Iran: A Stalemate Resolved with Harsh Means and Methods

As Iranian authorities show no mercy against protesters, people grasp that they should use their all capacity to counter the suppression
As Iranian authorities show no mercy against protesters, people grasp that they should use their all capacity to counter the suppression

On August 31, Iranian Eghtesad-e Saramad daily described Iran under the ayatollahs as a “male lion that is gradually aging.” The lion “is being defeated versus younger lions and has being exiled from its pride.” Given the “old age and lack of physical strength, it has lost his hunting power,” and inevitability uses “its fats” and “muscles.”

The daily predicted that “After a while, the lion loses its glory and strong muscles, and only skin and bones will remain, and tragic death is waiting for the forest king.”

“The political-military power of any country derives from its economic power, sustained double-digit inflation and unemployment, negative or negligible growth of national production and ransom for the whole world for a long time will not end except collapse. Economic inefficiency drove the glorious Soviet superpower to collapse without a single shot fired by its enemies,” the daily concluded.

The daily focused on the country’s economic conditions. However, the Iranian government does not experience a pleasant situation in other aspects. In this context, it explicitly warned authorities about a “tragic death.”

The Government Is Vulnerable Before Protests

On the other hand, the people feel the deterioration of the government’s “political-military power,” rooted from the country’s economic collapse. Contrary to the past, people do not succumb to the oppressive orders and try to defend their inherent rights.

For instance, in late August, the state security forces raided Abolfazl village suburb Ahvaz city, southwestern Iran, according to a Mostazafan Foundation’s complaint. The foundation affiliated to supreme leader Ali Khamenei claimed that it owns these lands, and the 300 families living there must evacuate their properties.

However, residents rejected the Mostazafan Foundation’s argument and resisted against security forces’ attacks. Notably, the village had built up before the foundation was founded by the religious state founder Ruhollah Khomeini in February 1980. “The foundation precisely deals with us as the Shah SAVAK [intelligence and security service] had dealt with our ancestors,” a local said.

Brave resistance by poor villagers and the national solidarity with their rights compelled the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani to visit the region and officially apologize to Abolfazl village residents. This event obviously showed that the government’s oppressive power has dramatically shrunk against protesters putting the whole ruling system in a vulnerable status.

Furthermore, for many years the ayatollahs used Moharram mourning ceremonies to provoke the people’s religious senses and beliefs to support the Islamic Republic. However, given the bloody suppression of the November 2019 protests and authorities’ unprecedented crimes, youths turned to mourning ceremonies as a field to express their rage against the dictatorship.

In Behbahan city, southwestern Iran, mourners remembered the memory of Mahmoud and Mehrdad Dashti Nia, two brothers killed by security forces, in their rituals and slogans. Videos of the ceremonies widespread circulated in social media and intelligence officers immediately captured the eulogist and the owner of Tekyeh, where Shiites gather to mourn. Of course, they were well aware better than anyone about risks, but they showed courage and paid homage to those who fell for freedom and justice.

Also, in Malat Langaroud village, northern Iran, the families of Pejman Golipour, another victim of the November protests, gathered at his grave commemorating his 19th birthday. The families of two other victims Navid Behboudi and Mehdi Daemi joined them.

All the while, authorities intended to terrify the society by harrowing tortures and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International recently shed light on parts of cruel suppression in “#BloodyNovember.” According to the human rights group, Iranian rulers use different types of torture, including electric shocks, sexual abuses, mock executions, waterboarding, and medical care deprivation as punishment. In a complicit effort, interrogators forced detainees to reiterate what they had dictated, and judicial officials sentenced “offenders” to long-term imprisonment and even death penalty based on torture-tainted confessions.

The Ayatollahs’ Failure in the Depth Strategic

Additionally, since the beginning of 2020, the Iranian government’s expansionist policies have received improbable blows. For four decades, Iranian officials intimidate and threaten regional countries with their ballistic missiles, nuclear ambitions, and, more importantly, their terrorist proxies like Lebanese Hezbollah, Houthis in Yemen, and Shiite militias in Iraq, and other extremist groups.

They frequently boasted about their “depth strategic” as an element of power to style their rule as a stable state versus domestic protests and foreign threats. However, after the death of Qassem Soleimani, former chief of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force, and the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, the ayatollahs’ regional power significantly dimmed.

Moreover, the August 4 Beirut explosion drove public opinion against the destructive role of the Iranian government’s leading proxy in the Middle East region, Lebanese Hezbollah. The following protests compelled the Hezbollah-backed Prime Minister Hassan Dhiab to resignation.

Social protests also led former secretary-general of Hezbollah Subhi al-Tufaily to apparently slam Hassan Nasrallah, the current Hezbollah leader, and his loyalty to the Iranian supreme leader. He also blamed Hezbollah’s crimes against regional nations in line with Iranian clerics’ interests. “Nasrallah is the real ruler of Lebanon… Hezbollah’s weapons destroyed Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and blew up Beirut,” Tufaily said.

In Iraq, the people turned Muharram mourning ceremonies into a stage for condemnation of Iran’s meddling in their country’s internal affairs. They also remembered the memory of activists recently assassinated by Iran-backed terror squads like prominent researcher Dr. Husham Alhashimi and political activist Dr. Raham Yaghoubi.

Also, recent airstrikes pushed the IRGC to decline its military presence in Syria and deliver several bases and barracks to Assad’s regime or Russian troops. Formerly, closed officials to Khamenei described Syria as “Iran’s 32nd province” to justify spending billions of dollars for preserving Bashar al-Assad’s power in this war-scarred country.

“If we do not combat in Syria, we have to fight enemies in Kermanshah and Tehran,” officials’ frequently said in the past. However, they have now withdrawn much of their forces from Syria.

The author of the Eghtesad-e Saramad daily piece ended by issuing a warning about upcoming protests and the risk of inflaming citizens’ ire. “Should the current situation be interpreted as a stalemate that would be resolved with harsh means and methods? Or can we remain optimistic and hopeful about an improvement in the future? In this context, protesting movements in late 2017-early 2018 and November 2019 and incompatible deals with them are not good signs. Of course, excessive [suppressions] will contribute to severely negative consequences,” the daily wrote.