Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to have come under attack from both ends of Iran’s political spectrum: The far right and the far left.
Abolfazl Qadiani, a senior member of the Islamic Revolution’s Mojahedeen Organization (IRMO), a leftist Islamic group, and 300 ultraconservative supporters of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad harshly criticized Khamenei in open letters that reached the press on April 4.
A statement by liberal Freedom Movement, from left of the center, that has warned about possible “widespread violence” in case of renewed protest demonstrations, completes the bigger picture in which Khamenei appears to have been left with a tiny sector of grassroot support.
In a letter published on the opposition website Kalemeh, Qadiani likened Khamenei to Joseph Goebbels, a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, and accused Khamenei of telling “big lies” about freedom of speech in Iran in his new year speech on March 22.
Qadiani further criticized Khamenei for the large number of political prisoners in Iran, depriving the nation of the right to choose their own candidates in elections, ruling without being accountable, and thus creating a despotic religious regime.
He charged that the Iranian regime “cannot be reformed,” and opined that the kind of reformism that succumbs to the regime’s excesses cannot bear any fruit.
Qadiani also accused Iran’s reformists of “having an inadvertent part in spreading the shadow of a war on the country” by succumbing to Khamenei’s ambitions. “A despot would make life harder for political and cultural activists in the face of political forces’ passivity,” said Qadiani in the letter.
Qadiani further called on Khamenei to put his legitimacy to test by allowing the people to vote for him.
He also called on Khamenei to stop the economic activities of IRGC and his “circle of insiders,” and to allow inspection of economic institutions that are affiliated to him.
Meanwhile 300 Ahmadinejad supporters in a letter to Khamenei published on Dolat-e Bahar website expressed their “dissatisfaction of the country’s situation,” and demanded “revolution-like reforms.”
Those who wrote the letter introduced themselves as “academics, seminary activists and a group of individuals in charge of revolutionary organizations,” but generally labelled themselves as “Hezbollah activists.”
The letter questioned the performance of “the government, the President, the Parliament, the Judiciary, Guardian Council, State TV, the foreign diplomacy apparatus, Friday prayers leaders, the Assembly of Experts and the Intelligence organizations,” saying that they made the regime “lifeless and fragile from within and in need of fundamental reforms.”
The letter said that “The supreme leader is responsible for introducing those reforms, as no other official can or is entitled to do so.”
Those who wrote the letter, described the Judiciary as “the center of oppression and imposition,” and characterized Guardian Council as “an apparatus that prevents the election of qualified individuals supported by the people.”
They also characterized Iran’s intelligence organizations “particularly the IRGC intelligence organization” as an apparatus that instead of making the country secure, protect the rulers and power gangs, and impose pressures and limitations on political and media activists.”
The letter by hardliners warned Khamenei against “the widening divide between the people and the government, doubting the ideals of the revolution and current political structure,” adding that “concern about the country’s future has reached a record high after four decades” of Islamic Republic.
The letter further warned that “the future generation might remember the Islamic Republic as an unsuccessful experience.”
Referring to the unrest that overwhelmed Iran in the winter, the letter warned against “social collapse in Iran,” a concern shared by the liberal Freedom Movement.
It appears that the wave of protest against political and social injustice and discrimination that swept across nearly 100 Iranian cities, and escalation of further protests by women, work force and ethnic groups in Khouzestan, farmers in Isfahan, and the general sense of dissent and frustration in recent months have emboldened and encouraged political activists to come forward and voice their dissatisfaction of the country’s situation.