June 22, 2024

The power struggle intensifies after President Ebrahim Raisi’s death


Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely these of the writer.

Reports point out that the helicopter carrying the lacking Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, turned trapped in a cloud mass within the mountains. Despite the pilot’s orders to ascend and keep away from a collision, the pilote did not rise above the clouds and crashed moments later.

The present state of the Iranian regime mirrors this incident. To exchange the deceased president, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has two choices:

Option One: proceed purging to additional consolidate power and resist waves of widespread uprisings. Proponents of this technique, together with Khamenei himself, consider that this strategy will higher keep the regime’s grip on power. In this state of affairs, he would search one other determine like Raisi to totally train his hegemony, believing {that a} break up on the prime equates to an rebellion on the base, as seen in 2008.

However, the regime’s total stability has been disrupted since Raisi’s death. Just because the Shah Reza Pahlevi struggled to keep up management after changing his long-standing Prime Minister, Amir-Abbas Hoveyda,  Khamenei may face comparable difficulties in sustaining stability.

Option Two: exchange Raisi with a extra internationally revered determine, reminiscent of Ali Larijani (who served three consecutive phrases as Parliament Speaker and was seen alongside the Supreme Leader at Raisi’s memorial). Larijani and others throughout the regime consider that interacting with the West is important to forestall a well-liked rebellion. They argue that the regime shouldn’t be harsh on points like Islamic hijab. However, they fail to deal with how fail to lower the oppression whereas preserving a minimal support for the Supreme Leader, very important for regime’s survival.

The Structural Paradox of the Islamic Republic

In Iran, the Supreme Leader is taken into account God’s consultant on Earth, and his will prevails over that pf the individuals. So, the president, presupposed to characterize a celebration or social class and execute the individuals’s will, invariably faces an unsolvable paradox with the Supreme Leader throughout every time period. No president has escaped the Supreme Leader’s shame, whether or not by being sidelined like Rafsanjani or continually monitored like Rohani.

Ebrahim Raisi was an exception, as he absolutely exercised the Supreme Leader’s will and was solely loyal to Khamenei. The regime’s media emphasize Raisi’s loyalty, significantly through the 1988 bloodbath of political prisoners, the place 1000’s have been sentenced to death in two months, 90% reportedly being members of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the mullahs’ sworn enemies. His ruthlessness made him the closest to the Supreme Leader, together with his identify talked about as a possible successor to Khamenei or needed aide to organize for Mojtaba, Khamenei’s son, to succeed him. This is why Khamenei considers his death a major loss.

“The Power Struggle”

Since Raisi’s disappearance, intense agitation has gripped pro-Khamenei factions. Officially, 29 individuals to date have declared candidacy. Regardless of Khamenei’s resolution, the power struggle will intensify, and the regime’s structural paradox will deepen. The parliamentary presidency can be at stake, additional intensifying this inner battle.

Khamenei faces a society the place 95% of the inhabitants wishes radical change. According to regime statistics, solely 7% of eligible voters participated in Tehran’s second spherical of the final legislative elections in May.

Four Stages to Overthrow

Iranian sociologists agree that the regime has already handed three essential phases in the direction of its downfall: inefficiency, resulting in main crises of poverty, famine, environmental destruction, water shortages, and unemployment; illegitimacy, illustrated by the 2019 and 2022 protest massacres and each day executions;and psychological collapse, with the 2019 and 2022 rebellion slogans proclaiming the tip of the dictatorship and Khamenei. Effigies and statues of regime figures, together with Khamenei and Qassem Soleimani (the strongest IRGC commander killed by a US drone strike in January 2020), have been burned 1000’s of occasions throughout Iran in recent times. Only the ultimate stage, materials, and concrete collapse, stays.

Material and Concrete Collapse

To date, a number of thousand resistance models have emerged in Iran, composed of members from all social strata and faiths, fashioned by residents of the identical cities or villages. This makes them tough to determine by the numerous surveillance cameras and undercover brokers. Despite continually risking death, they orchestrated the 2023 election boycott. During the 2022 rebellion, Khamenei confronted a part of their widespread organizational power. Fearing these resistance sprouts unfold throughout Iran, he tried to divert consideration by igniting the Gaza battle as a protect.

Khamenei is now trapped in a cloud mass, and it appears extremely unlikely that he’ll escape this time.

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Hamid Enayat
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