By INU Staff

INU - Going into the second week of demonstrations in Iran, protesters have focused their anger towards President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

During an event Friday titled, “The Iran Protests: Implications for the Islamic Republic and Beyond” Reuel Gerecht, a senior FDD fellow who focuses on Iran said, “Rouhani is one of the architects of the national security state [in Iran]. He’s got so much blood on his hands, he’ll never be able to wash it off.” He added that President Rouhani, and the ruling Iranian regime as a whole, are incapable of employing moderate policies.

“If Rouhani is being labeled a moderate then you need to have a new lexicon because it just historically makes no sense. So the regime fundamentally can’t [be] moderate. It’s had numerous opportunities to do so,” Gerecht said.

Iran’s Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri argued that the president’s detractors, as well as the Islamic Republic’s “enemies,” including the United States, may have triggered the protests.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reports that Tehran’s Islamic leadership may have found a scapegoat in the form of “an ultra-hard-line cleric and Khamenei ally in Iran’s fundamentalist heartland … Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda.” Iran’s National Security Council reportedly suggested that some elements of Tehran’s theocracy hold the hard-liner, “a staunch critic of President Hassan Rouhani, who came to power and won reelection last year pressing for mild social reforms and an opening up of Iranian society,” responsible for the protests.

Alamolhoda’s office has dismissed reports that the council summoned him as “rumors”, according to the New York Times (NYT).

Taleblou a senior Iran analyst at FDD, during the discussion on Friday, declared, “There were some economic grievances, but as some of the media are trying to continue to frame it as such, these protests are not only economic. They are distinctly political and they follow a trajectory of social and political protests in the Islamic Republic’s history.” He suggested that the rallies might prove to be the “death knell” for the ruling regime in Iran.

In fact, reports say that protesters chanted “death to the dictator” and “death to Rouhani”, suggesting that anger towards the government is intensifying.

He continued, “No one has been more detrimental for the national interest of Iran than the Islamic Republic [regime]. No on has bucked the interest of the Iranian state more than the leadership of the Islamic Republic. … Ultimately, I think it could be the death knell. This leadership has failed them. That’s why it’s death to Rohani. Death to Khamenei.”

Although there are reports that the demonstrations are “fading,” they have entered their 9th day, and the FDD experts predicted that they will continue to rage into the foreseeable future. “The protests are still continuing despite the regime’s best efforts to say that they’ve been crushed,” said Taleblu.

U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged support of the anti-establishment protesters in Iran, tweeting, “Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!”