Iran’s leaders risk is sitting on a Powder Keg
Elderly people who have experienced World War II say the coronavirus outbreak is like a world war because it attacked the whole world.
But the war with coronavirus is in some ways harder than World War II, because, in World War II, it was possible to predict and control one's circumstances at times. For instance, one could go to shelters and escape the German bombing if one knew when they were coming. But in this coronavirus war, neither the shelter nor the escape from the cities is easy to predict or plan for.
Iranian citizens have told me that our situation is even worse. In addition to the coronavirus, we are also dealing with a second coronavirus called "mullahs," and we have no shelter, and no official is responding to our problems. In a video clip from his quarantine hideout, the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, criticized the West and claimed: "They failed in the management of the coronavirus outbreak and dealing with it. People in these countries are attacking the stores." He viewed it as proof that the West is rotten: "Western failure must be explained to the public," he stressed. Worse still, his regime has ramped up its military threats abroad instead of addressing the problems at home.
For Khamenei, blaming others serves as an excuse and diversion for the Iranian government's own incompetence and mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak. In the video, Khamenei deceptively encouraged experts to investigate the coronavirus vaccine. But two days later, Gilead, an American pharmaceutical company, and two other institutes announced that their sites had been hacked by Iran. That was what he meant by "investigate."
Meanwhile, an Iranian Judiciary court announced the detention of two elite students with gold medals from the International Olympiad, who were accused of protesting and opposing the government. It was a good indication of Khamenei's bid to blame others.
In Iran, poverty, repression, and the export of terrorism abroad over the past 41 years has spread an ominous black shadow over the entire country and, in reality, the world.
The regime's media described the internal conditions as "a massive flood of hungry people" (Mostaghel, May 1) and "a tsunami of poverty in 2020" (Arman, April 26) and "economic collapse and then social collapse in the near future" (a regime expert, Mahboobfar, 2 May 2020).
So if, in other countries, everyone is looking up to laboratories to uncover the secrets of the coronavirus and prepare a tool to get rid of it and destroy it, in Iran, the mullahs are just looking for someone to blame.
As for the oppressed people, they are not looking for vaccines and laboratories to alleviate poverty and the looting of the country by the mullahs! They are looking up to brave and agile souls to break out of the entire regime and get out of the situation.
Tehran officials have offered no way out, and they don't have one. Because in the current situation, the Iranian regime has neither the power to open and change nor the capacity to change its position on the international scene.
The launch of a satellite into orbit by the Revolutionary Guards, which surprised everyone, reflects Tehran's obsession with how the outside world sees it. The launch had two purposes: first to encourage and galvanize government forces and second to threaten the West and clearly the United States. The message of this missile was that we have reached a new capability with our missile technologies. By doing so, Tehran wants to create more leverage so it can give fewer concessions if negotiations are held. For this reason, the regime intends to highlight the military aspect of what has done, hoping to push back against the United States in this way or to provoke Europeans and appeasers to call for concessions to the regime.
Shargh Newspaper wrote, "The firing of this ballistic missile at a time when Iran has practically left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and likely is moving toward a high-percentage uranium enrichment agenda is a painful message to Westerners because simultaneously, Iran will have intercontinental ballistic missiles and the potential to build a nuclear weapon, which means that the Americans will no longer be able to even verbally threaten Iran forever.
This is another dangerous game that the regime has been forced to play in the hope that it will buy time with a bluff of a show of power so that the Democrats will win the next U.S. election. But the crisis is so deep that the Democrats won't provide salvation for them. This crisis cannot be solved for them by the Democrats.
*Hassan Mahmoudi, social analyst, researcher, is an independent observer and commentator of Middle Eastern and Iranian affairs.