Keyhan article indicates discontent with Supreme Leader’s course across the political spectrum

Keyhan, which is generally regarded at the Supreme Leader’s quasi-official mouthpiece in the Iranian media, on Saturday published an article titled “Worn-out Revolutionaries and the Conspiracy of the Poisoned Chalice.” The so-called “poisoned chalice” is an allusion to the Islamic Republic’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his famous statement at the end of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) in which he compared the acceptance of the UN-brokered cease-fire to drinking a poisoned chalice.

Similarly, many analyses both inside and outside of Iran have claimed that the West’s strategy has been to force Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to drink the figurative “poisoned chalice” by means of pressure brought on by energy and economic sanctions, and thereby compel him to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and thus concede to Western demands.

The article by Ruholamin Saeidi claims that “the regretful, worn-out revolutionary” in recent years has “always adopted a pragmatic, tolerant strategy and mild-mannered approach which is in pursuit of amicable relations with the enemies of the revolution.”

Below are translated a number of excerpts from the article, which is interesting insofar as it admits that there are “distinguished politicians” across the political spectrum, not merely the regularly vilified Reformists, who are “worn-out revolutionaries” and desire the Supreme Leader to finally concede to Western diplomatic and economic pressure over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

“According to the well-worn revolutionaries, because the Western countries control the largest measure of global power and wealth, resistance against them is ineffective and perhaps for progress and for earning international prestige and remaining immune from the threats of the superpowers, there is no remedy except prostration and retreat. These kind of individuals in particular in the eight years during which the Reformist current ruled the country politically, many efforts were made with the aim of normalizing Iran’s relations with the West, in particular with America.”

“Perhaps not too long ago it could be thought that the “worn-out revolutionaries” could only be found in the base of the Reformists, but the events of recent years and in particular recent months show that the ailment of fatigue and the loss of motivation for struggle, is not exclusive to a special political group or current and all politicians of the regime from every spectrum and wing, are always exposed to this affliction. Today the worn-out revolutionaries present in the circles of power in the Islamic Republic persistently pursue the dissemination of this deviant view. In the present circumstances, two adversarial movements in the country are lining up against one another: One is a moderate, peace-seeking and modernist movement supporting relations with the West and the solving of mutual problems for the removal of pressure and sanctions; and is backed by a group in the government, the Reformists, the elite, the technocrats and many of the distinguished politicians. The other current is a hardened, uncompromising, combatter of Arrogance [i.e., Western/US hegemony] that is demanding perpetual resistance against the West and endurance against the pressure of sanctions. This is the current backed by the Supreme Leader.”

“Sanctions” are the subterfuge of the worn out revolutionaries to prevail on society and the Supreme Leader to accept their beliefs. By exaggerating the effects of American and European Union financial and economic sanctions, they constantly emphasize this point that the pressure of the superpowers has reached intolerable levels and they can’t be resisted any longer.”

“It seems that the worn out revolutionaries at this sensitive point have the intention with their engineered targeting of the conditions of country and application of pressure from all directions to the Supreme Leader, to force him of his own volition to drink the poisoned chalice and retreat; withdrawing from revolutionary positions and [thus initiate] negotiations with America.”

“They want to inflame and make insecure the political atmosphere by offering incorrect analyses and relating all the problems to foreign sanctions and thereby provoke public emotions, so that the Leader has no other choice but to submit to their demands for the preservation of the interests of the country and the revolution.”

“Today our enemies, whether they be the American government or some European governments, have related sanctions to the issue of nuclear energy. They lie. The day they established sanctions, nuclear energy wasn’t in the country. What angers them with respect to the Iranian nation and compels them to make these kinds of decisions, is the spirit of unwillingness to submit that blessed Islam and the Koran brought into existence in the nation of Iran. It is this that angers them. They pretend that if the nation of Iran abandons nuclear energy the sanctions will be lifted. They lie.”

Gholam Reza Asadollahi, a member of the Majles’ Planning and Budget Commission has told ISNA news agency that 40% of the oil revenues factored in for this year’s budget have not been obtained. The Majles commission’s report claims that the primary reason for the shortfall are Western-imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic which have by all accounts severely hampered its ability to sell its chief export, namely oil.

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani has today criticized the merger of two ministries, the Ministry for Roads and Urban Planning and the Ministry of Information Technology, calling it “inexpedient.” Larijani claimed that it will weaken the country’s “passive defense” against cyberthreats.

Last week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the course of a cabinet reshuffle had cast aside the former Minister of Information Technology and appointed Ali Nikzad, the Minister for Roads and Urban Planning, the head of the former Ministry for which he now bears responsibility in addition to his own ministerial portfolio.

Since his appointment, Nikzad announced that the two ministries will be combined to form a new super-ministry called the Ministry for Infrastructural Affairs, a motion that would require Majles approval if it is to go ahead.

Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, who heads Iran’s Organization for the Passive Defense of Iran, which oversees the country’s cyberdefenses, also criticized the merger. Jalali named cyberthreats to the Islamic Republic as only only third in critical importance to the threat posed by “military attack” and “economic warfare.”