It was for the first time in 43 years that Iranians saw the hard-liner and tough judge, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, speaking softly on Sunday.
The Iranian Chief Justice on Monday carefully chose his words and controlled his tone not to sound the same as always, threatening opponents. The head of the Iranian Judiciary sounded very different from a weak ago.
He said: “I’m ready. Let’s talk. If we’ve made mistakes, we can amend them,” however, hardly any Iranian believed him. The call may have been made far too late.
Thousands of protesters have been jailed by Iran’s Judiciary since 2017 and almost no one has received a fair trial. The cases of hundreds of people killed by security forces in the streets in November 2019 has remained sealed.
The change in Ejei's rhetoric was so noticeable that many in Iran and overseas took it as a sign of weakness, not only for a senior cleric, but for an autocratic regime that was never shaken before, even when it faced major protests.
Ejei called on Iranians, who have taken to the streets for the 4th consecutive week, fighting back as they were beaten and shot at by regime thugs, to come forward, talk about their grievances and seek ways to bring back tranquillity to the streets of Tehran and tens of other Iranian cities.
On the same day, pundits who are allowed to speak told reformist daily Etemad that officials need to act like father figures and understand their children. Meanwhile, reformist figure Jalal Jalalizadeh called on the government in an interviewwith conservative website Nameh News to “quickly start a dialogue with the people.”
Jalalizadeh warned the government that “if it fails to sympathise with the people, the society will become even more bipolar and that is in no one’s interest.” He suggested. That the regime needs to consider itself as the people’s representative, respect their vote and views and listen to their demands.
He added that the new generation of Iranians have different demands from the previous generation.
Meanwhile, reformist Etemad Online website quoted renowned sociologist Asef Bayat as saying that “in the current uprising the people wish to take back their normal life that has been taken away from them immediately after the 1979 Islamic revolution. He said that the morality police has humiliated millions of women in the streets since then.
Comparing Iran to the Arab world where the Arab Spring took place more than a decade ago, Bayat said that the gap between the government and the majority of the people is wider in Iran than anywhere else such as Tunisia or Egypt.
He described the uprising in Iran as an all-encompassing movement that has gathered together all Iranians regardless of their social class and ethnicity. “Like the people in Tunisia and Egypt the people of Iran also want the government to respect for their dignity.”
Bayat added that "the main difference between the movement in Iran and those in Arab states is that the women have taken the lead in Iran in the struggle against the authoritarian regime," which has killed at least 91 [protesters] in Zahedan in the Province of Sistan-Baluchestan, and scores of others including two dozen under 18 young women and 12 children in Tehran, Kurdistan, Gilan and other provinces during the past three weeks. The sociologist noted that Iranian women started their opposition to the government dictated lifestyle from the first day after the 1979 revolution.