Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff

INU - “The leader of the revolution: I am fully aware of (people’s) criticisms,” stated a recent headline in state-run Etemad newspaper.

As well, the headline of Iran’s major intelligence newspaper, Ettela’at, read, “The Great Supreme Leader of the Revolution: Aristocracy not paying attention to the oppressed and depending on foreigners is a disease for (our) revolution.”

According to an article by entrepreneur, political scientist, business strategist, philanthropist and TV commentator Majid Rafizadeh, these speeches by Khamenei are part of his ‘good cop, bad cop’ strategy.

Khamenei is the second longest-serving dictator in the region, successfully ruling for nearly three decades. When it benefits him. Khamenei acknowledges his people’s grievances. In these particular speeches, he recognizes that people are suffering because of the economy, unemployment and injustice.

Rafizadeh writes, “On the one hand, Khamenei is projecting to the ordinary people that he totally sympathizes with them, that he stands with them, and that he is on their side. He is distinguishing and separating himself from the dominant religious and political establishments, which the majority of the people have become dissatisfied with and complain about. On the other hand, Khamenei is also placing the blame for injustices on anonymous ‘officials.’ By throwing the ball into other people’s court, Khamenei is evading accountability and responsibility. He stated that the ‘officials’ ought to listen to people’s concerns and apologize to the people and to God.”

‘Officials’ seems to be an intentionally ambiguous term that Khamenei uses to deflect blame. “By pointing fingers at ‘officials’, does Khamenei mean it is Iranian President Hassan Rouhani or a low-level clerk who works at the Ministry of the Economy who is responsible for the injustices? Does he mean it is a soldier of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force — a branch of the IRGC that conducts covert and extra-territorial military operations — who is responsible?” asks Rafizadeh, since the supreme leader fails to name the culpable ‘officials’.

In this manner, he can avoid charging, indicting, bringing to justice and putting in prison any of the regime’s staff. Iran’s judiciary, whose top official is directly appointed by Khamenei, has not followed up to hold held anyone accountable.

Rafizadeh writes that it is clear that Khamenei does no see himself as one of the ‘officials’, and from his perspective, he is appointed by God to lead Iran. His official Persian website describes him as the supreme leader of the entire Islamic world.

Khamenei makes all final decisions in Iran, and IRGC and its affiliates and the Office of the Supreme Leader maintain significant control over the nation’s economy and politics. “Although the IRGC is known as a military organization, it has been involved in monopolizing Iran’s economy by engaging in illegal trading. The IRGC buys and controls various economic sectors, such as telecommunications, gas and oil, and commercial airlines,” Rafizadeh writes, and adds that just one of the organizations that Khamenei owns, Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam, is worth at least $95 billion.

Rafizadeh concludes that Khamenei’s strategy is aimed at dodging responsibility, accountability, and strengthening his grip on power. Khamenei need look no further than himself to see who is responsible for the people’s poverty and the injustices.

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