The state of the Iranian regime is so precarious, that addressing any issue it faces quickly turns into open wrangling within the ranks of the ruling elite, who ironically belong to the supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s principlist faction.
By engaging in a major purge of the rival so-called moderate faction, Khamenei sought to consolidate his grip on power and enable the regime as a whole to deal with the brewing protests and uprisings by different sectors of the Iranian society.
The infighting was evident when the parliament was deciding on the fate of the preferred currency exchange rate of 42,000 rials to a dollar. After initially approving it, the regime decided to put off implementing the measure. That was followed by the hasty approval by a parliamentary commission of the so-called “Cyberspace Users’ Rights Protection Bill,” which in reality means imposing further restrictions on the Internet.
Facing opposition from parliament deputies who fear public backlash, the plan was approved for only six months. But even that did quell dissent. The parliament’s legal deputy said the vote taken by the joint commission, which approved the plan was technically and legally problematic.
The state-run news agency ISNA quoted a regime’s MP Jalal Rashidi Kouchi on February 24 as saying, “Unfortunately, the members of the Joint Commission themselves did not know what plan they were approving at the time of the general vote.”
The situation is so confusing that Tehran Friday prayer leader Ahmad Khatami took the stage last Friday and called the regime’s supporters to keep quiet and not escalate the situation any further. “The plan (Cyberspace Users’ Rights Protection Bill) is still neither ready nor fully decided and is just being discussed, why are we insulting each other? Why talk with anger? Someone says this is treason, the other one says it is malice, and the other one calls for protests,” he complained.
Many of the regime’s officials who initially supported Ebrahim Raisi and his government, now have changed their minds and are attacking him because the government is planning to remove the 42,000 rial currency exchange rate. They even question the regime’s budget bill and call it delusional and unachievable and inflationary.
Affirming this development, a cleric Mohammad-Reza Mirtajodini told the state-TV, “A critical movement has begun in this parliament, even among those who agreed with Mr. Raisi.”
Even the Iran nuclear deal (aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) has become a subject of dispute.
While Raisi and his foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian are insisting on the regime’s red lines, parliament deputy Mahmoud Nabavian said on February 26, “The gentlemen said they would only lift the sanctions on 20 people. Westerners only want to lift sanctions on paper, there is no news of lifting sanctions.”
And that is not all. Officials seem to disagree on policy vis-a-vis the war of occupation in Ukraine. The state-run daily Etemad on February 26, 2022, attacked Raisi and wrote: “Worse than that! You should also call the president of the attacked country! At least you did not say that you hope that this intervention will end in favor of the nations of the region! Which war and aggression will end in favor of nations?”