2018 is considered the year that Iran’s has witnessed the most of its failed plans, and the worst of all to the mullahs’ regime, which has ruled Iran in a unilateral and dictatorial way for 40 years that made Iran the world’s most isolated country and its people the most suffering one in the world from crises, economic, living, social and security problems, despite being rich in natural resources that, if managed well and invested correctly, would have made Iran now one of the richest countries in the world.

This result, which the Iranian peoples have become well aware of, has caused changes in the Iranian popular thought over the last few years, leading it to break the restrictions and taboos imposed by the organs of the regime, mainly the Revolutionary Guard, so a qualitative development has been formed in 2018 through the height “audacity of the Iranian interior” against the mullahs’ regime politically, popularly and informationally. This indicates that the next stage will witness a prelude to demonstrations and popular revolt against the rule of the Wali al-faqih and the policies of the Revolutionary Guard at home and abroad.

Some Iranian newspapers, particularly those affiliated with the reformist movement, which express the real opinion of the Iranian street, have begun to break the restrictions and go beyond the taboos by publicly criticizing Iran’s foreign policies and interventions, which are determined and set by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and carried out by the Revolutionary Guard. This is because the main task of all the Iranian media was to applaud, promote and defend the regime’s policies without addressing any of its myriad drawbacks. In the event of a problem or a crisis, it was allowed only to criticize the government and ministers, and to provide them as a scapegoat before the Iranian public.

Those who dare to cross the red lines in criticizing any of the policies or ideas of the Iranian Supreme Leader, their fate is imprisonment, arrest and closure of the media in which they work. As for the charges, they are many and ready such as spreading corruption on Earth, undermining the security and stability of the country or dealing with foreign parties’ hostile to the Iranian revolution and many more. Therefore, Iran leads the world in terms of the number of prisoners of conscience, political activists and journalists, and in repressing freedoms, depriving civil and political rights and carrying out executions.

What is new, however, and more interesting, is that the Iranian newspapers, especially those affiliated with the reformist movement inside Iran, have begun to break down barriers and taboos and openly criticizing the policies of the Iranian Supreme Leader. And this is another example of raising the bar of audacity in Iran after a number of political figures recently, such as former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami; Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the Iranian Supreme Leader; Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani and a large number of Shura Council members and political figures have openly criticized Khamenei’s policies and warned of the fall of the Iranian regime because of the Iranian involvements in regional affairs, the spread of corruption and high rates of poverty, unemployment and others.

The phenomenon of criticizing Khamenei’s policies is now intensifying among political figures and members of the Shura Council such as Jalal Rahim Jahan Abadi who criticized the foreign policy of his country, saying: “Iran’s foreign policy has a lot of unnecessary costs, and could leave us paralyzed in the streets of Tehran”, calling for the removal of unnecessary costs of the country’s spending, and he meant by that the costs of the Iranian interventions in the region, citing the former Soviet Union, which collapsed at the end despite its possession of the Nuclear weapon.

The newspapers Arman, Etemad and Ebtekar are considered among the most important newspapers in Iran which have begun to raise their criticisms to the regime’s policies. An example of this is the editorial of Ebtekar on January 9th, 2019, by Amid’s block member in the Iranian parliament, Ghulam Reza Haidari, who mentioned the need to concentrate and recognize the Iranian national interests rather than foreign interference, considering that much more important than supporting the vulnerable on Earth. Haidari stressed that US sanctions will have an impact on the situation in Iran, and whoever says otherwise is ignorant, referring to the statements of Iran’s top leaders who often stress that US sanctions will have no effect on Iran. The writer also referred to the budget approved by the government for the coming Iranian year, and strongly criticized the budget of the Iranian Radio and Television Foundation, which is one of the most important institutions of the regime and the Iranian Supreme Leader. He stressed that it does not deserve such a huge budget, wondering about the national achievements this organization is giving, denying its claims that the number of its audience is increasing day by day, stressing that the Iranian public turns to other channels and stations other than the Iranian television.

Haidari also referred to the defense budget, criticizing Iran’s foreign interventions under the guise of supporting the vulnerable on Earth, pointing out that the Iranian interior needs help and support, especially as the numbers of the poor are increasing day by day according to official Iranian statistics. He also called for the need to reconsider Iran’s foreign policies, stressing that protecting Iran’s national interests is the most important thing, and much more important than wasting billions of dollars on useless regional affairs.

In fact, this is a very important development. The high level of audacity politically and in media against the regime of Wali al-Faqih points to several points, most notably:

First: the decline of the Supreme Leader’s stature in Iranian society and the loss of his popular base.

Second: The Revolutionary Guard’s failure in preventing the people and opponents of the regime from crossing the red lines and breaking the taboos.

Third: the spread of popular and political opposition to the Iranian regime at home in a parallel of their vision and objectives with the Iranian opposition abroad, which is a very important development that indicates to the end of the regime’s control over the Iranian interior

Fourth: this proves that the ideas and policies established by Khomeini and restored by Khamenei have expired and are no longer accepted by the Iranian communities, especially the youth who are more opened to the world and believe that the only way for this openness is by scrapping these reactionary policies and get rid of the mullahs’ regime.

Fifth: The emergence of the social awareness, the rising audacity of the Iranian street, and the matching goals between most of the people, with a sharp decline in supporters of the regime of Wali al-Faqih and the inability of its organs to control the opposition, despite using the most severe rmethodsepression, torture and persecution .

Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre

January 13 , 2019