On September 22, Iranian regime president Ebrahim Raisi delivered a speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), in which he implicitly acknowledged the disarray in the regime’s rank and file and said, “Today, our slogan is unity, the unity of the Revolutionary Guards… the unity of the Basij with the State Security Forces, the unity of armed forces… This display of unity and solidarity is what we have in the light of the Sacred Defense [the term the regime uses for the Iran-Iraq war].”
He further stated that as long as the war was ongoing, all factions and state forces had unity in suppressing the people and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) under the umbrella of war. But when the PMOI defeated the regime’s strategy to extend the war and forced regime founder Khomeini to commit to a ceasefire with Iraq, the foundation of unity within the regime turned into despair and defection.
On September 22, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the Speaker of Parliament, in a televised statement about the war, said, “The moment we deviate from our principles and beliefs, we become hesitant, weak in our faith in the divine foundations we have. This is our enemy… If we stand still and become complacent, this internal enemy exists within us, whether in the armed forces, economic arenas, or cultural spheres… All of these are our internal enemies who lead us towards weakness and failure.”
On September 6, regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei also acknowledged the disarray in his regime and said, “There are no shortage of attractions to create deviation, and this angle has always existed. And today, more than ever.”
On September 6, Raisi said, “In a situation where the enemy seeks to weaken faith and create despair and hopelessness among the people, it is the duty of statesmen to create hope and foster hope in society… You do not have the right to be tired, and you must take big steps with hope.”
On September 7, Javad Karimi Ghodousi, a member of the parliament, said to the state-run Khorasan TV network, “The Supreme Leader knows that reaching the peak, the final steps are exhausting. Many give up, but he keeps saying, ‘Don’t give up, have the spirit. Today is a day of joy, a day of good news. Climb, climb, you are close.’”
On August 22, the state-run IRAN Press news agency wrote, “In the last meeting that the Supreme Leader had with Revolutionary Guards forces, he advised all officials that fatigue and despair are forbidden. Our motto of the day is the same as what he said: fatigue and despair are forbidden. An optimistic person can make the people hopeful, but someone who is not hopeful themselves cannot make the people hopeful.”
The issue of the dwindling morale of the regime’s forces is not specific to the current conditions. But it became exacerbated by the recent uprising and now it has become an incurable ailment on the verge of a major uprising for the system.
Hamid Abazari, an advisor to the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said, “You see who has fallen short? We have witnessed many people fall… I don’t know what will happen tomorrow because I have seen great commanders fall short, my own commanders who were on the frontlines of the war, enduring wounds and showing great courage, have fallen short. They stood against values, they stood against the leader, they stood against their own system.”
On August 17, Khamenei, in a meeting with the commanders of the Revolutionary Guards, acknowledged that the disintegration within the body and upper echelons of the Guards was a destructive disease that was deteriorating the structure and organs of the system. Expressing concern over the lethargy of the Guards, he said, “We forget, we become doubtful, we become skeptical, we become tired, we become hopeless. These are destructive diseases; we must be vigilant against these diseases.”