Tension in the corridors of power among decision-making centers and the security and military apparatus in Iran has reached a critical level to an extent the supreme leader has not been able to heal the rift of these divisions. However, what is important is that these differences are getting wider whenever the matter of the imminent departure of Khamenei comes to the light and talks become louder for the need to determine his successor. Although getting rid of Rafsanjani has halted such talks for a while, he was the first to break the taboos and called for assigning a successor for Khamenei, but without being able to avoid the consequences as he was poisoned by radioactive materials. But the appetite of many officials and clerics in Iran and their addiction for more powers led them to race for the highest position in Iran at any cost, including the regime itself.
The post of the supreme leader is the highest authority in Iran, but it is also the main reason for the spread of corruption and the widening gap of differences and dispute over power. This was evident when the current leader, Ali Khamenei, was appointed temporarily for two months, and how Rafsanjani and the Chairman of the Councils of experts of leadership and the Guardian Council of the Constitution, Ahmed Jannati, deceived the masses to appoint him as a supreme leader for the country. During that period, however, Khamenei had a popular base and the regime was still young and the Iranian people were immersed in its populist riddles and rhetoric, so he remained until this day. But the recent leak of several files put the legitimacy of Ali Khamenei at stake. Many reports confirm that influential figures in the Revolutionary Guard, security services and Hawzas in Qom and close associates of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were behind these leaks which put Khamenei under big question marks in order to undermine the legitimacy of his authority over the country.
Therefore, it can be said that the protests that have recently erupted are related to the legitimacy of the supreme leader, especially that it has raised slogans against him all over Iran, which was one of the most taboo topics in the past. The questioning of the legitimacy of the supreme leader inside Iran is still on the rise, which can also be traced through the intensification of differences between the authorities in the country. This confirms that these protests will break out again with greater momentum in light of the growing causes of the revolution and the inability of the Iranian people to absorb the growing crises and problems, and the failure of the Revolutionary Guard to control the situation.
Influential figures inside Revolutionary Guard, the Hawazas of Qom and the security services are currently working to appoint a senior figure from Hawza’s Qom as the next supreme leader, and to keep the political clerics such as Khamenei, Jannati, Rouhani and others away from the top posts in the country, believing that this is the only solution to maintain order in Iran and to retain peace and internal stability. These influential figures believe that the conflicts among the political leaders led to the instability in which Iran is going through, as well as that they oppose Khamenei’s policies of his extensive interference in several countries in the region because of the damage they brought to the country and cost it a lot. On the other side, this is completely rejected by the political clerics who stress that the Revolutionary Guard is behind the deterioration of the internal situation and the increasing isolation of Iran internationally. This will definitely widen the internal differences in Tehran during the next phase.
What would take these differences into more sharp turn is the lobbying groups within Iran that support some major powers, including the United States, and work seriously and continuously to spread chaos within the country and even among the Iranian regime’s officials. These groups are strong and influential and have considerable power and very keen to topple the regime or to ride over a popular revolution to reach higher posts in the new Iran. For this reason, they focus spreading successive leaks that show that Khamenei’s appointment as a supreme leader of the country was illegal and contrary to the Iranian constitution since he does not have scientific qualifications according to the Shiite doctrine, and he is not considered a first-class cleric for Qom’s Hawza.
These lobbies do not even wish for the post of the Iranian supreme leader to continue, and they believe that it should be abolished and the country should be transformed into a presidential system elected by all the Iranian peoples. A strong domestic trend supported by the Iranian peoples as well as the international community. The Iranian peoples are currently suffering from poor conditions due to the aggravation of economic and living problems and crises, while the regime is subjected to increasing international isolation because of its continuous terrorist activities and its insistence on the seditious interventions in the countries of the region.
As a result, Iran will witness more protests in the coming days and with more momentum than the country has seen in the past few months, and will be supported by some influential elements in Iran, which are likely to lead to the collapse of the Iranian regime.
Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre
4 September 2018