Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in part of his speech delivered to the clerics of the Iranian Province of Northern Khorasan, referred to their profound sacred duties during the country’s current circumstances and described these circumstances as being akin to the era of the prophet during the Battle of Ahzab (Battle of the Confederates). He stated: “Today, as in the period of the Battle of Ahzab during the time of the prophet, all the adversaries of Iran, whether regional or international, have amalgamated, aiming to undermine and rupture the steadfastness of the Iranian People. However, as it was during the time of the said battle, the Iranian faithful have not allowed trepidation and skepticism to penetrate their hearts and the people, by endeavoring to increase their power and capabilities, are resisting any pressure.”
Subsequently, the Iranian Supreme Leader in a criticism of individuals such as the Governor of the Iranian Central Bank, who had compared the milieu in Iran to the three growling years the prophet and his companions resided at a desert location named Shib Abi Taleb (also known as Shib Abi Hashem), where they were woefully hampered by the economical circumvention of their foes, rebuked the comparison and cited the situation in the country as being more like the battles of Badr and Khaybar. The consequently abandonment of his earlier evaluation whilst in Northern Khorasan, and still conjuring other similarities with the era of the prophet, indicates his chimeras; the particulars of which are detailed in the subsections below.
Invigorating and utilizing religious sentiments:
The Iranian Supreme leader is trying to use, or more accurately misuse, the religious sentiments and inclination of the people so that he may encourage them to show more resilience in the face of pressure. In the conjured comparisons cited, he casts himself in the role of the prophet, the people in the role of the sincere Muslim at the zenith of Islam and the weak elements of the populace are ascribed the role of the Pharisees; in these dramatizations the international community are often assigned the part of infidels. With these concocted comparisons the people are encouraged to remain firm and observe the instructions of the prophet’s current day successor, as initial Muslims heeded the instructions of the prophet during the zenith of Islam.
The Iranian Leader, deploying these comparisons, stated: “In the Battle of Ahzab (Battle of the Confederates) a bunch of hypocrites, as well as individuals of feeble faith, faulted and derided the faithful for not making concessions and altering their policies. However, the real devotees of the prophet (PBoH) use to retort that they are not surprised by the pressures brought to bear on them, nor do they feel trepidation and thus they will continue with their path.” Ayatollah Khamenei places himself in the role of the prophet whilst simultaneously forgetting the fact that in the said battle and in the Battle of Badr the prophet sought the counsel of Muslims and allowed them to articulate their views. Even if we accept the premises that given the current circumstances there exists not the possibility to referendum the people, the Iranian Leader can widen the circle of his advisors from the “sagacious select” and seek the views of all parties and political groups. However, will a Leader with his particular qualities submit to such a process? Undoubtedly not. Alas, Ayatollah Khamenei conveniently monopolizes the part of the battle-comparisons which would bolster his power, apart from that, he has no interest pertaining to the right of the people. This assertion can be certified by the fact that in his caricatures he also threatens them – the people – with obligatory resistance.
With his characterizations he also intends to divide the people into two main groups; adherents and opponents. The opponents in turn are to be described and depicted as Pharisees who are unable to stand the pressure exerted by the enemy. Thus, henceforth, one can imagine what would befall those who due to economical deprivation may pour unto the streets demanding their rights and liberties. To put it differently, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution is already cautioning the people that if they do not resist foreign pressure they would be placed in the category of Pharisees of feeble faith and that religious hypocrites such as these would be severely reprimanded. It goes without saying that apart from the above described characterizations, there will also be those who, due to their desire to negotiate with the United States, would be presented as the indolent elements – those aspiring that the Supreme Leader drinks from the poisoned chalice and submissively prostrates before the wishes of the international community.
According to what is indicated in the 33rd Chapter of the Holy Quran named The Confederates (Surah Al-Ahzab) the Pharisees (hypocrites) and those ‘…in whose heart there is a disease….’ complained that the Lord and his messenger have given us nothing but false promises; indicating the carping of the said groups. The Leader of the Islamic Republic, with the deployment of these verses, wishes to convey to those being addressed that the criticism of the Islamic Republic is akin to the same type of unfounded reproach, as all the promises of the Islamic Republic have been true and anyone who says otherwise is of the hypocrites. In other words the Iranian Leader hails the populace to ascent to silent and refrain from posing any challenging queries regarding the practices that brought the country to its current state of mêlée. In his initial speech the Supreme Leader wanted those trusted with position of authority to behave responsibly and accept accountability. Although he blamed the major of the country’s predicaments on her adversaries who with their sanction have encompassed the country.
The Iranian Leader, after three years and half having elapsed since the incidents following the June 2009 election, is stating the same assertion and threats he uttered during his now infamous Friday Prayer Sermon, which culminated in the forces of the Revolutionary Guard and The Basij to assail and suppress the people. During those days the people did not remain silent and took to the streets wanting to know where was their votes. However, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to these events as being riotous and blamed the Green Movement for the bloodshed.
Inspiring the people:
Ayatollah Khamenei is a firm believer in fashioning the spirit of hope and aspiration amongst the masses and respectively this was a point to which he referred during his speech to teachers in Northern Khorasan. He requested his audience to inspire an aura of hope and hopefulness in the schools and universities under their tutelage and at all costs refrain from the perpetuation of despair and demoralization. The does and don’ts of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, as well as that of the Intelligence Ministry, are all about prompting the press how to create the said impression of hope through the effective propagation of news. Giving unrealistic promises has been a usual tactic of the regime to get the nation from one day to the next and a particular policy trait of the Ahmandinejad’s Presidency, which continuously used the false pledges of a better tomorrow to see the people through the day, whilst the next day the same replication recurred. There is of-course no assurance that such a policy would work indefinitely, thus the Iranian Leader is already preparing the tools of supersession for when this policy approach finally fails. In reality Ayatollah Khamenei wants the people to be patient in the face of starvation and poverty and be hopeful of a better future, a better future which is unimaginable giving the machinery of this regime.
Warnings of war:
As it is clear from historical records, in the Battle of Ahzab (Battle of the Confederates) Muslims were surrounded by the infidels of the Arabian peninsular for approximately a month and in the subsequent theatre of conflict emerged victorious. However, albeit the officials of the Islamic Republic perceiving themselves in a warlike situation and the sanctions of the west as an act of war, the comparisons made by The Supreme Leader to various battles fought by Muslim is an indication that the regime is preparing itself for an awaited conflict which, as mentioned in a previous article, their Revolutionary Guard apparatus predicts will unfold in Syria. Hence, deploying the resemblances mentioned, the Iranian Leader is also indicating that a military altercation maybe on the horizon of fiscal encirclement; an altercation in which he clearly perceives himself as the victor.
The oratory of Ayatollah Khamenei in Northern Khorasan illustrates that not only he has not undergone any personal transformation in the past three and half years since the election, but rather that he has become even more entrenched in his trait of stubbornness and compilation of illusionary analysis; desiring an even more suffocating environment for the Iranian people. He is simply unwilling to recognize his blunders and expects the people to accept their consequences unquestionably and without complaint. Given these facts can the world really and systematically side not with the Iranian people but negotiate with a regime that has such a non-amendable Leader at its helm. The deeds of the Iranian Leader clearly indicate that his regime is incapable of reforms. Resultantly, before a new round of repression due to economic pressure stemming from sanctions occurs, it is prudent to assist the Iranian people.
The writer is the Founder of the Council for a Democratic Iran