Recently, the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, gave a speech expressing his frustration about the internet, saying that instead of giving hope to the Iranian youth, it is adversely affecting their future and prospects.

His speech highlighted the deepening schism among regime officials on how to deal with the country’s many crises.

Mahmoud Dajkam, Khamenei’s representative, and the Friday prayer leader in Shiraz referred to this crisis in comments broadcast on the state-run TV channel FARS on January 14. He said, “What do they do in soft warfare? He (Khamenei) said that they are questioning the vision of the Islamic Revolution. He cited examples about the visions of the revolution and said that they are questioning the rule of religion.”

Along with many other of the regime’s Friday prayers’ leaders, Dajkam is concerned over the people’s growing rejection of the regime’s medieval ideology, and, like Khamenei, he blamed this alarming development and the continuing unrest on the Internet.

Ahmad Alamolhoda, the Friday prayer leader in Mashhad and Raisi’s father-in-law, pointed to the regime’s anxiety about the mullahs’ ideological defeat in remarks broadcast on Iran’s Astan Qods TV channel. “The enemy is not dealing with secular Islam, but it deals with political Islam. They spew a lot of insult against the key people and the officials on cyberspace which they have created, this is disconcerting for the officials and the system.”

He pointed out that the regime’s main concern is the increasing hatred towards the regime’s officials and the dwindling lack of support among the public.” The people long for a secular government,” Alamolhoda lamented.

The Friday prayer leader in Qom, Mohammad Saeedi Golpayegani, said that the crisis was much more critical at the heart of the regime than Khamenei and Alamolhoda were speaking about.

In his speech, broadcasted by the regime’s state-TV Channel in Qom on January 14, he pointed to the 12th national assembly of the Qom seminary association and ”the scholars of the country who joined together to find a cure for this pain,” saying,  Ayatollah Busheri said at the gathering, “The clergy must beware of not repeating the slogans of (the enemies), or take a passive approach to the slogans we observe. And say religion is separate from politics.” Ayatollah (Ahmad) Khatami said that some people want to revive the idea of the separation of religion and state, which Reza Khan (Shah) propagated.”

What Khamenei failed to acknowledge in his speech was the disillusionment among the regime’s die-hard forces in the seminaries.

The state-run Hamdeli daily highlighted this point in its January 15 issue, writing that “it appears that the disconcerting inflation on the one hand and the non-realization of the people’s logical dissatisfaction over the country’s management, on the other hand, have dissuaded groups of clerics in the seminaries from continuing their education and deciding to become clergymen. It has also dissuaded them from remaining faithful to revolutionary concerns or supporting the discourse governing the country. In recent days, two or three religious lecturers and grand ayatollahs in the Qom Seminary have expressed concern over the decline in the enrollment in the seminaries or the young clerics’ ambivalence toward supporting the governing discourse in the country.”

They explained that several officials within the Qom seminary, as well as two or three lecturers and administrators, had expressed their concerns in recent days over the declining enrollment in some seminaries, and “the student’s ambivalence in supporting the discourse proffered by the ruling regime.”

With the increasing awareness of the Iranian people, thanks to the internet and the people’s increasing contacts with other cultures, which the regime has desperately tried to prevent over the past four decades, the source of the regime’s phony and reactionary culture has dried up and the gap between the people and their rulers has dramatically widened.

This schism has become so obvious that the state-run daily Arman wrote on January 12, “Given that the views, tastes, speeches, and behavior of most of the nation have become different from the official literature, most officials have not adapted themselves with the mental leap of today’s Iranian society. The point is that most of the Iranian nation is different from the literature of officials both in form and substance.”

They also suggested the regime’s officials should change their way and behavior before it is too late, adding, “…The rulers should know that the method and character of governance based on imposing restrictions and limitations, has an expiration date. In an atmosphere where the society’s weapon is to become enlightened, that weapon becomes the source of power over time. Therefore, any resistance to the type of power emanating from enlightenment is fragile.”