نقاط على الحروف Friday’s Talk from Tehran- Nasser Kandil

Iran after the assassination of Soleimani celebrates the commemoration of the revolution and the preparation for the parliamentary elections.

The consensus around the choice of resistance thatSoleimaniwas asking for has been achieved by his martyrdom and has frustrated the external bet on the interior

The reformist movement faces the dangers of the loss of the parliamentary elections in which it dreamt of a majority.

The nuclear file is not for the negotiation with Washington, if Europe withdraws, Iran will leave the UN treaty.

The linkage between the ousting of the Americans and the fall of the Deal of the Century needs an Iranian country that can build a resilient economy.

The political diversity is present strongly and the vitality of discussions presents Iran as an example of a 41-year-old vivid revolution.

Introduction:

This Friday’s Talkwill be devoted for one file: Iran which is still living the repercussions of the assassination of the Commander QassemSoleimani and celebrates the forty-first commemoration of the victory of the Islamic Revolution and is preparing for the parliamentary electionsat the end of this month. My visit to Tehran has allowed me to meet a number of senior officials, to discuss many issues, ideas, hypotheses with a number of elites, intellectuals, and journalists, and to listen to some examples deprived from analyzing the trends of the public opinion and the points of view of its classes regarding many titles. So this pushed me to share these impressions, conclusions, and readings with the widest number of readers and followers.

The martyrdom of Soleimani is the earthquake of conscience:

The photos of QassemSoleimani fill the streets, the facades of the big buildings, the offices of the government officials and the armed forces, and the advisory offices working with the Leader of the Revolution Al Sayyed Ali Al Khamenei. Soleimani’s name is repeated tens of times in every talk with any official or a leader in Iran. The talk starts with an idea in which Soleimani is mentioned then it continues with another idea to mention Soleimani once again. The feeling of fulfillment to this leader is accompanied with the feeling of underestimation, and maybe with the feeling of guilt, but the feeling of the burden of responsibility and the collective love to him is felt by everyone.

This young man who is religious, devotional, and humble in his relationship with God, Prophets, and the People of the house, who is faithful in every word he says, who loves the poor and the needy, who is concerned about the future of Iran from all kinds of obsession, the obsession of authority, the obsession of money, the obsession of corruption, the obsession of bureaucracy, and the obsession of laziness and inactivity, and who is sixty-year old, has become the difficult number to Israel, America, and Al-Qaeda and ISIS organizations and a number of the Gulf countries until the date of his martyrdom. This leader made the contemporary glory of Iran, so that it turns through his leading position into a fearful superpower. As he was during his life the guard of the revolution and the republic behind the enemy’s lines amid a large political internal division over his role, he has become after his martyrdom the guard because of the deterrent popular gathering against every thought of escalation against Iran which is fortified with a popular flood that emerged to revenge for the blood of Soleimani contrary to the bets and hypotheses based on the decline of the popular support of the choice of revolution, republic, and their leader Al Sayyed Al Khamenei and his policies. Iran which is technically and militarily capable and which targeted Ain Al-Assad base showed that it has the resolution and the will along with the war techniques sufficient to evade from the targets of the American technical capacities. It frustrated the bet on the American technical superiority as it frustrated the bet on Iranian internal division.

Soleimani was spending a lot of time and effort before the nuclear file and after it to make out of the option of supporting the resistance against the American hegemony and the Israeli aggression a subject that gets a political consensus among the competing movements for the power in Iran. Despite his conviction of the decisive reference role of Al Sayyed Khamenei in such strategic matters, but he was seeing in neutralizing this trend a strength to Iran and a message to the abroad that enhances the position of Iran in the confrontation of its opponents and rationalizes the internal political conflicts by making them just political competition that deals with the problem of economy, construction, education, health, services, the constitutional organizations and their activation and combating corruption. But what has been achieved during the negotiation on the nuclear understanding and after signing it through unifying the position inside the ranks of the Iranian leaderships has enhanced the position of the Iranian negotiator through the abidance of the conservatives and fundamentalists especially the leadership of the Revolutionary Guard with this position which it started to be affected after the American withdrawal from the nuclear understanding and the emerge of positions that behold the role of the Guard especially the role played by Soleimani the responsibility of the deterioration of relationships with the Americans which has been culminated with the withdrawal from the nuclear understanding. However the martyrdom of Soleimani at the hands of the Americans and the subsequent announcement of the Deal of the Century reveal the goals of America in the region especially in Iran, and how Soleimani and his role were an additive value to Iran and an insurance policy that protects it, and how the resistance option was not mere an ally that is given capabilities from Iran to do its active role in the confrontation of the region but rather a partner in protecting Iran and raising its status. Therefore, every investment spent by Iran in supporting the resistance forces is a serious investment in favor of its national security and a protection of its political independence and food sufficiency, it is not an attrition of its resources which are supposed to be allocated to its internal affairs as some symbols of the reformist movement said, or as their supporters chant in demonstrations. Therefore, the funeral of Soleimani and the accompanied popular flood formed a message far from being addressed to the Americans and many people who deal with the public affairs in Iran in the authority and in the opposition only but to reveal the truth of the position of the Iranian people towards the confrontation with the Americans and towards the higher policies drawn by Al Sayyed Al Khamenei that most of which Soleimani was entrusted with.

