Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, July 20, 2019 - These days, rank and file of Iranian officials, from the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself to the President Hassan Rouhani, and the rest don’t miss an opportunity to reiterate the importance of unity and solidarity to go through "current dangers".
What Iranian authorities deliberately miss in these calls is any meaningful reference to the real issue at hand between the Iranian people and an unelected and undemocratic government. However, since this particular struggle has been going on for over four decades, the ruling mullahs’ fear it can be seen as resurfacing time and again.
In a recent meeting with Friday prayer Imams, who are actually appointed by Khamenei himself, he warned of criticism targeting officials and government institutions during Friday prayers.
“We shouldn’t raise an issue immediately in Friday prayers when we see it in governmental, judicial, or other institutions,” Khamenei said, warning this “would increase the rifts and differences and agitate the population.”
Meanwhile, Massih Mohajeri, an Iranian mullah close to Rouhani’s faction, and the editor in chief of the Islamic Republic newspaper accuses the Friday prayer Imams and their speeches of escalating the rift between the population and the authorities. “The reason why participants of Friday prayers are decreasing over the past recent years is that there has been negligence in the necessary qualities for choosing Friday prayer imams,” he warned.
“There are Friday prayer imams who lack the necessary qualities and don’t have the ability to attract the people and unite them,” he wrote in the Islamic Republic newspaper.
Mohajeri continues by referring to the widespread disgust for the public Friday prayers, even by practicing Muslims. “In recent decades, a large amount of money and energy have been spent on building prayer sites in different cities. However, there hasn’t been much spent to significantly improve the quality of Friday prayer imams. The result is that we have praying sites but no worshippers and the number of individuals who participate in Friday prayers all over the country is a fraction of the population that actually prays. More importantly, the number of young people present is very small. This means that the Friday prayer imams lack connection to the current generation,” he explained.
In an interview on July 13, Amir Mohebbian, an Iranian strategist for the conservative camp, acknowledged the population’s hatred for the ruling elite. “Due to the disappointment about the management of [Iranian] political movements, the population has concluded that one political movement is like the other and there is no difference,” he said.
“The internal and external difficulties of the conservative movement is serious as is that of the moderates. The most important problem of conservatives is their weakness in political marketing for their opinions among the population,” Mohebbian said. “Eventually, the people will move beyond both [political factions],” he added.
Referring to the widespread hatred for the regime among ordinary Iranians, Arman newspaper wrote on July 16: “The situation is such that the society is under the most severe economic conditions. In such circumstances, it is not easy to make the people optimistic about the future and their problems. And then we expect the youth to be cheerful and violence to be nonexistent in society.”