Written by: Arash
In a meeting with the President of Iran Parliament Ali Larijani, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei attacked strongly any comprises with the West. Reporting the words of Iran News Round Up, Khamenei said:
- “Those who want to promote compromise and submit to bullying powers, and accuse the Islamic establishment of warmongering are in fact committing treachery.”
- “The reason behind the emphasis on the campaign is not the Islamic establishment’s warmongering, but wisdom and logic necessitates that equip oneself in order to pass through region swarming with pirates, and have the ability to defend oneself.”
This is, probably, one of the Khamenei’s harsh attacks against the Iran moderate faction and who promotes an agreement with United States (Rafsanjani, Rouhani and Zarif). Now the question is: why Khamenei decided to increase the level of the internal tensions? Why he did this in the middle of a delicate moment of the nuclear negotiation? Don’t we know that Khamenei has backed President Rouhani’s decisions until now? What happened in these days?
These questions, probably, have a multiple answers. We will try to go over them in brief, dividing the analysis between internal and external reasons.
The three internal reasons:
- Khamenei supported Rouhani in his dialogue with the West, but he never really accepted this new chapter of the negotiation. The election of Rouhani, showed to the SL that the Iranian society is tired and wants a change, both on the side of economy and civil rights. The problem is that the first institution against the changing is the Pasdaran: the Guards, thanks their companies, have used the sanctions and the clash with the West to increase their wealth. With them, Khamenei himself has used the sanctions to enlarge the control of the Iranian economy. In an article published for the Wall Street Journal, Emanuele Ottolenghi writes that “the IRGC presently controls 21% of TSE-Tehran Stock Exchange’s market value, all of it in sectors such as oil, petrochemicals, telecommunications, construction, mining and metals, which would top foreign investors’ shopping lists. The IRGC fully controls 28 publicly traded companies, including key players such as the Telecommunication Company of Iran, Ansar Bank and Toos Gostar Urban Development…Mr. Khamenei’s wealth, moreover, is ill-gotten. His shares in TSE-listed companies are controlled through two foundations, the Imam Khomeini Foundation and the Foundation of the Dispossessed, which in turn built their riches on confiscated money and properties. Many of those who lost their fortunes to Mr. Khamenei are still in Iran, but others have left and live in the West, where a legal redress to their grievances would be available“. So, in few words, an Iran out of the sanctions will touch directly the financial interests of who, inside the Islamic Republic, maintain the real control of the regime (first Khamenei);
- another reason is connected with the Nuclear Program: even if the last IAEA report said that Iran “Iran has taken measures agreed upon in the Joint Plan of Action“, concrete problems remain on the table. Tehran, in fact, has no intention to reduce the number of centrifuges (now 19000), to give insurances on the level of the missile program (and the possibility to visit the military base of Parchin) and, above all, to resolve IAEA concerns about the EBW, the exploding bridge wire detonators. In their last article, David Albright and Andrea Stricker of ISIS underlined that “Too little attention was paid to the fact that Iran did not address the IAEA’s concern that EBW’s were part of a nuclear weapon design Iran is alleged to have pursued prior to 2004“. More: the article remembers that “the Agency has information that Iran has conducted a number of practical tests to see whether its EBW firing equipment would function satisfactorily over long distances between a firing point and a test device located down a deep shaft“. If Iran has something to hide, it has not probably the real interest to go ahead with the negotiation;
- a third reason behind the attack of Khamenei is the internal clashes in Iran, between conservatives and moderates. The conservative faction, for sure, is trying to stop the demand of reforms that arrives from the civil society. The campaign of arrests against Internet activists and reformist journalists, for sure, is part of their reaction. Their first worry is that a possible changing inside the rules of the Islamic republic, will end very soon all the political system created by Khomeini. In this sense, even if Khamenei knows that people are asking for a new Iran, the establishment fears that the “Western infection” will end in Mullah’s powers. It is not a coincidence that Khamenei, in different occasion, has attacked the West using a racist language (an example in the video below).
The three external reasons:
(The Shia Crescent)
The international divisions, are also influencing the SL’s decisions. In this case, it is possible to identify these factors:
- Syria: Iran, no news, entered in the conflict with all its body. The life of Bashar al Assad, in the brief term, is considered fundamental by Ali Khamenei and Qassam Suleimani – head of the Quds Forces and the man who leads the IRGC forces in Damascus. On the other side of the world, President Obama is ready to announce a new strategy for Syria that will contrast, at the same time, Assad’s regime and Al Qaeda. The American forces, probably, will train the moderate rebels. The struggle for Syria, in few words, is vital for Tehran and until when United States will not accept the Iranian control in that area (and also in the South of Lebanon), there will be not a real rapprochement with the “Great Satan”;
- Iraq: Even if al Maliki won the last election in Iraq, against his third mandate there are many actors. First, against another mandate of Maliki, there is the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani. Barzani said that, if Maliki will obtain the job, he will push for a referendum in Kurdistan. More important, Barzani said this during a meeting in Paris with Ahemd al-Jerba, anti-Syrian Chairman of the Syrian National Alliance. For Tehran, Baghdad (with Maliki) is part of the plan to keep Syria and to build the so called “Shia Crescent”. The International Community, USA first, are pushing for a change in Iraq precisely because they feel that Maliki is too close to Tehran;
- India – Pakistan: The first meeting of the new Indian Prime Minister Modi with his Pakistan counterpart in New Delhi was a matter of concern for Iran. Both, India and Pakistan, are two nuclear powers and both are not close to Iran visions. The nationalist Modi, for sure, will push in the next future for stronger India that will give to New Delhi more power in Asia. Pakistan, which is a Sunni country and a (problematic) ally of United States, will try to have a special influence in Afghanistan when all the American forces will return home. Tehran is feeling the breath of the neighbors on its neck and could think soon that the nuclear bomb will be the only solution to resolve the problems.
The first six months of negotiation between Iran and International Community will end probably without relevant results. Expert think that Tehran and Washington will agree to extend the negotiation for other six months. The words of Khamenei, for sure, are not the symbol that a good agreement is behind the door…