Several Iranian clerics have come under attack by angry Iranians recently as rising prices and constant protests have led to a tense environment in the country.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei mentioned during his speech on June 4 that a cleric who spoke before him, was heckled by handpicked spectators at the luxurious mausoleum.
The heckled speaker was none other than Ruhollah Khomeini's grandson, Hassan Khomeini, who was speaking on the 33rd death anniversary of his grandfather and founder of the Islamic Republic. Khamenei said, "Let it be known that I do not approve of such behavior."
But the young rabble rousers in the audience were none other than hardliner regime loyalists who would be allowed to enter such a venue.
In another development, during the Friday prayers in Esfahan on June 3, a young man attacked Friday prayer imam Yousef Tabatabaei Nejad who is known for his annoying remarks about women and social liberties. Last week he made some comments to whitewash the Iranian government's decisions to stop food subsidies, which led to a sudden jump in prices.
Asr Iran news website quoted Tabatabaei-Nejad as having said subsequently: "A young man attacked me, but he could not do anything other than hitting my neck. He is now under arrest and his motivation is being investigated." Nonetheless, some news outlets in Iran tried to portray the angry attack as an "assassination attempt." Tabatabaei-Nejad explained that "the young man had a problem."
Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic speaking on June 4, 2022
In another development last week in Abadan, when the government decided to have a stage-managed commemoration for the victims who died in the collapse of the Metropol Towers, an angry crowd gathered near the ruins of the building chanting slogans against the city’s Friday prayer imam. They insulted Iranian clerics in general, and clerical rule telling him to "get lost," while his speech was being broadcast on live national TV.
The state TV first cut off the sound and after a minute, it stopped the broadcast altogether, but the videos of the event went viral on social media.
Meanwhile, two of the key slogans chanted by anti-government protesters in Abadan and many other cities were "Get lost Mullah!" and "We don't want clerical government." Many observers interpreted the slogans as a clear message from Iranians fed up with corruption and inefficiency of the ruling clerics.
Fear of angry protesters led the government to make sure that there was a curfew in Abadan before President Ebrahim Raisi visited the city on Friday. The photos of the visit show a handful of individuals including several bodyguards next to the local governor and Raisi in a quick photoshoot against the background of ruins of the collapsed building.
All this and a series of suspicious deaths of individuals linked to the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and Iran's nuclear program indicate that there is a reason for the panic and security concerns among Iranian officials.
Many social media users have even noticed this state of panic in Khamenei's mimic and voice during his speech on Saturday. Some attributed it mainly to the shock resulting from hearing Iran's exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi’s stark warnings a day earlier about the imminent end of the clerical regime in Iran. The panic was most noticeably visible in the distance between Khamenei and the three separated layers of the audience.
Khamenei's reaction would have been his "Ceausescu moment" if the spectators who heckled Khomeini's grandson, did the same to him. The moment has not happened yet, but looking at the nation's despair and anger, it cannot be ruled out.