The unsolvable paradox of Iran

On Wednesday, October 7, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders in a major speech, describing them as "his dear children whom he is satisfied with 100 percent."  What is the speech's significance?  Before answering this question, it is necessary to give a brief overview of the history of the IRGC.

The IRGC was formed in May 1979, just three months after the establishment of the clerical regime in Iran.  The name and identity of this entity makes no reference to "Iran" as a nation, because its mandate carries ideological connotations and goes beyond the geographic boundaries of the country.  The IRGC is the supreme leader's main instrument for the establishment of an "Islamic caliphate" in the Middle East.

Article 1 of the 1979 IRGC charter states: "The IRGC is an institution under the supreme command of the leader and its goal is to protect Iran's Islamic revolution and its achievements and to continually attempt to realize divine ideals and to expand the rule of divine law on the basis of the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran while fully strengthening the defensive structure of the Islamic Republic through cooperation with other armed forces and military training and organization of popular forces."

After usurping power in February 1979, the clerical regime consolidated its power on the basis of the principle of velayat-e faqih (or absolute rule of clerics or mullahs).  At the state's core is the Islamic jurisprudent proclaimed as a vali-e-faqih (supreme leader).

In recent years, the IRGC has experienced a major fall in morale and is in danger of collapse due to economic pressures and political developments, especially the explosive conditions of society and the rapid advancement of the opposition movement.  In his recent speech, Khamenei acknowledged that "the defection and growth is everywhere; of course the IRGC is no exception, but is it the defection or is it the growth that is dominant?  I firmly believe that in the Revolutionary Guards growth is prevalent."

These statements are the clearest indication of the sharp decline in morale.  The most notable example was the resignation of the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Jaafari.  Before leaving his post, Jaafari had stated in a public address as commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, "One of the concerns of the Supreme Leader is the internal status of the IRGC."

When the U.S. government listed the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization on April 8, 2019, Khamenei cheered and praised the IRGC and its paramilitary Basij in a speech on April 9.  He knew full well the discouraging impacts of the listing among the rank and file of the IRGC.

"Profound developments"

In his speech, Khamenei did not hide his serious concern about the "profound developments" concerning the regime's ultimate fate.  He urged the IRGC to "prepare for profound developments ... but never fear the enemy."

Khamenei certainly does not mean foreign military invasion and war by "profound developments."  He has repeatedly insisted that there will be no war and that one of the reasons for his terrorist actions in the Persian Gulf, including an act of war on Saudi oil facilities, comes from the fact that he believes that the U.S. does not seek war.

Khamenei has repeatedly said that if the regime does not fight in Syria and Iraq, it will be forced to fight for survival in Iran's provinces, including Kermanshah, Isfahan, and Tehran.  His statement to the effect that "this broader transnational view along the strategic depth is sometimes even more necessary than the country's most necessary goals" is based on the premise that the main threat in Khamenei's view arises from inside the country (the Iranian people).

In his speech, Khamenei admitted that people are living in difficult conditions.  In a country as rich as Iran, two thirds of the population live under the line of poverty.  The legions of hungry and unemployed people are against the regime.  Iran accounts for one percent of the world's population and seven percent of the world's mines.  Iran is the third oil-producing country and the fourth gas-producing nation.

Khamenei, however, found the solution to the crises he was facing in warmongering.  He said: "But if a strong, persistent and resistant move is made, the livelihood of the people will certainly improve."

Emerging from the religious dogmas of the Middle Ages, the Iranian regime is unable to respond to the economic, cultural, and political demands of the people of the present century.  In order to escape accountability, it seeks survival through terrorism abroad and suppression in the country.

Teachers, workers, students, and other protesters across the country oppose the regime's regional and domestic policies.  In popular protests in Iran, the chant is, "Leave the warmongering, think about us!"

It is a paradox that, on the one hand, the religious dictator has to rely on the IRGC to escape the crisis of overthrow while, on the other hand, increasing poverty and dissatisfaction through overseas operations.  The organized resistance units inside Iran led by the MEK, the sworn enemies of the mullahs, has a widespread presence, leading extensive discontent to a major objective: the overthrow of the mullahs' regime.

Image: Khamenei.ir via Wikimedia Commons.

