of order and security” and the “police’s last punch.”
Also on May 11, a top police commander Zolghadri said that more than 260,000 people are directly involved in guaranteeing security during the elections. Any rally or march in the streets, parks and various squares will be banned, and subject to punishment, Zolghadri added.
A large portion of the military, police units, intelligence agents will be stationed in border areas, roads, patrols, checkpoints, as will other intelligence-related personnel.
The May 19 election has thus become part of another internal power struggle. As an article published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has said, “…whatever the result of these sham elections, the regime in its entirety will be far weaker and its domestic and international crises further escalated.”