In his three addresses in February, the Iranian Supreme Leader tried to convince the regimes’ authorities not to be afraid of the crises that were affecting his power.
The Supreme Leader repeated often in a short period of the time, “Do not be afraid!”
On February 8, he first told his soldiers, gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the regime, “Do not be afraid of the enemy and do not let yourself be overwhelmed by fear”.
On February 25, he spoke to the executive, judicial and legislative leaders emphasizing, “Don’t get caught up in depression, boredom, and anxiety. Don’t let disappointment win you over.”
On 28 February, still addressing the militants of his regime, whom he called “the Iranian nation” according to his own rhetoric, the Leader again reiterated his calls for calm, “The enemy’s goal is to discourage the Iranian nation to enter the scene and to disappoint them in advance.”
It must therefore be said there is something that greatly worries the leaders of the Islamic Republic, to such an extent that the Supreme Leader, who is the number one figure in this regime, is obliged to intervene at least three times in a period of a month to try to console them. The phenomenon has spread to all levels of the regime, from military leaders to the executive, legislative, judicial, and finally to Bassij militiamen, who are supposed to defend the regime on the streets.
A collection of crises, one more dangerous than the other
What rightly concerns all those who are closely or remotely linked to the Islamic Republic is in fact a collection of crises, one more fatal than the other — economic crises that have brought society to the brink of explosion and have caused a crisis of legitimacy of power, as well as increasing isolation on the international scene, which revealed itself in less than a month in the Warsaw, Munich and Sharm el-Sheikh summits.
The FATF, an example of a dead end
The ratification or rejection of the legislation relating to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is the subject of serious disagreements in the seraglio, is a perfect example of the impasse in which the Islamic Republic finds itself — joining an intergovernmental body to combat money laundering and terrorist financing?
If Iran joins this legislation, including the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Measures (AML/CFT), it would mean that it would no longer be able to finance its main armed wing (the IRGC) and its main regional representatives such as Hezbollah, all of which are on the lists of Western terrorist organizations.
“This would lead to the decline of Islamist movements,” said General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods Force, the elite unit of the IRGC in charge of exterritorial operations.
However, if Tehran does not ratify these laws, “our banking system would be completely blocked,” says Nosratollah Tajik, a former diplomat who supports the FATF guidelines.
“You have to have a security vision on this. We could no longer even provide for the basic needs of the population and this could lead to riots,” Tajik admits.
Hossein Mozafar, a member of the Discernment Council, tries to keep the balance right, but he cannot hide his skepticism. “Those in favor of the Palermo Convention diagnose the obstacles to banking transactions that will not be removed overnight,” Mozafari added.
The regime has delayed the decision on the disputed FATF case as long as it could. The last deadline set by this group is June 2019. What is certain is that postponement of a final decision can not be repeated forever and whatever Tehran’s choice, it will be a great shock to the ruling power.
The impact of resistance units on the status quo
Another element of shock in the current status quo is a well-organized resistance movement that acts through resistance units across the country. Some 124 actions of resistance, just in February, is not a record that can be ignored. These actions have increased considerably in numbers and as targets. Many Bassij militia centers, training schools for the elite of the ruling clergy, as well as the offices of the Supreme Leader’s special representatives in cities and provinces.
To end this, we know, the tactic of the hot potato passing from one hand to the other has time limits.