Using widespread publicity, and by providing extensive logistics to transport the population from various cities across the country by free subway and buses to watch, Khamenei delivered a speech on Friday, January 17, 2020, in Tehran.
Khamenei’s purpose in this speech was to divert the consequences of the two-month-long protests and use events to boost the morale of the regime’s repressive forces. It also demonstrates his concerns about the downfall and collapse of the regime’s shock troops.
It was the first time in 8 years that Khamenei had performed Friday prayers. He appeared on the scene at a very critical time for the regime. In his remarks, Khamenei emphasized that he had passed the “adventurous and extraordinary 2 weeks”. While trying to portray all the fatal blows of this adventurous 2 weeks as victory and the effects of God’s power, he shied away from responding to the destruction of a Ukrainian passenger plane by the Revolutionary Guards. Khamenei did not even apologize to the mourning families of the innocent victims of the downed passenger plane, without mentioning the responsibility and role of the Revolutionary Guards in the tragedy, even thanking them. And of course, Khamenei condemned the protesters of the regime’s criminal activity in this painful incident.
Khamenei sought to minimize the destruction of the plane, adding that “they tried to make it a matter of course” to “forget” the burial ceremony of Qasem Soleimani and firing missiles at the US bases. In Khamenei’s view, the lives of 176 human beings are not important. Khamenei did not even regret the death of at least 78 people in Kerman during Soleimani’s funeral.
The uprising of Iranian students and people was the most important fact that Khamenei tried not to mention. The uprising whose main slogan is ‘Down with Khamenei’ and ‘Down with the dictator’ and so on. Khamenei described the millions of Iranians who chanted “neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life for the sake of Iran” as being deceived.
He pointed to the tearing up of Qasem Soleimani’s picture and described the uprising as “The few hundred who insult Soleimani’s photo” and said, “The few hundred who insult Soleimani’s photo were not Iranian people” and called them “enemy’s agents”.
Khamenei reiterated his grief over the death of Qasem Soleimani as the regime’s number two and the Revolutionary Guards’ irreplaceable backbone, saying, “Soleimani was literally the most powerful commander fighting terrorists in the region!”
Khamenei also said the recent move by European countries to refer to the regime’s nuclear case to the Security Council and to use trigger mechanisms to impose international sanctions were to overshadow the funeral of Qasem Soleimani. By attacking these three European countries and calling them enemies, he pushed Europe further towards the international community’s consensus against the regime, and he sent out the message of no hope to governments that may still have hope of “behavior change”.
Khamenei praised the terrorist Quds Force, headed by Qasem Soleimani that created the blood bath and suppressed Iranian cities and countries in the region, calling them “warriors without borders”. Interestingly, Khamenei once again emphasized the regime’s purpose and strategy that the crimes of the Quds Force in the countries of the Middle East aim to secure the regime inside Iran against the uprising of the people.
Khamenei’s stance was not unexpected, but even the most optimistic person can no longer hope to find some sort of solution within the existing framework to respond to the mass demands of the Iranian people and uprisings.
The automatic consequence of this situation is intensifying the conditions in Iran’s explosive society and the continuance of maximum pressure in the international arena. The European Union also came to realize that it was ultimately the only option to stand with the united states to confront the nuclear, missile and regional policies of the Iranian regime.
The fact is that Khamenei, in his January 17 speech, following the bloody protests this November, which is the bloodiest suppression of popular protests in the country’s contemporary history, once again chose repression and called for both crackdowns on domestic and confrontation on international fronts.
Of course, Khamenei’s stance, and his emphasis on his previous positions will not have an impact on the regime’s irreversible path. Khamenei’s January 17 speech only proved that the regime is in a bind and that its leader had no power or will to take the initiative and exit the deadlock.
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