Fierce political disputes have morphed in Iran these days. Senior regime officials have used their Persian New Year messages to further their feuds, clashing like wild animals. Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, unable to settle the score with the Rafsanjani-Rouhani camp, went to the city of Mashhad in northwest Iran to deliver a through message against his rivals.
On March 17th Rafsanjani surprisingly delivered his Persian New Year message to the Iranian people, while also targeting and lashing at Khamenei with harsh remarks. “Last year was your year. You taught everyone about moderation, to our enemies abroad and inside the country! Through the nuclear agreement you said to the world you are seeking engagement and not war, and through your vote you showed that the clergy cannot make ends meet without the people!... I personally heard your cries, demanding moderation and the nuclear agreement, and I saw with my own eyes how you meaningfully turned your backs to the extremists in the [February] elections… This year is your year. Day by day, in the shadow of your presence, you will be making it tougher for the extremists, and opening the door for moderation…”
Khamenei, in his own New Year message published in his website, referred to the defeats suffered by his regime and described the last Iranian calendar year as riddled with defeats and bitterness. He lashed at the Rafsanjani-Rouhani camp who have described the nuclear agreement as a success. Referring to the challenges before his regime, he referred to the nuclear agreement, the hopes it brought and the concerns it raised. He also repeated the words vulnerable, referring how his regime has become brittle.
“In the new year before us like always there are threats… the main issue is that the Iranian nation must be able to relieve itself of any vulnerability in the face of threats from our enemies and their animosity. We have to do something to relieve ourselves of any vulnerability.
From Khamenei’s first speech in the new Iranian calendar year one reaches the conclusion that he may have actually set the stage for serious measures against the Rafsanjani-Rouhani camp. Khamenei clearly criticized those are seek to resolve problems “according to the American model”, and those who say the Middle East crises and Iran’s own constitution should be tackled and reformed, respectively, through ‘JCPOA 2 and 3’… this means the Islamic republic should set aside Islamic rulings to resolve fundamental issues.”
Khamenei’s remarks were made only a few hours after Rouhani aired his message, in which he stipulated, “The Iranian people launched ‘JCPOA 2’ in the February 26th elections.” He has described this as the “national JCPOA inside the country.” Of course, this is not the first time Rouhani has used the term “JCPOA 2”, while he himself infused this terminology into Iran’s current political climate.
Khamenei responded by lashing out at supporters of ‘JCPOA 2’.
“You retreated before the enemy at a time when you could have held your grounds. The enemy will continue advancing and will not stop,” he said, raising serious criticism against “those who are hoping we sit down to negotiate with the U.S.” He described the result of such negotiations as utterly disastrous and went on to emphasize, “Today, in the Islamic republic, you will not find any knowledgeable figure believing in Islam that is afraid of the U.S.”
Khamenei’s remarks speak for themselves, starting the New Year using methods that will most probably lead to a very tension-filled year.
Now the question is who gains through such internal disputes amongst the senior Iranian regime brass? In my opinion it is none other than the Iranian people because these factional disputes prevents the Revolutionary Guards from resorting to vast domestic crackdown, allowing social uprisings that will lead to an end to the inhumane regime in Iran.