The Iranian regime’s ability to sustain its power has become a critical challenge that will determine its fate amidst the ongoing repercussions of the 2022 uprising. Experts within the regime are grappling with various strategies to address the existential challenges it faces, with a consensus emerging that the regime is currently in a state of decline.

The prevailing assessment among governance experts highlights the accelerated erosion of the regime’s social support base, mainly attributed to ‘excessive centralization’ over the past four decades and the absence of viable ‘top-down reforms.’ It is widely agreed that the window for ‘bottom-up reforms’ has closed, leaving the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, with only one opportunity: a ‘revolution from above,’ entailing a comprehensive overhaul of the system and its constitution.

Among these experts, Mohsen Renani, in a post on August 2, delves into the infrastructural crises facing the regime, which have contributed to its ongoing instability and the growing public discontent. Renani emphasizes that fundamental changes in these infrastructures are imperative for the regime to survive and remain standing. He cites several examples, noting that there are many others:

  • Over the past four decades, powerful and wealthy quasi-governmental institutions, such as Astan Quds and the Executive Command Headquarters, have emerged, reluctant to relinquish their power and wealth.
  • Many banks, private and quasi-governmental financial institutions have acquired resources through illegal means, leading to a complex financial network that struggles to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate activities. These banks engage in speculation in real estate and currency markets and lack the capacity to coordinate effectively with the global financial network.
  • The judicial system suffers from inefficiency and corruption, with strong influence from government-affiliated individuals. Its legal principles are derived from jurisprudence, and judges and lawyers trained in this system perpetuate its inefficiencies.
  • The public education system, which also includes private components, exhibits clear discrimination in the provision of educational services, creating educational disparities in society. This system fails to accommodate all Iranian children, resulting in many being left without access to education due to poverty or other reasons. Consequently, Iran faces a crisis of expertise and efficiency in human resources, exacerbated by the government’s ideological approach to education.

These fundamental crises are the direct outcome of the regime’s ideologies, politics, and management from the time of Khomeini to the present-day under Khamenei’s leadership. The regime’s experts wonder whether a ‘top-down revolution‘ led by Khamenei and his government, parliament, and judiciary appointees is feasible in light of these challenges. Renani quotes Einstein, stating that “the thinking that led to a crisis cannot resolve that crisis.” It raises whether Khamenei and his political and military allies are prepared to abandon the thoughts, politics, and management that have perpetuated these crimes while holding onto the ‘necessity of preserving the system.’

To gain insights into the regime’s struggle to prevent its downfall, we must consider this expert’s concluding remarks, where he criticizes himself for still hoping that a system detached from reality would initiate a ‘revolution from above.’

In conclusion, considering Iran’s entrenched political and social conditions preceding the 2022 uprising, along with the consequences of its continued impact on the rule of the mullahs, it is increasingly evident that the government lacks the capacity for effective reform or revolution from above. The inevitable collapse appears to be a matter of time and nothing else.