Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will preside over Friday Prayers on January 17 in Tehran for the first time in eight years, amid multiple international and domestic pressures on the Islamic republic.
Tehran’s Friday Prayer is the traditional pulpit for spreading the message of the regime to followers, the media and the government bureaucracy. The messages delivered by selected clergy on Fridays in all cities is drafted at a central office under Khamenei’s supervision.
The last time Khamenei delivered a sermon at Friday Prayers in 2012 he was responding to a statement by U.S. President Barack Obama who had said all options are on the table regarding Iran’s nuclear program. At the time Khamenei responded that “Threatening war will be costly for America, and war itself will be ten times more costly”.
Media in Iran has not said why Khamenei will preside over Friday Prayers this week and they have not mentioned the topic of the sermon.
However, Iran is facing multiple crises and pressures after its top general was killed by a U.S. airstrike on January 3 and then its Revolutionary Guard in an apparent mistake shot down a Ukrainian airliner killing all 176 onboard.
The regime is also facing daily protests by students and citizens, who are increasingly angry at the way the country is managed and are chanting ever more radical slogans against the Islamic Republic.