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The implications of Ghalibaf’s appointment as the Speaker of Majlis

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (left) and Qassem Soleimani (right)
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (left) and Qassem Soleimani (right)

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, May 29, 2020—From among three candidates, the Iranian regime’s newly formed Majlis (parliament) chose  Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf as its new Speaker on Thursday, May 28. The other candidates, former head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Fereydoun Abbasi and former presidential candidate and interior minister Mostafa Mir-Salim respectively received 18 and 12 votes against Ghalibaf’s 230.

But even before the vote, Ghalibaf had been described as the favored candidate of regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for the Majlis Speaker post, which gave him the edge over his rivals.

Ghalibaf’s appointment as the Speaker of the "Supreme Leader's Majles" or the "the Majles of Velayat,” as the new parliament has become known, proves that Khamenei is out of options and maneuvering space, and his only solution to his current dilemmas is to put a hated criminal at the helm of the legislative.

Khamenei’s plan to maintain his regime

Khamenei Appoints Ebrahim Raisi, Member of Death Committee in Massacre of Political Prisoners, as Head of Regime’s Judiciary (Friday March 8, 2019)

Khamenei Appoints Ebrahim Raisi, Member of Death Committee in Massacre of Political Prisoners, as Head of Regime’s Judiciary (Friday, March 8, 2019)

Ghalibaf is a former Revolutionary Guard commander and a key figure in the repression of dissidents since the founding of the mullahs’ regime.

His appointment as the head of the Legislative Branch is the latest piece of Khamenei’s plan to maintain his regime at one of its most tumultuous times. His first step was to choose Ebrahim Raisi, a member of the Death Committee in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, as the head of Iran’s judiciary in March 2019. Now Ghalibaf, a close associate of Raisi, has seized another of the three branches of power in Iran. Ghalibaf has a record of killing members of the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), attacking protesters during the 1999 student uprising, and cracking down on different social protests as state police chief in 2000.

The missing piece in Khamenei’s puzzle is the assembly of a  “young and Hezbollahi” government, which he called for in a May 17 speech where he expressed his wish for a government that would be headed by the likes of the criminal Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

Domestic and international consequences

The meaning of taking these steps is clear: intensification of domestic repression, public executions, and hangings, and looting more the poor and deprived people. On the international front, the regime will follow the policy of contraction, which is exemplified by its violation of nuclear obligations, threatening to leave the NPT, and returning to pre-JCPOA stage to further pursue the dream of obtaining nuclear bombs.

In tandem, the regime is expected to further escalate its terrorist activities and the spread of fundamentalism in the Middle East, as opposed to toning down its intervention and helping promote peace and stability in the region.

To be clear, the appointment of Ghalibaf as Speaker of Majlis has not changed the nature of the regime. This is a regime that has always seen its survival in sowing the seeds of chaos and strife beyond its borders. But with Ghalibaf heading the legislative branch, there’s no longer any need for the regime to put up pretenses of supporting peace and security in neighboring countries or endorsing a nuclear-weapons-free world.

Contraction, a sign of weakness

 

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

One should know that undertaking the police of contraction by a dictatorship is a sign of its weakness and this fact is quite clear about the clerical regime. Khamenei is facing a powder keg situation in the Iranian society. The trends show that Iran is bound for more public outbursts against the regime. Naturally, as the regime has neither the capacity nor the will the respond to the people’s needs, its only choice is to move toward contraction and more domestic suppression.

This is why Khamenei insisted in his recent speech that his solution is to form a “young and hezbollahi” government.
The November 2019 nationwide uprising followed by another round of intense protests in January, the death of his terror mastermind in January, and the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet by IRGC missiles are just some of the developments that have Khamenei worried about the future of his regime.

Perhaps even more concerning is the coronavirus crisis and its spread across the country and the death of at least tens of thousands as a result of government mismanagement have added to Khamenei’s problems. Khamenei and regime president Hassan Rouhani initially tried to use the coronavirus crisis as a tool to further consolidate the regime’s power and to overshadow its crises. But their plan has clearly failed, which is evident in the growing number of social protests.

Suppression, a sign of deadlock

 

A sudden increase of gasoline prices triggered mass protests across Iran in November 2019

A sudden increase of gasoline prices triggered mass protests across Iran in November 2019

With the appointment of Ghalibaf as Majlis Speaker, Khamenei has once again proven that he sees his only solution in intensifying domestic repression. But since the society is facing poverty, economic, social, and political problems, more repression will not help the regime. On the contrary, this policy threatens to increase internal clashes between different regime factions and weaken the entire establishment.

Further making things complicated for the regime is the growing support for the Iranian Resistance, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the organized and democratic alternative that is rising socially, internally and internationally and accelerating all developments in the direction of overthrowing the regime.

History has repeatedly shown that the will of the people will overcome tyranny and dictatorship. Today the will and desire of the Iranian people are represented in the Iranian Resistance Units and defiant youth who are determined to end Khamenei’s and mullahs’ religious dictatorship rule. This is a fate the mullahs’ regime can’t escape from regardless of who is heading its government branches.