While the Iranian government has been surrounded by enormous crises and dilemmas inside the country and abroad, officials inevitably make damning confessions. In recent days, officials from both factions of the establishment have admitted to massive distrust toward the ruing system among citizens. Their remarks, however, reveal the officials’ illegitimacy and instability.
Officials have also been stuck in an awkward corner. On the one hand, they blame each other for skyrocketing embezzlement, corruption, and secrecy, reckoning these facts to be the main reasons for the “erosion of the state’s human resources.”
Simultaneously, they attack the opposition, particularly the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), blaming it for improving society’s knowledge and awareness.
However, they intentionally admit to the dissidents’ credibility among citizens and the failure of their 41-year effort to demonize and discredit them. In other words, the ayatollahs and their agents implicitly acknowledge the people’s trust in the MEK and distrust in the government.
“We must note that if there is no trust, even if we inject the [domestic Covid-19] vaccine into ourselves, film, and broadcast the scene, somebody is bound to say that ‘Officials have used foreign vaccines or injected water into themselves.’ Look, there are 4,000 MEK members in Albania. They provide content in Persian [language] against us every day,” said Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi in an interview with the state-run T.V. Channel One on December 13.
Iranian Media Admit to MEK Position
On January 8, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei‘s announcement of a ban on the import of foreign Covid-19 vaccines shocked everyone. In its January 10 edition, the state-run Mostaghel daily provided a considerable view of the state’s stalemate. In this respect, the daily obliquely admitted the decision had prompted a massive wave of fury among citizens.
To justify the supreme leader’s criminal decision, which will undoubtedly lead to many more deaths, the daily reiterated the ayatollahs’ accusations against the MEK. In fact, it tried to invalidate information and revelations provided by the dissidents. However, it was another implicit acknowledgment of public distrust toward the state and of citizens’ belief in the MEK and their news.
Why Do Iranians not Trust the Ayatollahs’ Establishment?
Following the warnings about public distrust and the nitrate of disappointment—referring to the Beirut explosion in August 2020, the officials tried to restore the regime’s relationship with society. This is while the establishment has responded to any grievances—even economic demands—with lethal force.
For instance, in November 2019, Khamenei bluntly ordered oppressive forces, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary Basij Force, as well as the State Security Forces (SSF) and agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), to do whatever it takes to end social protests. The latest cruelty raises deep distrust and fury among citizens, while officials cannot ignore this reality.
“If we hear that an Iranian person has become the chief of NASA or an Iranian individual has invented a new technology in Germany, we will believe it. However, if the technology were invented inside Iran, many would not believe it,” said the spokesperson of the National Covid-19 Task Force Alireza Raisi in an interview with the IRGC-controlled YJC on January 3.
Nonetheless, Raisi did not clarify why the Iranian people no longer trust the government and its statements, because doing so would lead to him losing his position.
Since the beginning of the Islamic Republic, the ayatollahs have not kept any of their promises. The regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini vowed that the government would bring the oil revenue to the people’s food basket. However, in the past 41 years, food baskets have only shrunk due to officials’ economic crimes, embezzlement, nepotism, corruption, and mismanagement.
He had promised that urban services like running water and electricity would be provided to the people for free. However, not only have the prices of water and electricity increased, but also many citizens have lost their homes and been forced to take refuge in slums, on rooftops, and in cars to spend the nights.
In the past year, the ayatollahs intentionally covered up the coronavirus outbreak inside the country to mark the 41st anniversary of the establishment. They continued this fatal policy to hold the Parliamentary elections in February, which was confronted with unprecedented apathy.
The Islamic Republic and both of its factions insisted on holding crowded ceremonies during the Shiite Muslim ritual of Muharram. President Hassan Rouhani flagrantly said, “We must hold Muharram ceremonies at all costs.” It forced millions of students to attend places contaminated with the coronavirus to take college entrance exams.
Rouhani and his Education Minister Morteza Haji-Mirzaei reopened the schools while many health professionals warned that the government could not ensure Covid-19 protocols in schools.
Furthermore, Khamenei and Rouhani sent millions of workers to workplaces – and factories – tainted with the coronavirus to restart the country’s economic cycle. They pushed many citizens to use public transportation services while they could not implement social distancing protocols.
Meanwhile, they blamed the people for not observing health recommendations and laid the blame for the coronavirus’s resurge on citizens. Also, officials claimed that family gatherings were the main reason for the rising number of fatalities.
Officials also resorted to any excuse to avoid purchasing credible Covid-19 vaccines. Initially, they claimed that U.S. sanctions do not allow them to procure vaccines. Then, they announced that they do not have enough money to purchase vaccines.
Later, they resorted to banking transaction dilemmas and even raised the issue of the lack of appropriate refrigerators as a barrier. But eventually, Khamenei directly appeared on state-run T.V. and prohibited the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines from the U.S., U.K., and even France while the World Health Organization (WHO) had approved these vaccines.
In a nutshell, the Iranian government has a notorious record of secrecy and hypocrisy. It increased the gasoline price in November 2019 and killed 1,500 peaceful protesters, reckoning that the plan would offset the country’s massive budget deficit. However, a few weeks later, it sent several flotillas of gasoline to Venezuela for free.
Furthermore, in January 2020, the government shot down a Ukrainian civil airliner, killed all 176 passengers and crew on board, and denied that the IRGC had a role. However, only three days later, reliable evidence and documents forced the IRGC Aerospace Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh to admit to the crime.
“At the first hour of downing the plane, I informed my superiors about IRGC mistake in the incident,” he said. The government also uses mazut for power plants while confiscating a South Korean oil tanker in the Strait of Hormoz for polluting the Persian Gulf waters.
All the facts mentioned above lead us to the main question that is, “Why should the Iranian people trust the ayatollahs?” In fact, the officials’ actions have left no place for any confidence in the current ruling system.
In practice, the government’s horrible record is the main reason for public distrust and the widening gap between rulers and people, which has pushed citizens to resort to protests and uprisings as their last recourse.