Iran Roundup for December 9th thru 12th: Maintaining a façade of unity becoming increasingly more difficult, as more and more Islamic regime insiders begin to admit to systematic failure and factionalism. 

By Editors of The Free Iran Herald 

Updates on events unfolding in Iran

 

Maintaining a façade of unity becoming increasingly more difficult, as more and more Islamic regime insiders begin to admit to systematic failure and factionalism. 

Parvaneh Salahshouri speaking in the Islamic parliament (Majles) on December 9, 2019

As the Khomeinist regime totters on all sides, as it faces the hatred towards it from the Iranian people it tyrannizes over, and bankruptcy in the wake of the US sanctions, more and more regime insiders are trying to secure a post-regime future for themselves by making public statements that appear to criticize the regime.  One such example, that has gone viral over social media, is a speech by a female member of the Islamic Parliament (Majles), Parvaneh Salahshouri.

On Monday, December 9th, Salahshouri criticized the regime for “grim despotism” that is destroying the “republican nature of the system,” while speaking in parliament. “Sadly, we have abandoned the people, except for a minority who enjoy favors and advantages.” She added that she would not run for reelection to her Tehran constituency seat.

Observers pointed out, however, that Salahshouri, who as recently as 2016 defended the law compelling women to wear the hijab, was merely being opportunistic, pointing out that she did not ever critique the Khomeinist system until now, when it’s on the brink of collapse.

Meanwhile, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Ali Jafari, has called for regime president Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet to be criminally charged. He described them as “those who have caused the protests by ignoring the people and paving the way for insecurity by taking bad decisions and implementing them poorly.” Jafari’s remarks were only the latest public attack on Rouhani to emerge from the IRGC.

Despite its pretense to monolithic unity, the Khomeinist regime has been divided into factions since its birth in 1979. The scheming and quarreling between factions have often erupted into violence. For many years, the two main factions were those led, respectively, by Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and by the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and backed up by the IRGC. Rafsanjani died mysteriously, in 2017, while swimming in his pool, and some IRGC personnel have publicly claimed that the Guards assassinated him. Now, Hassan Rouhani leads what’s left of the former Rafsanjani faction, while the IRGC, which has amassed an economic empire on its own, acts semi-autonomously. Some Iranians expect the IRGC to attempt to take over complete power within the regime after Khamenei dies.

In addition to the two main ones, there are several other factions. Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who came to prominence with Khamenei’s support, later broke with him, and saw several of his key aides incarcerated. Ahmadinejad is now presenting himself as an alternative to both Rouhani and the IRGC. His posturing as an anti-corruption advocate is laughed at by most Iranians, who recall the multiple financial scandals of his administration. On the other hand, the so-called reformist faction, of former president Mohammad Khatami and former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, has lost nearly all of its clout. Iranians realized that the reformists, if they were even serious about reforming the Islamic regime, would not be able to due to the structure of it, which allows unelected clerics to veto every action undertaken by elected representatives, and to control the entire electoral system. Whatever positions the reformists achieved, was merely allowed by the clerics as tactical move to buy time from the West, by making Westerners believe that the regime was moderating itself.

Videos Beginning to Leak of Repression in Sistan & Baluchestan Province

Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan (bordering on southern Afghanistan and Pakistan) was the last province to remain under Internet blackout, into December. Eyewitnesses there reported that it was because protests and fighting with regime security forces were still occurring. Now, videos of the clashes and repression are starting to appear on social media.

Khomeinist regime warns Iranians not to travel to the U.S., claiming they would be taken hostage!

Tehran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued an advisory to all Iranian nationals claiming that traveling to the U.S. could result in their “arbitrary and long incarceration in completely inhumane conditions”.

The Khomeinist regime which itself has been abducting and detaining foreign citizens on dubious or no charges, for long periods of time and without internationally recognized due process since 1980. While still holding four American citizens, the Islamic authorities continue to insist that the “prisoners” being held in the U.S. who have been duly and lawfully charged on various counts, from espionage to violating sanctions are somehow on par with those whom Tehran abducts on bogus claims. The tactic of seizing foreign citizens or Iranian dual nationals is the extortionist tactic with which the Shi’a authorities in Iran gain leverage over their foreign counterparts.

Regime’s Minister of Communications Continues to Lie

Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and the man who oversaw the massive Internet blackout Iran was plunged into after the protests again, is now blaming foreign powers for the Internet outage. Jahromi offered no details of the supposed attack, but claimed that the regime’s national firewall, Dezhfa, was able to stop it.

Jahromi has also been Tweeting that he will be revealing a “surprise” on Thursday, the 12th, even counting down the hours until his announcement. Iranians have responded by initiating a social media campaign to block him on Twitter.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, December 11th, Rouhani announced that the national intranet system development is nearly complete. Iranians fear that the regime will move Iran completely over to the intranet, and block the Internet permanently. If that occurs, Iran will become as isolated from the world as North Korea now is.

As previously reported in the November 22nd report, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Mohammad-Javad Azari-Jahromi who was been touted by American publication The Politico as the “Islamic Republic’s Emmanuel Macron.” 

Regime Increasing Military Spending 

On Tuesday, December 10th, regime president Rouhani’s administration announced that it would increase military spending next year by $2.2 billion. The added budget would be taken from the National Development Fund, a reserve account derived from oil sales revenues that was earmarked for infrastructure and social service improvements. Iranians have been watching their incomes erode, the prices of food, petrol and other basic necessities rise to a level where the majority of Iranians cannot afford. Thus Islamic authorities willfully continues to invest in additional apparatus of oppression, in order to crack down on Iranians who protest, the regime’s rampant corruption, financial waste and depletion of the country to fund its regional adventurism. This reflects a pattern common to the entirety of the Islamic regime’s 40-year-long reign, where national development, infrastructure, and social services have been overlooked, while Iran’s oil wealth has been thrown around on the regime’s military machine, foreign interventions, and terrorism.

Now that oil exports have nearly ceased, the regime has no other choice but to finance itself through extorting the Iranian people. The massive gas price hike last month, that sparked the protests, was said by Iranians to be have been caused by the regime’s need for more money to spend preserving its forces in Iraq and Lebanon, where they are threatened by waves of demonstrations.

Iranian Activists Call Out French President’s Hypocrisy 

On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, French President Emanuel Macron Tweeted a demand that Tehran free Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, two French citizens that it’s currently detaining.

Iranian activists responded by criticizing Macron for his hypocrisy of claiming to oppose the regime’s human rights violations, but then helping the regime preserve itself by facilitating European-Tehran trade through the INSTEX exchange.   

 

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