A former security official who still advises Iran's state security organizations has told IranWire in a short interview that the spread of protests across Iran has taken the regime by surprise.
The former official, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, said that IRGC chiefs are accusing the police, the army and the Ministry of Intelligence of negligence and intend to violently end the protests on the direct order of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The source said he had heard from an IRGC official that “Mr. Khamenei has decreed that they should have no mercy. Mr. Khamenei said that it makes no sense for women to burn hijab in the street. This is moharebeh [war against God]”.
Moharebeh is a crime under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code. The punishment for it is death.
This former official also emphasized that the Iranian government and the IRGC are concerned about the situation in the Kurdish regions and had warned the government of Iraqi Kurdistan not to cooperate with Iranian Kurdish groups based in their region.
IranWire's source added that many former and current intelligence officials in Iran are privately critical of the authorities, especially the 83-year-old Ayatollah Khamenei. They believe, he said, that he has lost touch with reality and is not as pragmatic as he used to be.
Before ending the conversation, he said: “I am afraid that they’ll commit a massacre like the one in Gohardasht Mosque [when 1,600 religious rebels were murdered by the Iranian army in 1935 on the orders of Reza Shah Pahlavi] so that this matter will be put to rest – for a while.”