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Can Khamenei’s save his regime by suppressing protests in Iran and Iraq?

Iran protests in November 2019 (File photo)
Iran protests in November 2019 (File photo)

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, February 8, 2020—These days, Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime, is fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain his rule of suppression and violence in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. According to Khamenei himself, during the November uprisings, his regime was able to restore its control over the country in the first 24 hours after the protests began. Of course, he was only able to do so through sheer repression and by killing more than 1,500 people in the streets.

But despite Khamenei’s claims, protests continue across Iran, and less than two months after the brutal suppression of the November protests, Iranian students returned to the streets and called for Khamenei to resign and let go of the state.

Presently, Khamenei is trying to carry out the same tactic in Iraq through his proxies and agents. Iran-backed militias have been ruthlessly attacking and murdering Iraqi protesters in different cities. But so far, Khamenei has been dismayed, and protests continue with more fervor than before.

Similar efforts in Lebanon have failed as well, and protests continue in all three countries. But the Iranian regime nonetheless continues to employ suppression and violence to maintain its rule.

 

Why is Khamenei so afraid to let go of violence, especially as he sees that the suppression of protests only increases the outrage of the people and intensifies the uprisings?

Why does Khamenei, as his predecessor Ruhollah Khomeini, insists that backing down a single step from suppression will result in the collapse of his regime?

Interestingly, there’s precedent for this, and Khamenei fears to share the fate of the Shah dictatorship that preceded the mullahs in Iran.

 

Shah’s experience

In August 1977, under pressure from the Carter Administration, Shah fired his permanent Prime Minister, Amir-Abbas Hoveyda, who had been occupying the post for 13 years, and replaced him with Jamshid Amouzegar.

From August 1977 to February 1979, a little over a year and half, Shah’s dictatorship collapsed. During that time, Shah had to replace his prime minister four times. As soon as the Shah dictatorship toned down his repression, his regime started to fall apart.

This is a bitter lesson that Khamenei does not want to repeat.

 

Does Khamenei stand a chance?

Presently, the question is, if Khamenei continues to use violence, will he be able to avoid the fate of the Shah regime? Otherwise put, will the brutal repression of protests in Iran and Iraq help the Iranian regime survive?

The answer to that question will become clearer in the coming weeks and months. However, what is evident from the events that have happened in the past weeks is that the uprisings in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon have deepened as a result of the brutal suppression of Iranian security forces and Iran-backed militias. The people in these countries either want to overthrow the rule of the mullahs or throw them out of their respective countries.

Khamenei thinks that he can change the rules that govern these societies at his whim. Many dictators have lived with such thoughts, only to wake up to the bitter truth too late, when their rule has come to an end.