In his much anticipated Friday Prayer Sermon, Ayatollah Khamenei lifted the veil and revealed with much more clarity than previous statements on where he and his regime stand on many of the key issues regarding reform leaders, the regime forces, system tolerance and rebellion. Of course, also threatened citizens not to abuse Qods Day for protesting. Believing that he is following in the footsteps of Imam Ali and Ayatollah Khomeini, he said that he has been trying to guide all involved in these disputes, but that some refuse this guidance and are trying to damage the system. The system is strong and it will fight back harshly.
Here are some excerpts that we think are of most import:
“From the beginning of the revolution, as we were all together with each other, differences emerged. Imam Khomeini did not deal with all these the same way, same as Ali. Imam Khomeini first tried to guide them. There were different people in the government back then. There were people from the old bureaucracy, there were people who had just joined the government and then there were those who were using terror and protests to achieve their objectives. He dealt with them all differently.”
He appears to be saying that he has been trying to guide those involved, and that they are not all on the same level. They have and will be dealt with differently. The reference to terror and protests seems to be pointed at Mousavi and Karroubi.
“These differences were emerged. Some of them resulted in debates, but some became conflicts. To those who were enemies of the religion, Imam Khomeini said that he would come to them personally. But when came the time that some wanted to force wrong ideas upon the system, Imam Khomeini hit back firmly.”
Reference to force wrong ideas must mean reformist ideas and that in following Khomeini’s path justifies the severe crackdown.
“Now those who are after personal gains, try to make it look as if they’re seeking something else. But that’s when they become enemies of the system. If someone has a different idea but does not try to attack the system, the system is fine with them. Political ideologies that are different; we’re fine with them, as long as they don’t try to force it upon the system. It’s not about having different ideas, but about attacking the Islamic system. This what the system will fight against.”
Referencing “personal gain,” We suspect he means Mir Hossein Mousavi and reform. The regime views reform as anathema to the Islamic system and a threat to its very existence. Although YOU can have your ideas, just don’t question OURS.
However when some come up with entirely different foundations to rest the system upon, which is dangerous. So long as they work inside the framework of the system as we said, so long as people don’t resort to violence, don’t lie or create tension, the system will not attack. The system will tolerate them if they have a different opinion. However, if some people comes with new pillars for the system and create insecurity for people, then the system needs to deal with them harshly.”
Referencing people in the first part of the statement, is most likely directed at protesters in an attempt to keep them in their homes and off the streets. The second part, referencing some people, obviously directed at Mousavi , perhaps even Khatami and alike. This probably means there will be arrests soon.
“We say people should have the right to be defended if they have been slandered or humiliated, then the system also has the right to defend itself. Some say since the system is political, it should not defend itself. This is not right. Thus, the answer to any attacks on the system is going to be harsh. But having a different opinion – when it doesn’t come with slander and lies , will be tolerated by the system.”
We believe he is saying much here. First, many in the establishment have criticised the security forces and their leaders for their recent statements that they have every right to be involved in the politics as this is a very sensitive time. Khamenei seems not only to defend their position, but reassert it. Second, we believe the reference to “slander and lies” is specifically targeting Mehdi Karroubi and “answering attacks on system is going to be harsh,” is a clear sign that the arrest of Mousavi is imminent.
“Quds Day is for the Palestinians. It is a show of unity of Iranians. Be cautious, so that no one could use this day to create differences and rifts between us. They couldn’t break our unity before and they cannot now.”
Here he seems to be trying to give himself distance from the violence that will surely be inflicted on the people on Qods Day if they dare protest. Although, anyone who protests will be seen as creating “differences” and “rifts” and “They couldn’t break our unity before and they cannot now,” obviously referencing the reason they couldn’t and will not, Basij and security forces.
To sum up the sermon in our view, we believe he has laid down the gauntlet; Mousavi and Karroubi at minimum will be arrested soon (probably house arrest if history is any indication), the reform movement will no longer be tolerated and the purging will continue, security forces are integral to the survival of the system therefore, they have every right to inject themselves wherever and whenever needed, and lastly, protests and rebellion will be crushed.
Note: Although we watched, listened and took notes to the speech ourselves, we used excerpts from the transcript of the website Anonymous Iran for our analysis. Read the full transcript of Khamenei’s sermon courtesy of Anonymous Iran
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