Throughout history, tyrants have had the grandiose belief that the people of their country love and support them. They portray themselves as one of the people, uninformed of what is happening in the country they are in control of, all the while claiming that they seek to prove their love to the people.
They think that they are on the right path and the right side of history, seeing themselves as the center of everything. Those who support them are rightful and those who oppose them are wrong. Whenever a disaster happens, they take refuse to take responsibility themselves and blame them on regime officials’ negligence or their foreign enemies.
Where Iran is concerned, Iran’s ruling theocracy, symbolized by its supreme leader Ali Khamenei, believes that it is righteous, revolutionary, Islamic, democratic, and victimized. They think that they have established the first real republic in Iran and that their so-called democratic structure is unique in the entire world. They also claim that their enemies spread lies on the internet and exaggerate their errors.
While such an illusion may prove helpful in the short-term giving them the mistaken impression that they will be not overthrown anytime soon, the mullahs feign ignorance to the notion that the ship has sailed some time ago, and there is no return.
The active presence of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK/PMOI) and its Resistance Units has changed the situation on the ground.
The younger generations of Iranians have reached a level of enlightenment where the clerics’ propaganda has lost its impact. If until yesterday the mullahs were able to mispresent the modern history of Iran, especially the events of the anti-monarchical revolution in 1979, today such a thing is almost impossible for them to achieve.
Thus Khamenei, in fear of the increasing popularity of the MEK and the expansion of its Resistance Units, introduced something very strange which he called the ‘Jihad in Interpretation’ to reverse his losses.
In an interview published by Khamenei.ir, Golali Babaei, a regime scholar, writer, and propagandist, boasted of Khamenei’s latest gambit.
“One of the important priorities of the Jihad in Interpretation is the historiography and recording historical events. If such a thing were to happen, it would clarify questions that people, and especially the youths, may have. They will find a new identity. This would be exactly the opposite of what has happened in recent years as enemies have poisoned the minds of our youth with poisonous propaganda,” he said.
Babaei went on to highlight the regime’s fears about social media, stating, “In fact, the Achilles heel of this issue is virtual space and social media. If we see today that the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) has stopped all its activities and focused on the use of social media, it is because it knows its destructive power. Today, the destructive impact of a message or a short clip is far greater than that of several bombs and missiles. If we want to have the upper hand in the Jihad in Interpretation, cyberspace is without a doubt one of the most effective tools.”
Inadvertently, he has admitted three key facts:
- The regime can no longer recruit or suppress the young generation. Iran’s young generation is paying attention to the MEK’s message.
- To neutralize the impact of the MEK’s growing popularity, the regime’s only tool is the distortion of the truth and the history.
On March 6, the state-run daily Kayhan, the mouthpiece of Khamenei, wrote about what is referred to as the ‘battalions of the (Jihad) in Interpretation’, which it said was necessary to confront the MEK.
It wrote, “We must pay special attention and know that the establishment of the Battalions of Jihad in Interpretation is an urgent issue and must be our current priority and our firm determination to follow along this path.”
The following day, the state-run daily Aftab wrote about the ‘Tirana Cyber Army,’ referring to the MEK members living in Albania. It wrote, “With a cursory glance, one can see the quantitative production of content by this army. Thousands of people are working daily. According to the news reflected in the relevant pictures, each of them manages 20 fake accounts. Now, if each of them delivers only five news items or comments, it becomes 30,000 items.”
According to this estimate, only in cyberspace, the MEK is carrying out more than 30,000 activities. This is what Khamenei is fearing most. Therefore, he introduced the ‘Jihad in Interpretation’ to confront the truth spreading through the internet into the country.