The elections and the coming change:

The feeling of remorse expressed by those who did not respond to Soleimani’s efforts of the unification of the interior is no longer enough according to those who share with him the opinion and the choice and to the most of those belong to the conservative and fundamentalist movement who speak out in what they believe in terms of the call to question the reformist movement in the parliamentary elections since the martyrdom of Soleimaniwhich has no relation with the parties in the interior formed an end of a phase and a start of another, in other words the end of the bets promoted by the reformist movement on making understandings with Washington with good intentions. The announcement of the Deal of the Century completes what is interpreted by the assassination of Soleimani from the point of view of those who call to follow a strict policy regarding the future of the relationship with Washington, the nuclear file, the economic construction, and the social and cultural fortification, reforming the role and the position in the region in a way that is appropriate to the change caused by the assassination of Soleimani and the Deal of the Century. Those consider that this strategic burden that must be bear by the constitutional institutions cannot be entrusted to those who have opposite convictions because those cannot be entrusted to lead Iran according to the orders of Al Sayyed Al Khamenei while they are talking in their assemblies that they do not believe in them.

The traditional conservative movements expect the winning in the parliamentary elections. It is remarkable that the groups that support the former President AhmadiNejad are among them.  The expectations of relative neutral sources talk about a great winning of the conservatives that may range between two-thirds to third-quarters of the new parliament. It is remarkable as well that the speaker of the parliament Ali Larijani whose term is at its end did not submit his candidacy for the elections in preparation for the candidacy for the presidency of the republic which its elections will take place after a year and a half, where the former mayor of Tehran Mohammed BaqirQalibaf is the most prominent candidate for the presidency of the council. The President Hassan Rohani expressed his protest against the Guardians ’Council’s refusal of dozens of reformist candidates including nearly eighty deputies. The objections of the Guardian Council as shown by sources of reformists and conservatives have no bias or politicization rather these objections are based on an a fundamental factor related to the files of corruption and the illicit wealth which the council had investigated when it studied all the applications of candidacy, therefore, it refused the nominations of many reformists and conservatives, since it reflected what has happened to many politicians after forty years in power and after the winning of the revolution, but it reveals that the supervision strong independent institutions are still have the spirit of revolution and held accountability according to assets and rules where there is no favoritism or nepotism. Just for that, when the President Rohanirefused the nominations by saying we do not want to turn the elections into appointments he got a direct response from Al Sayyed Al Khamenei without mentioning his name, but it was understood that he was meant by his saying: those who object the role of a prestigious and efficient institution in ensuring the right electoral process; the Guardian Council forget that they reached to their positions through elections.

Those who follow-up and those who are interested along with the opinion polls do not expect that the Iranians who want to elect the parliament within less than twenty days are more than 50%. This ratio may decrease in Tehran to only 30%. One of the reasons of reluctance is that the voters do not know that the Supreme Leader needs a wider representation of options, demands, and objects in the parliament which represents people in all its different classes and moods, because some consider strongly that there is a part of voters cannot be ignored think that their participation will not cause a change as long as everything belongs to the country and its decisions is under the control of the Higher Leader so what is the advantage  of such participation? But those who are close from the source of decision say that this reluctance contradicts the understanding of the role of the Wilayat el Faqih who does not make a decision from nothing or illegally, but he makes balance between what is shown by the institutions that represent the choices of people in a legal wayand the interest, so he made out of them orders to authorities. So those recognize the weak needed mobilization under the title that the Higher Leader needs your participation to build on them decisions so your absence confuses his decision.

Those who are close from the authority refuse to say that this reluctance is a result of despair, on the contrary they consider it stems from trust, this trust is the same that appeared in the crowds of millions who pledged allegiance to the Higher Leader in order to revenge for the blood of the Commander QassemSoleimani. Furthermore, the people who participated in the festivals of the commemoration  of revolution after forty-one years of its founding do not do that out of courtesy or fear but because it knows the gains which it got from the revolution which brought Iran not only to the rank of the superpowers politically and militarily but also to be a country that lives a food sufficiency and a semi- industrial sufficiency, a scientific progress in which it competes the countries of the industrial world, and it provides the main services with cheap prices as electricity, gas, internet, and fuels which despite the increase of its price it remained the cheapest in the world, where the price of a liter of water equls twice times the price of a liter of gasoline.

