Suppression order from the barracks; Decoding Ali Khamenei's speech
October 3, 2022
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, spoke yesterday at a police academy in Tehran yesterday, October 3, after two weeks of unprecedented protest against the policies of the Islamic Republic sparked by the murder of Mahsa Amini on September 16. But what did he say? And was it accurate? IranWire analyzed his speech – line by line.
Khamenei: "I say frankly that these events are planned by America, the Zionist regime and their followers. Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the progress of our country."
As per his usual practice in the past 30 years, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran did not give any credence to the wishes of Iranian citizens and claimed that the current protests do not represent the demands of the people but the "design" of the United States and Israel.
Khamenei: "In these incidents, the law enforcement authorities of the country, the Basij and the Iranian nation were oppressed more than others."
While the main reason for starting the protests was the killing of Mahsa Amini, while she was detained by the police force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Khamenei took the side of the armed forces and claimed it was the police officers and Basij militiamen who were “under oppression" rather than the protesting people, which is a clear sign of the continuation of his current policies and the lack of any reform in the approach of the 83-year-old leader of the Islamic Republic.
Khamenei: "In this incident, a young girl died, and our hearts were burned. But some people reacted to this incident, without investigation and without sure knowledge of the facts, by turning out to make the streets unsafe, burning the Quran, taking the veil from the head of a veiled woman, and setting fire to the mosque, Hosseiniyeh, and private cars."
Without offering condolences to Amini family for the murder of their 22-year-old daughter by morality police officers, Khamenei gave a false account of the protesters and said that they burned the Quran. Since the beginning of the protests, the citizens have emphasized that their demonstrations are not opposed to Islam, but reject the repressive policies of the Islamic Republic and its interference in all aspects of life. That women and girls who willingly wear hijab stood alongside women and girls who took off their hijab and set it on fire, is clear evidence that Khamenei’s claims are bogus.
Khamenei: "I say clearly that these riots and insecurities were designed by America and the usurping and fake Zionist regime, assisted by those on their payroll and some traitorous Iranians abroad."
In his speech, Khamenei denied the authenticity of the Iranian protesters for the second time and called their protest movement "riots". Ali Khamenei's use of "traitorous Iranians abroad" is probably referring to Ali Karimi, a famous footballer, and Hamed Esmailion, a citizen whose wife and 9-year-old son were killed when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired a missile in 2020 at a Ukrainian plane and killed all on board. Since the beginning of the protests, Karimi and Esmailion have supported the protesters and have tried to be their voice.
Khamenei: "Some people are sensitive to the fact that such-and-such an incident was planned and the work of the enemy, and they shield their chests to defend the American spy agency and the Zionists, and use all kinds of fallacious analyses and rhetoric to say that it was not the work of foreigners."
From the first weeks of his rule in June 1989, Khamenei has continuously referred to the "enemy" and attributed every proposal, protest, and criticism inside Iran to the "enemy". He has stood in the way of the realization of the national will for transformation. In this part of his speech, he again denied the existence of widespread protests against the policies of the Islamic Republic.
Khamenei: "There are many disturbances in the world, and in Europe, especially in France and Paris, there are huge disturbances once in a while, but has it ever happened that the President of the United States and the House of Representatives of the United States have supported the rioters and made a statement? Is there history of Americans announcing that they are providing some internet hardware or software to rioters so that they can communicate easily?"
What Khamenei called riots in other countries were citizens' protests against the policies of their governments. Never did the police and armed forces of these countries shoot at peaceful demonstrations and never did they target unarmed protesters. In these countries, internet access was not cut during the protests, and the government did not take advantage of the opportunity to start a bloody repression of the people as happened in the protests of November 2019 in Iran.
Khamenei: "In the country, the officials of the three branches of power expressed regret and the judiciary promised to follow the matter to the end to determine whether there was a culprit and, if so, to establish who that is. That's what an investigation means. Now, how can an organization and a huge number of public servants be slandered for the possibility that an error has occurred? There is no logic behind this and this work is nothing but the work of spy agencies and foreign policy makers."
In all similar cases, despite repeated promises by the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the investigations have petered out and none of the accused have been brought to justice.
