On June 14th the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei delivered a speech at the presence of the three government branch chiefs and a group of senior regime officials. The most important portion of his remarks that gained widespread coverage in Iranian media and the press included, “If the next U.S. president tears apart the nuclear deal, Iran will set it ablaze.”
The media focus on this sentence takes place at a time when Khamenei in his remarks on June 14th also referred to all the crises his regime is facing. From warning about defections amongst the regime’s most senior ranks, to expressing concern about defections even amongst the Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary Bassij units, his growing fear of the youths’ hatred and abhorrence of this regime, to depicting the path this regime is trekking into disaster after signing the nuclear agreement.
“This downgrading has no ending, just as they have now started the missile issue after the nuclear dossier, after the missiles they will raise the issue of human rights, and after human rights they will raise the issue of the Guardian Council, and then the mullahs’ establishment, and finally the constitution and the rule of Islam,” he said.
In this speech Khamenei also lashed out at his long-time rival, former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and his protégé, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“Don’t say the sanctions have been lifted,” he said. This comes at a time when Rouhani had at the beginning of this meeting emphasized sanctions have been lifted. Khamenei also expressed concern over the recession and dire economic conditions, and the fact that in the JCPOA they gave up everything and gained nothing.
In addition to Khamenei’s remarks, the meaningful absence of Rafsanjani in all similar session, refusing to sit alongside Khamenei, has become an important issue gaining the media’s attention.
Currently the question is why have the regime’s state TV and radio stations focused on the “Islamic republic will set ablaze the nuclear deal,” while Khamenei’s remarks covered a large range of crises and stalemates the Iranian regime is already facing? Was Khamenei seeking to only express this one sentence in his speech?
The answer can be obtained in how Iran’s media provided coverage for this very sentence. Iran’s state TV expressed concern over how pressures and increasing sanctions against the mullahs’ establishment has become a major issue in the U.S. presidential elections, and began saber-rattling by saying Khamenei “did not leave the threats raised by U.S. presidential candidates unanswered. A speech that gained attention very fast and to this point has most likely been heard by those making these threats.”
Therefore, through the focus on one sentence one can conclude that this was Khamenei’s main goal in this speech to deliver this one punch-line. This conclusion itself is the subject of a number of fundamental questions.
Does Khamenei truly intend to alter all the equations and set ablaze to the nuclear deal?
The answer is if Khamenei actually had such power and leverage, he would never kneel behind the negotiating table and would never sign a nuclear deal that was obvious from day one would become a quagmire for his regime. The answer is no. One can reach this conclusion through the emphasis Khamenei made to remain loyal to the agreement.
“The Islamic republic will not be the first party to violate the nuclear deal because it is the Koran’s ruling to remain loyal to one’s pledges,” he said before saying Iran will set ablaze to the nuclear deal.
Then what is Khamenei’s goal in this saber-rattling remarks of setting the nuclear deal ablaze? Simple. To reassure those very concerned members of his dismal social pact and those who are defecting in growing numbers day by day.
Who are the main targets of these remarks made by Khamenei?
The answer is in addition to those defecting from the regime’s apparatus, Khamenei is also seeking to gain the attention of U.S. presidential candidates. He is hoping that just maybe, similar to the golden years of appeasement, his remarks will force the West to give in to the regime’s demands. Of course, it is crystal clear that at a time when the regime’s policies are failing one after another, this pathetic saber-rattling effort by Khamenei will never fool anyone.
Finally, the last question is what message should one receive from these remarks made by Khamenei?
The message is quite clear: firstly, this reveals the true nature of the regime ruling Iran. Despite the fact that the nuclear agreement has cut short Iran’s reach for an atomic bomb, Khamenei continues to seek his devious intention in this regard.
Secondly, this is a clear reference to the weak status quo of the regime in Tehran. On one hand it is emphasizing on remaining loyal to the nuclear deal, and on the other hand he is ridiculously claiming to actually “set the nuclear deal ablaze.” This comes at a time when one sentence mentioned recently by Khamenei sheds light on his regime’s conditions and his own ongoing nightmares: “The main issue at hand is the very existence of the Islamic republic.”