Trying to bolster the regime two months before a Presidential election, Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a message of defiance over “enemies” and “cultural invasion”.
Ayatollah Khamenei said on Monday, “If you seek to dissuade enemies from undertaking any act of aggression, never show weakness and demonstrate your power.”
Khamenei, speaking to organizers of trips to sites in the war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988, used that battle to warn that the enemy struck Iran when it saw weak points in the Islamic Republic.
He then turned to his message of an enemy attempt to undermine the regime through political and economic operations:
Enemies are planning in their think tanks to change culture of the nation. This cultural invasion is more dangerous than military threats.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 6, 2017
The mistake some of us made — regarding the major economic challenge the country is facing today — is that some people in the country displayed weakness; therefore, the enemy thought, ‘That’s it! This is where pressure can be imposed!’ And so they imposed economic pressure.
Khamenei has repeatedly proclaimed a “soft war” on Iran since the mass protests following the disputed 2009 Presidential election, sanctioning the crackdown on dissent in which political prisoners — including three leaders of the opposition Green Movement — are still being held.
He reinforced his message on Monday by calling for “more productivity” to confront “the cultural plots by ill-wishers”.
After the turmoil over the 2009 “victory” of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the centrist Hassan Rouhani won the 2013 election without incident, although he promised Khamenei that celebrations would be limited.
Despite declaring that he would free political prisoners, Rouhani has been unable to make headway — including the release of 2009 candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and Mousavi’s wife, activist, and academic Zahra Rahnavard from strict house arrest — amid opposition from the Supreme Leader and other factions in the regime.