In a speech published Tuesday, Ali Khamenei warned politicians and the media to ease criticism of Iran's state officials as they grapple with multiple crises.
The remark showing Khamenei’s frustration with deteriorating economic and political conditions, was part of a speech he delivered to a group of tribesmen on June 12, but for whatever reason his office decided to publish it on Tuesday, June 21.
The statement could be interpreted as a warning to the media and Iranian politicians, coming amid fierce criticism of the Raisi administration for its inefficiency and inaction while the country has plunged into its deepest economic, social and political crises in its modern history.
In the Islamic Republic's jargon "enemy" is used to refer primarily to the United States and Israel, and sometimes to their aliies.
Although criticism of Raisi and his cabinet ministers started shortly after he took office in August 2021, partly for his choice of non-expert ministers, it has intensified in the past few weeks. Particularly on the anniversary of Raisi’s presidential win on June 18, even Iran’s strictly controlled media could not help but criticize his failure in every respect.
It was only the administration’s own daily newspaper which quoted Raisi as saying “All is well, and there is no problem in Iran that cannot be solved.”
In his speech Khamenei did not spare the state television either, which is under his direct supervision, accusing the huge conglomerate of working for the enemy. Khamenei particularly criticized the state television fir its coverage of Iran’s biggest bank robbery in early June, when thieves broke into a bank’s safe deposit boxes and the police and officials found out only four days later after a long holiday.
Some of the people present at Khamenei's speech gesturing in support of slogans
Subsequently, state television chief Payman Jebelli apologized to Khamenei in a letter addressed to him and promised to make up for the error.
Khamenei went on to say that “The enemy of the Iranian nation, of Islam, of the country and of the Islamic Republic is relying on soft war today.”
He claimed: “Today, the enemy is trying to undermine religious faith, hope and optimism about the future and the management of the country. They think about finding ways to make the people believe that they have no future, that the future is at a dead end, and that they are stuck in an impasse. They are making plans for this. On the internet and sometimes in our own official media, they promote these ideas…that all paths are wrong, and officials and managers do not know how to run the country.”
Khamenei insisting that state entities are accomplishing a lot, added: “Anyone who undermines the people’s hope in the future is working for the enemy, whether they do this knowingly or unknowingly. Anyone who undermines the people’s faith is working to the advantage of the enemy... Anyone who causes the people to lose faith…in officials and brings pessimism is working for the enemy...”
Khamenei simply ignored that daily protests take place across the country by teachers, workers, nurses, and retirees who simply demand their delayed salaries and pensions.
Even Khamenei’s loyalist hardliners in parliament harshly criticize Raisi and his government for their inaction and inefficiency. However, they do not mention that Khamenei is the one who engineered the low-turnout election that brought Raisi to power.
The 82-year-old Supreme Leader repeated his most favored theory that “America, England, France, reactionary regimes and everyone who followed them…wanted to tear Iran into pieces,” and charged that “they wanted to reinstate America’s domination over the country.”