The thills are talked about once a year. On this day, Ali Khamenei, the most powerful man in Iran, allows his audience to openly criticize the grievances in the country in his presence and to offer possible solutions freely.
Days before the event, the official media will announce when this special audience will be held and who will be honored to attend. As always, they add, speakers can address shortcomings clearly, unsupervised, and a wise leader will listen patiently and then address any questions in a speech.
With academic flair
It is always an evening in the second half of Ramadan. Representatives of student associations tolerated by the state and ministers of Iranian universities were invited. The atmosphere and linguistic level of the meeting should radiate academic flair. In fact, the peculiarities of the court audience are obvious. All the speakers, with the exception of Khamenei of course, read from their manuscripts. Their lectures vary in subject matter, and they attempt to use sophisticated language, including poems and Quranic verses, in a focused manner. In recent years, there have been moments of excitement on this day because in fact some speakers have cautiously approached the red lines in the Islamic Republic.
This year, today is April 26th. This time too, the invited speakers are said to be highly critical of many things. But what exactly the students said is unknown. On the other hand, Khamenei’s long and unbridled answer to her questions was available in all official media, and state television programs repeated his speech several times. As is the case every year, he was mainly talking more than propaganda, especially on foreign policy.
A new world order is emerging
Taking a detailed look at the “murderous enemies” of Iran, the USA and Israel, as well as “abusing” Palestine, Khamenei commented briefly on the war in Ukraine, although not explicitly using the word war: it is necessary to take a closer look at the events in Ukraine. A new world order is emerging, and a difficult and complex process is looming. We will experience a multipolar world. And it is precisely in this new system that we must be present with enough hardware and software, so that they are not marginalized. Students and the entire academic environment must be prepared for the world to come, and everything else is secondary. “
The purpose of using terms from computer language is to indicate that we are in an academic event. His listeners know exactly what Khamenei already understands through software and hardware: effective propaganda of Shi’a-style political Islam. And most importantly: fighting motivated militias who are willing to give everything for the ultimate goal of the divine order.
This is still a vision. But today, with the war in Ukraine virtually redrawing the geopolitical map of the world, Khamenei leaves no doubt as to where the Islamic Republic should be. A few minutes after the start of the Russian war against Ukraine in the early morning of February 24, the Iranians woke up to the following report on state television: “Today, in response to the repeated attacks by Ukraine, Vladimir Putin announced that he gave the Russian Armed Forces the orders issued to start “Special operations” in the Donbass region.
The Russian Defense Ministry rejected reports of attacks on civilian targets, and emphasized that only military infrastructures were being destroyed. It appears that the Kremlin wants to disarm Ukraine, which is striving to acquire nuclear weapons. According to a statement issued by the Moscow Defense Ministry, any reports to the contrary are incorrect. For correct information, references are made to communications from the ministry.
Peyman Jubaili, head of Radio and Television, admitted two weeks ago that only 20 percent of Iranians watch media programs on state television. The vast majority either watch Farsi-language programs from abroad, get information from the Internet and social networks, or simply stop working. So it’s no wonder that not everyone adheres to the ministry’s terminology. Although Russia’s ambassador in Tehran, Levan Djagaryan, urged Iranian media on March 10 to use the word “special operation” only in relation to Ukraine, the words “war”, “invasion” and “Russian incursion” still appeared on many. web sites.
Since then, the use of Russian terms has become a criterion by which one can measure how far the medium is from the hard core of power in Iran. Almost all official media read like Russian army propaganda. A week after the start of the war, a reporter for state television showed destroyed homes in Cherson in southern Ukraine and commented that Ukrainian soldiers wanted to discredit the Russian army with their demolitions. But the publicity was still useless.
“I am very concerned about Iranian public opinion, which thinks completely differently from its government,” Russian Ambassador Levan Dzagaryan told an Iranian reporter in a lengthy interview on April 13. Armenian and speaks Farsi well, he has represented Russia in Iran and Afghanistan for 20 years.
Iran teaches Russia how to circumvent sanctions
Regardless of public opinion or foreign media, Ali Khamenei remains true to himself. Iran belongs to the Ukrainian conflict on the side of Russia, and the spiritual leader of Iran leaves no doubt about that. His new government headed by Ibrahim Raisi, which has been in power for nine months, is constantly following this line. Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s new foreign minister, has visited Moscow seven times since Raisi took office.
On the fourth day of the invasion of Ukraine, 350 Russian investors arrived in Tehran and held a conference on how Iran and Russia could cooperate closely and extensively. The initiators of this conference publicly stated that Iran wanted to show guests from Russia how to effectively circumvent Western sanctions. Iran is well versed in this matter: the Islamic Republic has taken these turns in the 42 years since its founding.
A week after the invasion of Ukraine and shortly before the impending agreement on the Iran nuclear deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country could not agree to the deal. “Recently problems have arisen for Russia due to Western sanctions.” Moscow needs written guarantees that its economic interests will remain unchanged after the signing of the agreement in Iran, and since this statement the nuclear negotiations with Iran have stopped.
These interests are in fact fundamental. Basic like these days in Ukraine. “If the regime changes in Iran at any time and a pro-Western regime is established in this country, it will lead to the death of Russia. This will be the first step towards the collapse of Russia”: This military warning was voiced by Iran during the Putin era. The expert, Rajab Safarov, ten days in a talk show on Al-Jazeera.
Safrov is Tajik and Persian is his mother tongue. The 63-year-old is one of Russia’s top diplomats and is a frequent guest in Iranian and Arab media. And reassuring everyone, he added at the session: “God has endowed Iran with a leader who radiates divine light when he speaks. Also in Moscow, we have a wise and strong leader who knows how to avoid danger.”
In short, Russia considers Iran its backyard. The Islamic Revolution put Iran on the side of Moscow once and for all. For now, it remains that way.
Anti-Western from cradle to grave
Ali Khamenei is the best guarantee of this status quo. From a young age, he has been fighting against Western culture and system, and he also brags a lot. Here Khamenei tells the truth. He must have been eleven or twelve years old when he met the young revolutionary Navab Safavi in his hometown of Mashhad.
In the early 1950s, the handsome and eloquent Safavi came from revolutionary Egypt. And he has a lot on political Islam in his bag. In Egypt, he absorbed the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a large following there. Later, Ali Khamenei will translate one of the books of the Egyptian brothers into Persian. His mentor Safavi, who founded a terrorist group and carried out several attacks in the 1950s and 1960s, was executed. Today he is honored as a martyr in Iranian textbooks.
We do not know how the Ukraine war will end. “After the war, we will ask the Iranian leaders where they were during the days of the war. The Iranian people are standing in full swing. Our page. But we are We don’t get any help from the government,” he said, recalling how people sympathize with him on the streets of Tehran.
“Don’t forget that you buy your groceries in Ukraine. We supply half of Iran’s cooking oil, and we also share in grain,” the ambassador said, noting that Ukraine is also the only country in and with Iran jointly. Builds planes and helicopters.
What the war is actually doing in Iran last week can be read on the website of state radio and television: the prices of some foodstuffs, especially cooking oil, have been rising every day since the start of the Ukraine war.
to Ali Sadrzadeh
© Iran Journal 2022