Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei leading Eid al-Fitr prayer in Tehran (April 12, 2024)

Internal Discord Exposes Khamenei Insiders As Culprits

Friday, 04/12/2024

Mohammad Saeedi, the Friday Prayer Imam of Qom appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cautioned against sowing discord among insider figures of the Islamic Republic.

Using the harsh rhetoric often heard among Iranian hardliners, Saeedi remarked: "We should sever the hands of those who sow discord, as there are far too many such hands in Iranian society.”

However, those involved in sowing discord in Iran are predominantly individuals from Khamenei’s inner circle. Iranian journalist Mehrzad Danesh observed in a tweet that since the Iranian New Year which started on March 20, there have been four corruption and other controversies all of them originating from the same camp.

The first week of the New Year was all about a land-grabbing case by Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam, Kazem Sedighi. The second week was marked by Tehran Mayor Alireza Zakani's idea to build a mosque in a park in northern Tehran neighborhood where there are already several mosques.

Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam, Kazem Sedighi

In the third week, attention turned to the offensive remarks directed at the Prophet of Islam and his son-in-law Ali, the first Imam of the Shiites, made by Alireza Panahian, a cleric closely associated with Khamenei's headquarters and President Ebrahim Raisi's administration. The following week, social media activists exposed a scandal involving a former state TV superstar accused of physically and emotionally abusing multiple women.

While these incidents sparked division among the ruling class and harsh criticism within Iranian society, it's noteworthy that those involved were often individuals associated with Khamenei and his affiliated institutions.

Sedighi claimed he made a mistake by land-grabbing and in fact embezzling the assets of a state sponsored seminary where he is the dean, and later claimed that he has returned the assets to the seminary without presenting any evidence. Although many clerics and politicians called for his resignation from his various government posts and positions, Khamenei kept him close to him and placed the cleric next to himself in a public meeting.

Zakani was accused by many on social media of planning to develop and own a shopping center attached to the mosque but no investigation has been yet carried out about the case and it is not likely to be carried out later.

Panahian, only apologized to one Tehran cleric for making the comments about the prophet and his son in law but nothing happened to him while others could have been executed for such comments. Instead, he was observed attending a high-profile economic meeting with President Raisi.

The celebrity received protection due to the perceived sanctity of state TV, overseen by Khamenei, whose integrity is considered nearly sacrosanct. None of those implicated in the four cases have ever faced official accusations of societal division or discord sowing, or any wrongdoing for that matter.

It appears that what the Friday prayers imam of Qom has said about preventing discord is more about individuals who are no longer in Khamenei's inner circles and sometimes make comments about religious matters that are not consistent with Khamenei's teaching and practices. Individuals such as Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has recently harshly criticized Iran's top clerics accusing them of only minding the appearances of religion and ignoring authentic religious values such as justice and respect for human dignity.

Ahmadinejad, who professes to be a devout Muslim, commented in a video, stating: "In our religious centers, they barely discuss monotheism. They dedicate years to details like ablution procedures, but remain silent on monotheism, justice, freedom, and human dignity. Yet, religion exists to champion these ideals. Without them, a religion loses its essence. The entire Quran revolves around these principles. Human freedom embodies monotheism in both individual and societal life."

The former president added: "The prophets have come to set human beings free. Man's personality will be completed when he benefits from these characteristics and values. Man will be complete by being free."

More News