On Wednesday, October 7, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders in a major speech, describing them as "his dear children whom he is satisfied with 100 percent."  What is the speech's significance?  Before answering this question, it is necessary to give a brief overview of the history of the IRGC.

The IRGC was formed in May 1979, just three months after the establishment of the clerical regime in Iran.  The name and identity of this entity makes no reference to "Iran" as a nation, because its mandate carries ideological connotations and goes beyond the geographic boundaries of the country.  The IRGC is the supreme leader's main instrument for the establishment of an "Islamic caliphate" in the Middle East.

Article 1 of the 1979 IRGC charter states: "The IRGC is an institution under the supreme command of the leader and its goal is to protect Iran's Islamic revolution and its achievements and to continually attempt to realize divine ideals and to expand the rule of divine law on the basis of the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran while fully strengthening the defensive structure of the Islamic Republic through cooperation with other armed forces and military training and organization of popular forces."

After usurping power in February 1979, the clerical regime consolidated its power on the basis of the principle of velayat-e faqih (or absolute rule of clerics or mullahs).  At the state's core is the Islamic jurisprudent proclaimed as a vali-e-faqih (supreme leader).

In recent years, the IRGC has experienced a major fall in morale and is in danger of collapse due to economic pressures and political developments, especially the explosive conditions of society and the rapid advancement of the opposition movement.  In his recent speech, Khamenei acknowledged that "the defection and growth is everywhere; of course the IRGC is no exception, but is it the defection or is it the growth that is dominant?  I firmly believe that in the Revolutionary Guards growth is prevalent."

These statements are the clearest indication of the sharp decline in morale.  The most notable example was the resignation of the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Jaafari.  Before leaving his post, Jaafari had stated in a public address as commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, "One of the concerns of the Supreme Leader is the internal status of the IRGC."

When the U.S. government listed the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization on April 8, 2019, Khamenei cheered and praised the IRGC and its paramilitary Basij in a speech on April 9.  He knew full well the discouraging impacts of the listing among the rank and file of the IRGC.

"Profound developments"

In his speech, Khamenei did not hide his serious concern about the "profound developments" concerning the regime's ultimate fate.  He urged the IRGC to "prepare for profound developments ... but never fear the enemy."

Khamenei certainly does not mean foreign military invasion and war by "profound developments."  He has repeatedly insisted that there will be no war and that one of the reasons for his terrorist actions in the Persian Gulf, including an act of war on Saudi oil facilities, comes from the fact that he believes that the U.S. does not seek war.

Khamenei has repeatedly said that if the regime does not fight in Syria and Iraq, it will be forced to fight for survival in Iran's provinces, including Kermanshah, Isfahan, and Tehran.  His statement to the effect that "this broader transnational view along the strategic depth is sometimes even more necessary than the country's most necessary goals" is based on the premise that the main threat in Khamenei's view arises from inside the country (the Iranian people).

In his speech, Khamenei admitted that people are living in difficult conditions.  In a country as rich as Iran, two thirds of the population live under the line of poverty.  The legions of hungry and unemployed people are against the regime.  Iran accounts for one percent of the world's population and seven percent of the world's mines.  Iran is the third oil-producing country and the fourth gas-producing nation.

Khamenei, however, found the solution to the crises he was facing in warmongering.  He said: "But if a strong, persistent and resistant move is made, the livelihood of the people will certainly improve."

Emerging from the religious dogmas of the Middle Ages, the Iranian regime is unable to respond to the economic, cultural, and political demands of the people of the present century.  In order to escape accountability, it seeks survival through terrorism abroad and suppression in the country.

Teachers, workers, students, and other protesters across the country oppose the regime's regional and domestic policies.  In popular protests in Iran, the chant is, "Leave the warmongering, think about us!"

It is a paradox that, on the one hand, the religious dictator has to rely on the IRGC to escape the crisis of overthrow while, on the other hand, increasing poverty and dissatisfaction through overseas operations.  The organized resistance units inside Iran led by the MEK, the sworn enemies of the mullahs, has a widespread presence, leading extensive discontent to a major objective: the overthrow of the mullahs' regime.

Image: Khamenei.ir via Wikimedia Commons.