On March 7, After months of hesitation, Ebrahim Raissi was officially appointed by the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, to head the judiciary of the regime. The long hesitation is explained by the fact that Raissi is known to Iranians as one of the main instigators of the greatest political massacre after the Second World War — the killing of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. This is what earned him the nickname of “executioner”. As a result, during the last presidential elections in 2017, popular reactions to his candidacy were so intense that Khamenei failed to implement what he calls “electoral genius” to bring his favorite to the head of the judiciary.
Sorted from his teenage years to become one of the regime’s leaders
Ebrahim Raïssi, was only 18 years old when the Iranian Regime came to power in 1979.
Immediately after the advent of the Islamic Republic, he was one of some 70 students from the Qom school who were selected by Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, Ayatollah Khomeini’s main lieutenant, for training to create the religious leaders of the new government. During this training, Raissi showed great loyalty to Khomeini, which earned him an early position at the age of 18 in the Prosecutor’s Office in the town of Masjed Soleiman in southwestern Iran, which was then a stronghold of groups opposing the newly born religious dictatorship.
Why Raissi at the head of the judiciary?
It still remains a legitimate question: Why did Khamenei need such a hated character at the head of his judiciary? We know that the Islamic Republic does not lack pawns cruel enough to accomplish this task, without having to display the one whose name is equivalent to a genocide, whose name the Iranian regime would do everything to make it forget.
The answer lies in a paradox of the Iranian theocracy in all areas of domestic and foreign policy. Khamenei is well aware that the name Raissi is equivalent to cruelty and serial hanging. It is therefore with a perfect knowledge of the cause that he brought Raissi to the head of his justice system, to create a climate of terror that he hopes will be useful in curbing the scolding that is sweeping Iran.
The regime is fearful of the organized protest across the country and the PMOI/MEK’s growing influence within the Iranian population.
Ali Ghassemian, an expert of the Iranian regime’s inner circle, voiced grave concerns over the escalating activities of the PMOI/MEK in numerous counties across the country.
“Today, the [PMOI/MEK] is attempting to make contact with our younger generation through social media platforms… They are guiding them to set billboards and signs on fire, hold images of [PMOI/MEK] while chanting against the state. They are calling this ‘Resistance Units,’” he wrote in the state-run Vatane Emruz daily.
The state-run “Baharestaneh” website in Iran, associated with Iranian Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, posted the following article on August 28th, indicating the mullahs’ utter fear of the PMOI/MEK.
“It is necessary to take a look at the differences the PMOI/MEK have implemented in their tactics these days in comparison to the Dec/Jan uprising period. For some times now, the PMOI/MEK launched a coordinated chorus indicating the Islamic Republic of Iran is in its final phase. Cyberspace has the role of providing back-up fire in this regard… The PMOI/MEK have changed their tactics now and the protests, even in comparison to the Dec/Jan period, have surpassed an undeniable reality…
“It is worth taking the time and looking at the differences in the PMOI/MEK today in comparison to Dec/Jan:
“1. In the past, the PMOI/MEK were known to ride waves. Today, however, they have infiltrated into many social sectors and among people from all walks of life, including truck drivers, bazaar store owners, people whose life savings have been stolen by state-run firms, teachers, workers and … and [PMOI/MEK] are guiding them in their protests.
“2. The nature of today’s protests have changed. For example, in the past, it would take one or two days for social/economic chants to evolve into [anti-regime] slogans. Today, however, this transition is quickly turned into a political demonstration and slogans change into [anti-regime] chants.
“3. During the Dec/Jan period the protesters were unorganized and lacked leadership. There were vivid leadership mistakes on the ground and the movement lacked the necessary complexity. Today, however, in addition to gaining a gangster-like and aggressive spirit, [the protests] have the potential of establishing bunkers and shields in the streets in the case of a faceoff with security forces. This means the protesters are far more ready these days.
“4. Protesters, with the PMOI/MEK topping the list, lack any political reservations. They do not recognize any factional divisions inside the [Iranian regime] and they put the same amount of energy in their slogans against reformists as they do against principalists.
“5. The PMOI/MEK’s role in the Dec/Jan uprising is so undeniable that the Supreme Leader said in his January 9th speech: ‘A triangle was active in this regard… The PMOI/MEK was the third side of this triangle.”
“Currently, the fact that protesters are becoming organized is a game-changing factor in comparison to the Dec/Jan uprising. They have established entities dubbed ‘Resistance Units’ that are able to increase their numbers and have the potential of replacing leaders at the scene of protests [in case of arrests]!
“However, the most significant development is the linkage between these units to their leadership. Currently, these resistance units are receiving their guidance from Massoud Rajavi in the form of ‘Message to Resistance Units.’
“On August 2nd of this year, Massoud Rajavi sent a message titled, ‘Fist with a fist, attack with attack, fire with fire’ to lift the protesters’ spirits, promising them these protests will continue and expand with each passing day. He described the protests as more organized in comparison to the past, claiming the [regime] lacks the capacity to confront these measures.
“Now that the enemy of the state, with such an apparatus, has prepared for a confrontation, we must acknowledge the fact that we are all in the same boat. Therefore, one must tell all government officials and the associated others that the status quo is a very serious threat that one cannot easily neglect.”
This text, posted in an article associated to Khamenei himself, vividly describes the dire situation of Iran’s regime and how the mullahs’ entire apparatus is literally crippled in the face of escalating protests across the country, especially with PMOI/MEK resistance units galvanizing and spearheading these efforts to target the regime’s core entities.
However, history has shown that in societies on the verge of explosion, as is the case in Iran, such deterrent actions could have the completely opposite effect to that expected, namely to accelerate the process of the explosion. This was particularly the case in Iran in 1978-79, when the Shah had wanted to thwart the revolt by bringing in a full military cabinet. It was the beginning of the end!