In the commemoration of revolution: Independence and Development

The four decades that have passed since the revolution and the building of the country and what they have achieved at the levels of independence and development formed the criterion for the rise and the fall of the liberal projects in the third world. Iran has passed them but looking to pass them fully. The upcoming challenges which the conservatives, the fundamentalists, and the extremists are looking to wage to manage the country in the last period of the term of the President Al Sheikh Hassan Rohani are related to the nuclear file and the issues of poverty, corruption combating, and the issues of the regional environment whether they are related to the relationship with each of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen as arenas of the resistance forces or  related to the Gulf and the management of the relationship with the positions which it lives at the forefront Saudi Arabia.

According to the conservatives there is no return to negotiation with the Americans regarding the nuclear file, but this does not mean the final exit from the nuclear agreement and from the treaty of non-proliferation of the Nuclear Weapons but it means leaving the issue related to how to deal with the remaining partner in the agreement, it means Europe including France, Britain, and Germany. If the Europeans go to the Security Council to work under the terms of leaving the agreement, the talk about the exit from the agreement and the treaty will become on table. The understanding with the Americans is hopeless and there is no interest for Iran to have an agreement with them, if the other partners dare to carry out the agreement despite the threat of the American sanctions, since the sanctions that concern Iran are those which restrict Europe, the American military exit from the region will not be a slogan, but rather an independent project that many countries do not dare to present. Iran bears the responsibility on the behalf of everyone to make it the title of the future stage, it does not matter how far it is. Iran cannot expect the results of the American elections, but until then Iran will interpret its commitment through cooperation with the peoples of the region and the resistance forces to impose that withdrawal, where the Iranian and the Iraqi people have said their word regarding along with the majority of the Lebanese and the Afghans. Syria is approaching form the moment of deciding the fate of the American troops on its land.

The relationship with Washington is determined by the issue of the blood of the Commander QassemSoleimani and the future of Palestine. The Deal of the Century which has shown the credibility of the options of the resistance forces has provided an opportunity to form a wide front, it is not important to be organized under one institution but rather it is a popular political resisting front spreading on the Islamic world rises up for the right of return of  the Palestinian refugees and against the tamper with the future of Jerusalem in favor of the occupation. Therefore, the region is going to confrontation. Iran cannot behave as if its issue is confined to how to build its international relationships but tohow to lead the region under the titles of the American withdrawal and the fall of the Deal of the Century and how Iran can be a component that integrates with the people and the Revolutionary Guard and under the supervision of the Higher Leader and can win in these two battles. So this requires a review of the economic and political approach taken by the governments which linked the fate of their plans with the hypothesis of partnership with the West whether through the nuclear understanding or through understandings in politics and economy that reflects the regional position of Iran. These hypotheses have led to a waste of time and money in the investment on an illusion that will not be realistic except by showing more ability and imposing more of the policy of fait accompli.

Many experts and thinkers from the conservatives and extremists see that one part of the problem of the Iranian people with the governmental policies is a result of the leakage of resources resulting from the siege, and one part is a result of the emergence of economic problems as the tyranny of the rentier economy in the real estate market and currencies in the major cities especially in Tehran, and the failure of integrating the national capital which most of it was accumulated during the revolution in a productive investment process, and another part is the result of the corruption phenomenon and the illicit wealth which is the main  concern of the political process and which must turn in the successive governments into an institution that is not affected by the authority circulation and the policy changes.

It is remarkable that the Iranians whom you meet in Tehran as officials, advisors, experts, and military leaders do not feel embarrassed to talk about the problems of state- construction experienced by the revolution and the country, but they consider that it is a courage to talk in such issues to show that the revolution is still vivid and capable to face these problems. Despite the economic and financial suffocation they feel comfortable with the situation of their country which they assure that it has passed the most difficult consequences of sanctions, and began to adapt to the economic and investment alternatives of the sectors which are linked to the opportunities of openness and transcended the foundational stage of turning the challenges into opportunities.

The vivid discussions experienced by Tehran and the diversity and the multiplicity of movements, ideas, and visions are an expression of the strong project launched by Imam Ruhollah Khomeini whichits leadership and patronage has been continued by Al Sayyed Al Khamenei. Iran is a real state and has real institutions, serious economy and judiciary, a highly prepared combating ability, a professional diplomacy, and a wide variety of media that expresses the opposing ideas in the community, a life cycle lived by the Iranians away from the austeritybut under controls related to Islam, and a high degree of tolerance found in restaurants, streets, and the public parks. This confidence is worthy to respect, the next generation which did not live in the time of revolution to owe it the getting rid of the previous regime gets the opportunities of modern education and the partnership of the scientific research and innovation,without forgetting that the creativity spreads in the atmosphere of dream and freedom will reflect in the young enthusiastic political interpretations that are not in their view a cause for concern but rather a hope, because the whole world changes where people searches for peace and the internal balance of individuals and peoples. The Iranians see that they get the high ratio of this balance comparing with what is known and lived by the peoples on these two levels.

Translated by LinaShehadeh,

 

2020-02-14
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