Khamenei Declared The February 11 March Would Bring Their Enemy To Its Knees
Iran’s clerical regime may be losing its hold over the people and there is infighting within the government.
Despite Khamenei mobilizing the revolutionary guards and all governmental resources to shape the largest possible gathering on the occasion of February 11, the inception of the Islamic Republic, and in spite of threatening and enticing the people, especially schools and government employees, this state demonstration was largely ignored by the people.
In Tehran and cities throughout the country, the low participation was unprecedented. There was significantly less participation compared to previous years. Even in Azadi Square and the streets leading to it as the finishing site of the march to gather, as well as in Engelab and Azadi streets and Engelab and Firdausi squares as the main routes of the march, the crowd was quite small.
In many government offices, employees had been told that their participation in the February 11 demonstration was mandatory and many had been promised extra salary pending their participation.
In many streets and districts of Tehran, government elements and the Basij pleaded with people from early morning to participate in the demonstration. In some districts, they said that during the demonstration lunch will be distributed.
Along the demonstration route, a large number of pictures of Khomeini and Khamenei distributed by the IRGC and Basij forces were torn up by the people and scattered in the streets or thrown into garbage bins. To avoid the sight of this disgrace, regime officials quickly mobilized municipal workers to clean the torn pictures off the streets.
At least three times during his speech on February 8, Khamenei promised a great march on February 11 as a tool to terrorize the Iranian people domestically and to blackmail the international community.
Attempting to portray as if the clerical regime has not gone to the nuclear negotiating table under the pressure of sanctions, he said: “‘The U.S. official says that Iranians are cornered and come to the negotiating table with their hands tied’ now you will see on February 11 what the Iranian nation will do and what a show of solidarity we will have. Then it will be known if the Iranian nation has its hands tied.” In another part of his speech he noted: “There are many ways for the government to dull and render ineffective the weapon of sanctions. God willing, on February 11, the Iranian nation will demonstrate that anyone who wants to humiliate the Iranian nation will receive a reciprocal blow from the Iranian nation.” He concluded his remarks by saying, “God willing, on February 11, the Iranian nation, through its presence, by showing its might, by showing its firm resolve, will bring the enemy to its knees.”
He was wrong.
In addition to this disgraceful defeat, the February 11 demonstration also showed scenes of antagonism between the regime’s internal feuding factions. In a speech, Rouhani accused those who oppose the negotiations with treason: “No treachery is greater than the treachery of the rear flank.” He also said, “Today, solely the enemies of this nation are against the negotiations.”
Reciprocally, Khamenei’s factions chanted slogans against Rouhani, Rafsanjani and the negotiations during the march. Khamenei’s faction accused Rouhani of “treason on the front line.” Vatan Emruz daily, the mouthpiece of this faction, described attempts by Rouhani and his foreign minister to seal a two-stage deal as: “If people are to know who the traitors are, then reminding the events should not be unpleasant to these gentlemen. Mr. Rouhani speaks of ‘treachery of the rear flank’ one must say that treachery is where a deal is sealed without the annulment of all sanctions.” (Vatan Emruz – February 12, 2015)
Things are not going well in Tehran.