Strong tensions in the Iranian leadership

Tensions at the top of the Iranian regime are increasing due to the difficult economic situation and Supreme Leader Khamenei accuses President Ibrahim Raisi of being responsible for the deterioration of the situation. Khamenei expresses regret over Iran's military rapprochement with Russia and Iranian commentators estimate that he may try to return to the nuclear talks to reduce friction with the US and the European Union.

The Iranian Ministry of the Interior has begun a campaign of arrests of suspects in the poisoning campaign of several thousand female students in girls’ schools in Iran in recent months, this is one of the issues that preoccupy the Iranian leadership dealing with the phenomenon of popular anger that began last September due to the Hijab protest.

According to data from human rights organizations, more than five thousand female students in 231 primary and secondary schools in 25 provinces in Iran have been affected by mysterious poisoning since November, possibly through gas, a phenomenon that has sparked popular outrage and protest marches in several provinces in Iran.

In the demonstrations in Teheran and Tibriz, the demonstrators accused the Iranian regime of being responsible for the poisoning of the female students as an act of revenge for their identification with the Hijab protest.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards claim that they have arrested some of those responsible for the poisonings in the West Azerbaijan region, in Khuzestan, Kermanshah and Khorasan, and that they are opponents of the regime who were in contact with hostile media.

In any case, the affair arouses great anger in the Iranian leadership, especially among the supreme leader Ali Khamenei who called it a dangerous crime.

Senior Iranian officials said that Khamenei is furious about the difficult economic situation that has arisen among Iranian society mainly because of the sanctions imposed by Western countries on Iran since 2011.

Iran is in an advanced erosion process because of the sanctions imposed on it and because of the Hijab protest that has been going on for six months, the Iranian street is desperate and hungry.

Western intelligence sources said that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is convinced that President Ibrahim Raisi has failed in his role as president and that his rigid policy is one of the reasons for the hard feelings on the Iranian street. In addition, he is convinced that President Raisi aims to succeed him after his death, a position he designates for his son Mujtaba.

Intelligence sources say that there is now a disconnect between Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ibrahim Raisi.

The supreme leader of Iran is concerned about the successful activities of the Israeli Mossad on Iranian soil and Western intelligence sources recognize in him a process of regret over Iran’s recent rapprochement with Russia.

Khamenei told his associates that President Putin would not be able to win the war in Ukraine in Russia’s favor and that Iran’s supply of missiles and drones to Russia further complicated Iran’s ties with the powers that  now demand from it to pay a heavy price for its military alliance with Russia.

Therefore, it is not impossible that the supreme leader Khamenei will now change his policy towards the Western countries and try to balance it and maybe even try to return to the nuclear talks on a new nuclear agreement in order to reduce the economic sanctions imposed on Iran.

The Iranian street is not so enthusiastic about the possibility of a return to the nuclear talks, the popular opinion is that if a new nuclear agreement is signed, those who will benefit from its fruits will be mainly the top officials of the Iranian regime.

The sanctions imposed by the Western countries on Iran in recent years have greatly weakened the Iranian economy and to this must also be added the unprecedented Hijab protest which in the last six months has further undermined the economic and security situation.

Since the beginning of this year, the Iranian Rial has lost 30 percent of its value against the dollar, Iran has annual inflation of more than 50 percent, the middle class has been hit the hardest economically and the cost of living has skyrocketed .

The Iranian street is discouraged by the situation mainly because of the conduct of the regime, the supreme leader Ali Khamenei understands this and fears for the survival of the regime, therefore, it is quite possible according to Iranian commentators that he will try to make President Ibrahim Rasi a scapegoat and blame him claiming that his economic policy and his internal security policy are the reasons for the deterioration of the situation Inside Iran.

It is certainly possible that the supreme leader will also slow down the progress in the Iranian nuclear project in an attempt to reduce friction with the West.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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