One of the oldest cases is the downplaying of the bloody events of July 1999 in the dormitories of Tehran University, where a low-ranking officer was finally convicted of the crime of "stealing a razor" and all the secondary agents who were in court were acquitted. None of the main commanders and plainclothes forces were tried.
After the downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane and the killing of all 179 passengers and crew, the Islamic Republic not only failed to bring the main perpetrators to justice, but it did not even determine or disclose the identity of the low-ranking officers accused of “hguman error” in the case. This practise of the Islamic Republic has a long history. It is because of this that Iranian citizens no longer take the promises of the authorities seriously and will not give them the benefit of the doubt.
Khamenei: "The enemy is wrong in its calculations about the north-west and south-east of the country. I have lived among the Baluch people and they are deeply loyal to the Islamic Republic. The Kurdish people are also one of the most advanced Iranian peoples and are interested in their homeland, Islam, and the system [of the Islamic Republic], so their plan will not work."
Khamenei's reference to life among the Baluch people is his exile to Iranshahr in Sistan and Baluchistan province in 1977, two years before the Islamic Republic came into existence. His knowledge about the situation in one of the largest provinces of Iran is from 45 years ago, therefore, whereas two days before this speech, armed agents of the Islamic Republic in that province killed worshipers during Friday prayers and left at least 19 dead. The votes cast in Sistan and Baluchestan, despite the discretionary supervision and the elections being void of real meaning due to disqualifications, were as far from Khamenei's vision as is possible. Khamenei's claimed first-hand and personal knowledge is more than 40 years old.
Khamenei: "Many of those who do not wear a full hijab are serious supporters of the Islamic Republic and participate in various events."
We have seen that people wearing a hijab and behaving properly are warned or arrested by the police, and yet Khamenei sees this as a sign of the popularity of the Islamic Republic. In the elections and in life in general, the people whose demands and rights are not recognized by the Islamic Republic, as shown in the recent statements, have tried to find a way to breathe in the closed political and cultural space by choosing between "bad" and "worse". Khamenei calls such a struggle a sign of the popularity of the Islamic Republic among those who do not have a full hijab.
Khamenei: "The people who commit corruption and destruction in the streets do not all receive the same sentence. There are some young people who come onto the streets because of the excitement of watching an internet program. Such people can be made aware that they are wrong through punishment. All in all, the number of those who have come to the streets is small compared to the Iranian nation and the faithful and zealous youth.”
In his third insult to the protesters, Khamenei described the protests as a result of the excitement of watching an internet program and called those people of Iran who are "believing" and "zealous" as "the nation". In other words, he did not even consider the protesters as belonging to the Iranian nation.
Khamenei: "Regarding the stance of some sports and artistic figures, in my opinion, these positions are of no importance and one should not worry about them. Our artistic and sports community is healthy, and there are many faithful and honorable elements in it. But in general terms, the position of these people has no value, and the artistic and sports community will not be contaminated with these positions of the enemy.”
Although the leader of the Islamic Republic in this part of his statement tried to call Iran's artistic and sports stars "healthy" and "believing", that is to say, meeting the government's ideology and taste, he then probably unintentionally said that even if these people protest against the Islamic Republic, "their position is worthless". In other words, the opinion of "healthy and faithful people" is valuable from Khamenei's point of view as long as it confirms his rule and the policies of the last three decades.
Khamenei: "Anyone who attacks the police station or Basij base or insults the army or Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, in words, is attacking the security of the country. The police are obliged to stand up to criminals and ensure the safety of the society."
In his conclusion, Khamenei issued his final verdict and called those who criticize the armed forces for violent and bloody repression "intolerable" and said that the armed forces are obliged to stand in front of the protesters and to "suppress" them.
Mir Hossein Mousavi, the last prime minister of Iran, during the early years of the Islaic Republic. And who has been under house arrest for more than 10 years at Khamenei’s behest for his role in the 2009 Green Movement, recently asked the armed forces to stand by Iranian citizens instead of suppressing protesters and to do the right thing instead of strengthening the "dictator".
Khamenei gave the armed forces a completely different task, which is to continue the current repression and destructive policies. He did not mention revising the mandatory hijab policy or dismantling the morality police, which means he is confirming the existing situation and refraining from doing something that might be considered as a retreat in the eyes of Iranian citizens.